Why Ric Edleman is Wrong About the Virtue of Carrying a big 30-Year Mortgage

I listen quite a bit to financial planner Ric Edleman.

I like Ric.  He’s written some worthwhile books on personal finance and has a radio show. Much of his financial advice makes sense.

Here’s where he’s wrong . . .

Ric is a strong advocate of carrying a big mortgage. He says it’s better to have a 30-year mortgage than a 10 or 15 year mortgage.

He says it’s better to have a mortgage than no mortgage.

Ric’s logic is as follows:

1) Mortgage money is the cheapest money you can borrow.

If your credit is decent, you can get a 30-year fixed rate mortgage at about 4 percent per year or even lower today.

So the cost of money is pretty close to free.

2) The stock market (S&P 500) has returned 10% per year on average over time since 1928.

If you are paying 4 percent per year for your mortgage, this frees up your money to invest in the stock market. If the stock market stays true to its historical average of 10 percent annual returns, you can pocket the 6 percent spread — the difference between the 10 percent average annual return for the S&P 500 stock index and the 4 percent your are paying for your mortgage loan.

3) Mortgage interest is tax-deductible up to a $1,000,000 mortgage.

So this makes your mortgage loan even cheaper. If you are in the 35 percent tax bracket, the cuts the interest rate on your mortgage loan from 4 percent to 2.6 percent.

This means you are now pocketing the 7.4 percent difference between the cost of your mortgage loan (now 2.6 percent after deducting the interest from your taxes) and the 10 percent average annual gain from the stock market.

All this makes perfect sense — except a few key facts . . .

FACT #1: Most people don’t keep the homes they buy for the full 30 years.

Your 30-year mortgage is cheap money only if you hold it for the full 30 years.

Today, the average home buyer keeps their home for 13 years.

Mortgage interest is all front-loaded. You pay almost no principal on your house until last phase of your loan.

So if you have a 30-year mortgage and you sell your house after 13 years of living there, you are actually paying more like 7 or 8 percent interest for the money.

Before the real estate crash of 2008, the average homeowner kept the home they bought for just six years.

This means these people are really paying more like 14 percent for their mortgage per year if they have a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of 4 percent.

But back in the pre-2008 real estate bubble days, people were paying more like 6 percent for a fixed-rate mortgage,

So if they only kept their home for six years (the average) before moving out and buying a bigger house, they were paying closer to a 20 percent annual interest rate on their mortgage loan . . . again, because interest payments are front-loaded.

This is how the banks make money.

They understand human behavior. They know they really are not just making 4 percent interest per annum the money they’ve loaned you for your house.

They know, on average, they will earn 10-20 percent annual returns on the money they’ve loaned you.

Plus, the bank owns your house until you pay off your full mortgage..

So if you lose your job and can’t make your mortgage payments at some point during this 30 years, the bank swoops in and takes your house, plus pockets all the interest you’ve paid.

FACT #2: Most people are not disciplined enough to invest the difference wisely.

Most people use their big 30-year mortgage to finance a big lifestyle — a much bigger lifestyle than they can really afford.

They buy too big a house. They also buy a fancy car, perhaps several cars.

They end up living paycheck to paycheck, barely able to pay their mortgage, car payments, and cost of living. They end up as slaves to their mortgage payments.

If real estate values decline and they end up underwater on their house (owe more than their house is worth), then lose their income and can’t make their mortgage payments, it’s disaster. Financial ruin.

People tend to think of credit as almost like free money.

Studies show that people spend 30 percent more on average if they charge what they are buying instead of pay with cash.

When you pay with cash, you are more careful how you spend money.

A mortgage is no different. People see a mortgage as a relatively painless way to finance a big lifestyle — painless that is until real estate values go down and they lose their job or source of income.

Debt is a powerful drug.

Credit is the most heavily marketed drug in America.

When you slap that plastic card down on the counter and walk out of the store with a big bag of stuff, you feel good for the moment. It almost feels like a bag of free stuff — until the credit card bill comes due.

FACT #3: You can’t live in your stock market investments. And you can’t live in your debts.  But you do need a place to live.

Owning your home without a mortgage is just about the best insurance policy you can have.

You have to live somewhere.

If real estate values go down and you lose your job, you still have your home free and clear.

You can still live there.

There’s value in peace of mind.

Ric Edleman argues that you will always have monthly payments on your home even if you don’t have a mortgage because of property taxes and insurance. You also have the cost of maintaining the property.

True.

But you would also have these costs if you rented. They would just be hidden costs in your rent.

The landlord has these costs and passes them onto the renter in the form of higher rent.

If you own your property and something bad happens to your income, you can always sell your property, downsize to something less and pay less in property taxes and insurance.

At least you will still have a place to live.

FACT #4: Having your cash tied up in your home instead of easily available is like a forced savings plan.

When people have a lot of cash in the bank or easily available in stocks (such as an eTrade account), its amazing how fast your cash will disappear.

You tend to spend it.

You can’t spend it if it’s locked up in your house — which appreciates in value about 3 percent per year on average.

That’s not an eye-popping return on your money.

But at least you’re not spending it — not frittering it away.

Owning your own home is basically a hedge against both inflation and the temptation to waste your money on things you really don’t need.

FACT #5: The stock market is not as great an investment as you might think.

While Edleman is right that the S&P 500 has returned an average of 10% since 1928, that’s in nominal dollars, not real value.

Plus, a lot depends on when you get into the market.

Much of this increased value is an illusion.

We keep hearing breathless reports in the news of the stock market hitting record highs.

So people have been stampeding into the stock market hoping not to miss the latest boom (bubble) in stocks.

Everyone’s feeling good when reading their IRA and 401k statements that arrive in the mail each month.

But these record highs do not take into account the declining value of the dollar.

The dollar has lost 40% of its value since 2000. Actually a lot more than 40 percent. That’s just going by official CPI numbers.

But the inflation rate is in reality much higher than the phony official average annual inflation rate of 2.7%

Anyone who goes to the grocery store knows that the real inflation rate has been more like 8% per year on average.

But for the sake of my argument here, we’ll just use the official inflation rate of 2.7 percent per year.

The key point here is that the reported increase in stock prices are in nominal dollars, not real value.

If you invested $1,000 in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2000, it would be worth a $1,015 today – a whopping 1.5 % return on your investment over 15 years . . .if you use the official inflation rate of 2.7% per year (which we know is phony and grossly understates the real inflation rate).

If you invested $1,000 in an S&P 500 index fund in 2000, this would be worth $890 today, an 11% decline.

If you invested $1,000 in the Nasdaq average at the peak of the dot com bubble in 2000, it would be worth $630 today – at Nasdaq’s supposed near-record high. This represent a 37% loss over 14 years.

Ouch.

And that doesn’t count management fees charged by mutual funds and brokers.

Assume a 1.5% management fee per year for the typical index mutual fund (if you’re lucky to find management fees that low). That knocks another 21% off your returns (or lack thereof) over this 15 year period.

And there are transaction fees even if you manage your own portfolio.

So if you are in the growth-oriented Nasdaq index, you’ve lost more than half your money over the 14 years.

So much for the advice we get to just “Buy the indexes and hold. Everything will be okay over time.”

Returns are even more bleak when you consider the volatility of the stock market.

Volatility equals risk.

Who wants to risk everything (ala 1929) for the wonderful benefit of breaking even or losing money over a 15 year period?

Imagine if you get into the market now and the market loses 20% or 40% of its value, quickly – a likely scenario (because the recent stock market run-up is built on nothing but hope, not real numbers).

How long would it take for the market to rise back to this level to get you back to even?

You might never break even in your lifetime. There’s certainly no reason to think the economy will get better from here on forward.

People who put their money into the stock mark at its peak in 2000 are still waiting to break even 14 years later.

By the way, the stock market over time pretty well mirrors the overall economy.

The economy has been stagnant since 2000. So it’s not surprising the stock market has produced nothing since then.

The stock market boomed during the Reagan years through 2000 — when the economy was booming.

The economy is far from booming now. It’s hardly growing at all.

So don’t expect much from the stock market — unless you have a crystal ball and can time it perfectly, or just get lucky.

You won’t get rich quick if you pay off your mortgage and settle for an average of 3 percent per year annual growth.

But at least when the crap hits the fan, you’ll have a place to live.

The math reveals how tough it will be for Jeb Bush to win the GOP nomination

Jeb Bush has two advantages in his run for the GOP nomination: He can raise all the money he wants; and he’s the pick of the GOP Establishment.

But the polling math shows it will be tough for Jeb Bush to win.

The Real Clear Politics average of polls right now shows Jeb with a 1.5 point lead over Scott Walker nationally amoung GOP voters.

Two polls show Jeb leading. Two polls show Walker leading. And the most recent poll shows Walker leading nationally among Republicans by 3 points.

But with Jeb’s high name ID, it should be alarming to Team Bush that only 16.5 percent of GOP voters want him as their nominee.

83.5 percent of GOP voters want someone else.

But let’s add up the potential GOP votes for Jeb Bush if everything breaks his way.

We start by tallying up the polling numbers for the moderate GOP Establishment-types in the race: Jeb Bush (16.5), Chris Christie (5.5, and John Kasich (1.3).  That’s a total poll number of 23.3 percent for Jeb.

Now let’s add up the polling numbers of the candidates of the conservative wing of the party: Scott Walker (15.3), Ted Cruz (10.5), Rand Paul (9.8), Marco Rubio (7.3), Ben Carson (9.0), Mike Huckabee (8.5), Rick Perry (2.8), Rick Santorum (1.7), Bobby Jindal (1.3).

That’s a total of 66.2 percent of the vote for the conservative wing.

In the case of Rand Paul, we can argue where some of his vote would go if he were to leave the race.
Some of it might bolt to the Libertarian Party. Hard to imagine any of Rand Paul’s voters moving into the Jeb column.

Mike Huckabee is probably the most moderate of the candidates I list as being in the conservative wing. He’s attracting mostly evangelical Christian voters. Jeb might get some of these voters if Huckabee drops out. Let’s be generous and give Jeb half Huck’s votes if Huck exits the race.

That would only add 4.2 points to Jeb’s total, bringing him up to 27.5 percent of the vote.

If Jindal drops out or doesn’t run, Jeb might get half his vote, but that’s half of just 1.3 percent.

That’ brings Jeb up to 28.15 percent of the GOP vote.

If Marco Rubio drops out, Jeb might get some of the Rubio vote. Hard to imagine many Rubio voters gravitating to Jeb. But let’s be super generous and give Jeb half of Rubio’s 7.3 percent.

This brings Jeb to 32.35 percent of the GOP vote.

11.5 percent are undecided.

So let’s be insanely generous and award Jeb 100% of undecided voters.  That won’t happen either.  I suspect more than half the undecideds are just undecided between the conservative candidates.  But let’s be crazy and give all these votes to Jeb,

That would bring Jeb’s vote total ceiling to 43.85 percent.

Jeb’s not likely to get any of the Ted Cruz, Ben Carson, Rick Perry, or Rick Santorum vote if they drop out or don’t run.

So it looks like Jeb’s absolute ceiling vote-wize for the GOP nomination is 43.85 percent.

And that appears very generous to Jeb.

Remember, that’s assuming he would get half Huckabee’s vote, half Rubio’s vote, and half Jindal’s vote, were they to exit the race — a stretch, in my opinion.

And that’s assuming he would get 100% of the 11.5 percent  undecided vote — a near impossibility.

That’s also assuming Jeb would get 100% of the Christie and Kasich vote. That probably would not happen either.

So I’m being extraordinarily generous to Jeb by awarding him 43.85 percent of the GOP primary vote as a ceiling.

One way Jeb might be able to scrape together enough delegates to win the GOP nomination is if the field stays crowded with conservative candidates dividing up the conservative vote.

What’s more likely to happen is the strongest conservative candidate will emerge as the clear front-runner for the conservative vote.

I’m betting that’s Scott Walker.

My own opinion is a Walker-Rubio ticket could be very strong.

Gay marriage is likely to cap out at 0.5 percent of all marriages. Is this really a three-alarm fire for traditional marriage?

The Census Bureau estimates there are now about 230,000 married gay couples in the United States, compared to 60,000,000 traditional marriages between a man and a woman.

This means 0.38 percent of married couples are gay marriages, or about 1 in 300.

The Census Bureau also tells us gay couples (married and unmarried) make up about 700,000 households. So about a third of gay couples who share a house together are marrying each other.

But even if all 700,000 gay couples eventually end up marrying (highly unlikely), this would only amount to about one percent of married couples.

Most likely, gay marriages will cap out at about 0.5 percent of all marriages, might go as high as 0.7 percent.

This is hardly a three-alarm fire if you’re a traditionalist who believes a marriage can only be between a man and a woman.

It might be different if gay marriage was a trend that was likely to really catch on, like the hula hoop craze in the 1950s  – with everyone doing it.

If everyone were to abandon traditional marriage for gay marriage, we would have a population replacement problem, as people would stop having babies.

But that’s not going to happen.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, less than 3 percent of Americans identify themselves as gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

I would be interested to know what share of this 3 percent is bisexual. They all seem to be lumped together in these survey reports. It would seem to me bisexuals are more likely to marry a member of the opposite gender because most people want children.

So there’s a built in ceiling on how many gay marriages there can be.  And it’s a very low ceiling.

Some argue that this becomes a slippery slope: “If gay marriage is allowed, what’s next? Allowing people to marry their pet? Allowing people to marry their car?”

But how many people will really want to do this?

Sure, there will be eccentrics.

But what if we all just shrugged our shoulders and said: “So what? You do your thing. We’ll do ours.”

This entire controversy over gay marriage seems to me much ado about very little.

The problem, of course, is that the liberal-left wants to force traditionalist-minded Christian photographers and bakers (under threat of fines and imprisonment) to participate in gay weddings.

This violates First Amendment protections for religious freedom and freedom of association.

My Ranking of Alternatives to Jeb Bush for the GOP Nomination

Jeb Bush is the Republican Establishment’s candidate. He’ll raise all the money he wants to raise. But he’s running poorly in polls so far.  And he can’t blame this on low name ID.

Jeb’s alienated the conservative Republican base by making a steady stream of statements and comments mocking, well, the conservative Republican base.

The policy positions he’s best known for so far are: 1) Basically supporting Barack Obama’s position of granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens, thereby permanently and forever transforming the American electorate; and 2) Supporting Barack Obama’s “common core” curriculum that indoctrinates America’s children into political correctness.

Other than these policies, we don’t know much more about what Jeb stands for, though he was a decent governor of Florida.

We have no idea what kind of Justices Jeb would pick for the Supreme Court.  And the idea of a race between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush for President is just too nauseating.

America fought a revolution to get out from under rule by royal family.  The Presidency is not supposed to be an inherited office.

We don’t need another Clinton or Bush.

America has a population of 317,000,000. We should be able to do better than this.

The question is: Who will emerge as the most credible conservative alternative to Jeb Bush?

My rule on this is the old William F. Buckley Rule: We should nominate the most conservative candidate who can win.

Here’s my list, handicapping the potential candidates in order of strength. My bias is for a proven governor — someone who has governed a sizable state successfully and moved that state in a conservative direction.

For me, this rules out the free freshman Senators: Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, and Ted Cruz, though I like them all.

My List, In Order of Strength . . .

#1: SCOTT WALKER: He has a story to tell. He has governed as a conservative very successfully in the solidly blue state of Wisconsin. Walker has won three statewide elections convincingly.

For years now, Rush Limbaugh has been touting Walker’s tenure as Governor of Wisconsin as the template for good conservative governance. This will help Walker with grassroots conservatives.

Walker has slashed taxes in Wisconsin by more the $2 billion.  Wisconsin’s economy has done well under Walker, especially when compared to neighboring Illinois.

Membership in public sector unions in Wisconsin has shrunk 50 percent since Walker’s collective bargaining reforms went into effect. He has since signed “right to work” into law and a requirement that one have a photo ID to vote.

He’s solidly pro-life and will certainly appoint good conservative judges to the Supreme Court.

Walker has a national fundraising base. Since he was first elected Governor of Wisconsin in 2010, he has raised $40 million from outside Wisconsin — $19 million during his recall election battle in 2012.

So Walker has the capacity to compete with Jeb on the fundraising front.

Polls show Walker leading Jeb in the two big early states Iowa and New Hampshire. This will help build momentum for Walker early if this holds up. Polls also show Walker leading Jeb nationally among Republican voters.

NEGATIVES: The major chink in Walker’s conservative armor so far is his flip-flop on amnesty for illegal aliens. He was pro-amnesty and now opposes amnesty, apparently.

Walker disappointed conservatives when he said in May of 2012 that he had “no interest” in passing “right to work” legislation in Wisconsin.  This was at a time when he was in the midst of his brutal recall election battle.  He then said passing “right to work” into law was “not a priority” for him in 2014 when he was fighting for reelection.  But right after his reelection he signed “right to work” into law.  Walker has been a longtime supporter of “right to work.”  In 1993 he sponsored “right to work” legislation as a Wisconsin state lawmaker.  His lack of interest in passing “right to work” legislation in 2012 and 2014 had to do with political timing, not opposition to ending compulsory union labor membership.

This provides insights into Walker’s governing style.  He’s a cautious incrementalist.   But he keeps the ball moving in a conservative direction.

Walker needs tighter answers when talking to the press. Biggest gaffe so far was suggesting his battles with Wisconsin’s public sector unions demonstrate he’s ready to crush ISIS and handle foreign policy.

#2: JOHN KASICH: He has a solid record of accomplishment as Governor in the key swing state of Ohio. He eliminated the state’s estate tax. He cut Ohio’s income tax. Ohio’s “Rainy Day Fund” has grown from $0 to$1.4 billion under Kasich. He declined to set up an Ohio ObamaCare exchange. He also signed collective bargaining reforms into law opposed by the labor unions. But that law never went into effect because it was repealed by voters in a referendum.

Kasich is an evangelical Christian. His parents were both killed by a drunk driver. So he has a sympathetic personal story. He has led efforts in Ohio to end human trafficking. He has strong appeal among blue collar workers and Christians. He’s proven himself to be a good and resilient politician. He’s a very likable person.

NEGATIVES: He went along with accepting Barack Obama’s expansion of Medicaid in Ohio under the ObamaCare law, which disappointed conservatives. He spoke out against efforts by Ohio GOP legislators to turn Ohio into a “right to work” state. It might already be too late for Kasich to raise enough money to mount a serious campaign for President. He doesn’t have anywhere near the national name recognition that Walker has.

But a Kisich candidacy would be very interesting if he gets into the race.

#3: RAND PAUL: Rand Paul is polling very well in head-to-head match-ups with Hillary. Recent Quinnipac polls shows Paul leading Hillary by 3 points in Colorado and 1 point in Iowa — both swing states.

Rand Paul’s libertarian message might play well with young voters. He’s receiving some surprisingly positive media coverage

He can also tap into his father’s formidable fundraising base.

NEGATIVES: Incoherent flip-floppy foreign policy. He’s never run anything. Is America ready for another freshman Senator to be President?

#4 MARCO RUBIO: Almost everyone likes Marco. He’s a solid conservative who seems to be settling in as the number two choice for many. Perhaps he can help with the Latino vote. He’s from Florida, a big swing state the GOP must win.

NEGATIVES: He’s another freshman Senator who hasn’t run anything. He stumbled badly with conservatives in 2013 when he championed the so-called “gang of eight” bill in the Senate to grant amnesty to illegal aliens.  He later backed away from amnesty. We need Marco to stay in the Senate. We don’t want to lose that Florida Senate seat.

#5: TED CRUZ: Solid conservative. Brilliant man. Fun to listen to. Grassroots conservatives love Cruz.  He’s also raising a lot of money.  If political philosophy were the only criteria, Cruz would be my candidate.

NEGATIVES: He’s another freshman Senator who hasn’t run anything. Personally, I think he’s a bit too much in love with the sound of his own voice and comes across as too much of a preacher. We need Ted to stay in the Senate.

#6: BOBBY JINDAL: Governor of Louisiana. Articulate conservative. Has championed “choice in education” in Louisiana.

NEGATIVES: Delivered a less-than-stellar response to Barack Obama’s first State of the Union Address in 2009 that tarnished Jindal’s image as a possible Ronald Reagan for the future. Not from a big swing state.

Jindal has also been victimized by plunging oil prices (not his fault), leaving Jindal with shrinking tax revenues and a gigantic (for Louisiana) $1.6 billion budget deficit.  Under Louisiana’s Constitution, the budget must be balanced, which has forced Jindal to raid various dedicated funds to fill in the budget hole.

This has produced a 27 percent job approval rating in Louisiana for Jindal.  Yikes!

To his credit, he has not raised taxes.  If oil prices rise again, Louisiana’s economy will bounce back. So will Jindal’s approval ratings.

So far, there’s no evidence he’s serious about running for President. Hasn’t raised much, if any, money.

#7 SUSANA MARTINEZ: She gave a great speech at the 2012 Republican National Convention.  She’s a popular governor in the solidly blue state of New Mexico.   She would appeal to women and Latinos.  She’s pro-life, so probably would appoint good Supreme Court Justices.  She’s very likable and has a great personal story.  She’d be a great face and voice for the GOP.

NEGATIVES: She’s says she’s not running and won’t run, or she would be much higher on my list. Though she’s certainly a conservative, it’s unclear how much of a Scott Walker-style fighter she would be for conservative policies.  Would she hold up under an all-out liberal assault the way Walker has?

#8: MIKE HUCKABEE: He was a former Governor of Arkansas. So he has run a state. He also ran a surprisingly strong candidacy for President in 2008. He’s an excellent speaker and very likable. Appeals to evangelical Christians and women. He’s a viable dark horse possibility.

NEGATIVES: Can he raise enough money to compete credibly? The biggest negative is Huckabee’s role as Governor of Arkansas in commuting the sentence of a criminal (Maurice Clemmons) who went on to shoot and kill four police officers in a coffee shop. Huckabee, while Governor, also commuted the sentence of a man who had been convicted of rape and murder (Wayne Drummond) who went on to commit another rape and murder. In all, Governor Huckabee pardoned more than 1,000 convicted criminals — a stat that raised eyebrows among many prosecutors and law-enforcement officials.

#9: MIKE PENCE: He’s done a good job as Governor of Indiana and has strong conservative credentials.  He was a conservative stalwart when a Congressman.

NEGATIVES: His failure to defend his own law protecting religious freedom and the First Amendment in Indiana showed he’s weak and can’t be counted on when the going gets tough.  How hard is it to stand up for the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution? Pence folded like a house of cards under pressure.  Though a possible Pence candidacy has been talked about in the press, he’s made no moves toward running for President.  He probably can’t raise enough money.

#10: RICK SANTORUM: He ran a great campaign in the primaries in 2012 with almost no money. He won the Iowa caucuses, won Colorado, won in Missouri, won Minnesota. He lost narrowly to Romney in Michigan. Had Santorum defeated Romney in Michigan, he might have won the GOP nomination. He’s a good speaker and very likable.

NEGATIVES: He lost his Pennsylvania Senate seat in 2006 by 17 points in a very bad year for Republicans. He’s never run anything.

#11: RICK PERRY: He was a good Governor of Texas and is a solid conservative.

NEGATIVES: Perry might never recover from his embarrassing Presidential debate performances in 2012. He claims he was on pain medication for his back.

Perry is not registering more than 1 percent or so in polls for potential GOP candidates. It seems rank-and-file conservative and Republican voters want a candidate who can articulate their philosophy in a convincing way.

#12: DONALD TRUMP: Hugely successful in business. Great marketer. Great self-promoter. Fun to watch. Has some good ideas.

NEGATIVES: If he runs for President, it will be as a marketing stunt. Not a serious candidate. Won’t appeal to women, who will see The Donald as a cad.

#13: CARLY FIORINA: She’s an attractive woman and a good speaker.  Though her history is as an establishment Republican, she’s been campaigning this year as a solid conservative. She’s also making some funny comments about Hillary.

NEGATIVES: Her six-year stint as CEO of Hewlett-Packard was widely considered a failure.  She was fired — given a severance package worth $20 million.  She then went on to run for Senate in 2010 in California against Barbara Boxer, losing to Boxer by 10 points in a year when we saw sweeping Republican victories at every level of government. Granted, California is a very tough state for Republicans. But there’s not much in her resume or story that suggests she’s ready to be President of the United States.

#14: CHRIS CHRISTIE: The positive is he’s a Republican governor who won two elections in a blue state, New Jersey.

NEGATIVES: New Jersey’s bond credit rating has been cut six times under Governor Christie. That’s untenable to any fiscal conservative. He has no accomplishments in New Jersey he can point to.

Christie’s 2012 keynote speech at the Republican National Convention was among the worst keynote speeches in history. There was nothing in that speech about what Christie believes in terms of political philosophy or policies. There was nothing in that speech about Romney, the GOP nominee. The speech was all about Christie.

Then there’s Bridge-gate, Hug-gate One, Hug-gate Two, and Hug-gate Three. Christie’s blowhard antics will wear thin with voters.

I would much prefer Jeb to Christie.

The Conservative Case for a Minimum Income

We basically have this now anyway.

The problem is we now have 79 federal means-tested welfare programs that spend a bit more than $1 TRILLION annually.

These 79 federal welfare programs include . . .

  • 12 programs providing food aid;
  • 12 programs funding social services;
  • 12 educational assistance programs;
  • 11 housing assistance programs;
  • 10 programs providing cash assistance;
  • 9 vocational training programs;
  • 7 medical assistance programs;
  • 3 energy and utility assistance programs; and
  • 3 child care and child development programs.

How would a low-education person living in poverty even navigate this maze of federal programs?

This impoverished person would need to hire a lawyer (for $300-$500 per hour) to figure out how to get the benefits to which she’s entitled.

How many people have actually found a job through a federal jobs training program?

According to the Census Bureau, 44,000,000 Americans are living below the poverty line.

This means if we simply divided the $1 TRILLION among the 44 MILLION Americans in poverty, we could provide $22,727 each year for every man, woman, child, and baby living in poverty.

That’s $90,909 per year for a family of four living in poverty — if the government simply wrote these families a check each month.

Of course, the poor are not getting this money. It’s being siphoned off by the government bureaucracy. It’s also being passed out in the form of grants to non-profits — ACORN-style “community organizing” groups to turn out the vote for Democrat candidates.

What would be an appropriate amount for people in poverty should receive from taxpayers?

Well, according to the federal government, these income levels are considered to be the poverty line:

2015 U.S. POVERTY GUIDELINES:
Persons in family/household Poverty guideline

1 — $11,770
2 — $15,930
3 — $20,090
4 — $24,250
5 — $28,410
6 — $32,570

So if the federal government simply wrote checks to people at this level, we could eliminate probably 75 of the 79 federal anti-poverty programs.

Since we are now spending $22,727 on every man, woman, child, and baby in poverty, simply writing checks to poor people in the above amounts would easily cut the cost of welfare to the taxpayer by 60 percent or more.

Remember, the first person in a household is considered in poverty if that person is bringing in $11,770 or less per year. Each additional person per household is thought to require a bit more than $4,100 per year to not be considered below the poverty line.

Also, low income Americans are getting Medicaid. So their basic health care needs are covered, as has been the case since 1965.

Medicaid costs taxpayer about $265 BILLION per year. That’s considered a means-tested poverty program. So when this is factored in, the cost of means-tested welfare to the American people, could easily be cut by 35-40 percent if we simply turned welfare into a check-writing operation without all those government bureaucrats and “community organizing” non-profits siphoning off the money.

The poor also have free education in the form of the public schools.

So they get a minimum income, as outlined above. They also receive Medicaid (free health care) and free education.

But wouldn’t a guaranteed income encourage laziness and fraud?

Yes, it would — which is why able-bodied working-age adults on means-tested welfare should be required to work.

There are lot of jobs that need doing. Help rebuild the roads and decaying infrastructure. Pick up trash along the roads. Help take care of the elderly and the sick. Clean up the parks.

What would not be permitted is any able-bodied working-age adult getting paid by taxpayers to sit on the couch watching TV.

Once a child is age 5 and eligible for school, the mom would have to work also — do something, until the kids get home from school.

There are a lot of jobs that need doing in America.

Plus, all the evidence shows that when work is required to receive welfare, most people quickly get off welfare.

If they must work anyway, they start looking for better jobs.

Yes, this would require some administrative bureaucracy to enforce this. We would still need case workers and social workers. But that’s another function government is pretty good at: law enforcement.

But isn’t a guaranteed minimum income conservative heresy?

No.

Conservatives certainly believe in a social safety net.

William F. Buckley, Jr, Ronald Reagan, Russell Kirk — all serious conservative thinkers and leaders have believed in a social safety net.

Ronald Reagan never advocated getting rid of the social safety net.

The debate is: What should this social safety net look like? How do we create a social safety net that provides for the truly needy, but also that incentivises the able-bodied to get off it. Conservatives believe a safety net should not become a hammock.

This is big part of what differentiates conservatives from libertarians.

Conservatives do not agree with Ayn Rand’s survival-of-the-fittest, dog-eat-dog society.

Conservatives believe in the civil humane society. Conservatives are empiricists.

We want what works best.  We have done this over time through trial and error — producing what we call Civilization.

We realize that some people simply cannot take care of themselves. As Jesus said: “The poor will always be with us.”

That’s just a fact.

We don’t want people starving on the streets. We don’t want to throw grandma out into the snow. The American people would never put up with this anyway.

What conservatives want is a safety net that works and makes sense.

Mitt Romney’s Misunderstanding of What a Conservative Is

Mitt Romney lost the election in 2012 in large part because of his misunderstanding of conservatism.

He thought he had to campaign as a hardcore conservative to win the Republican nomination.  So he comically described himself in a speech as a “severe conservative.”

What the heck is that?

There’s no such thing as a “severe conservative.”

Conservatives are for conserving what works.

In America, that means defending the Constitution, the American idea, and free-market capitalism . . . because capitalism has worked so well, has created more wealth and prosperity and lifted more people out of poverty than any other system.

There’s nothing “severe” about that.

What conservatives want to do is maximize freedom, prosperity, and the general well-being of the county — what the Constitution called the “general welfare.”

By “general welfare,” the framers meant the “good of the whole” or the “good of the nation.”

Most people would say that it’s in the national interest not to have 14 percent of the population starving on the streets.  It would not make America look good to have that. We would not be the “Shining City on the Hill” for the entire world to follow, as Reagan put it, if that were to happen.

Romney gave the impression to America that he opposed the social safety net in principle.  He even attacked the so-called 47 percent — defined as anyone receiving some kind of check or subsidy from the government — including military veterans, police officers, fire fighters, Social Security and Medicare recipients, students, etc.

Tough to win elections when you write off the 47 percent.

But isn’t a “minimum income”  basically the same as socialism?

No.

A key tenet of socialism is to redistribute wealth to create wealth equality.

The goal here is not to punish the productive and the successful, not to prevent people from earning as much money as they can.

This is not the class warfare of Barack Obama, Elizabeth Warren, and the modern Democrat party — which has become Marxist in its rhetoric and orientation.

There should be no cap on achievement in America.

The corporate tax-rate should be cut to from a top rate of 39 percent to 10 percent. America should be a place that attracts capital. America should be the easiest place in the world to do business because the best anti-poverty program is a growing economy.

Capitalism is the only economic system that pulls people out of poverty. Socialism creates poverty and misery wherever it goes.

As U2’s Bono said in speech at Georgetown University:

Aid is just a stop-gap. Commerce [and] entrepreneurial capitalism takes more people out of poverty than aid . . . In dealing with poverty here and around the world, welfare and foreign aid are a Band-Aid. Free enterprise is a cure.”

The wealth doesn’t end up being redistributed anyway because poor people need to buy food and pay for the necessities of life.  So the modest income they receive from taxpayers ends up back in the bank accounts of businesses that provide the necessities of life.  The money is then reinvested by these businesses and circulated through the economy.

This is not a wealth redistribution scheme.  It’s a rescue scheme.   It’s social insurance — which 90 percent of Americans favor.

Even Friedrich Hayek, the great free-market Nobel Prize winning economist said: “I have always said that I am in favor of a minimum
income for every person in the country.”  SOURCE: Hayek on Hayek (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994)

Hayek is a hero to most libertarians. Ronald Reagan awarded Hayek the Medal of Freedom for his work in economics and defense of capitalism. Hayek’s great book The Road To Serfdom had a big impact on my thinking, as it has many libertarians and conservatives. His book was an attack on socialism and a defense of free-market capitalism.

Milton Friedman also supported the idea of a minimum income. Friedman was, of course, another great free-market advocate, a Nobel Prize
winning economist, and hero to most libertarians.

Friedman’s book Free To Choose is the free-market Bible for many of us.

Friedman called his proposal a negative income tax. Instead of the byzantine sprawl of federal welfare programs, he proposed a simple cash transfer from the I.R.S. of, say, $6,000 for every citizen. So a family of four with no income would thus receive an annual payment from the I.R.S. of $24,000. Indexed for inflation, the amount would be more now than when Friedman was writing, probably closer to the current federal poverty guidelines outlined above.

For each dollar the family then earned, this payment might be reduced by 50 cents, or some fraction (so as not to disincentivise finding work in the market economy).

So if this principle passes muster with Friedrich Hayek and Milton Friedman, that’s good enough for me.

Thomas Paine, one of the intellectual leaders of the American Revolution with his book Common Sense, was also an advocate of a minimum income, which he called a “citizen’s dividend.”  You should be entitled to a minimum standard of living simply by being a citizen, in Paine’s view.

Paine proposed that this Basic Income be financed with a 10% death duty from estates.  His logic came from John Locke who argued that the world in its natural state belonged equally to everyone.  But the development of private property rights allowed people to increase the value of the land through their own hard work and innovation.  Nevertheless, a certain percentage of this (Paine thought a 10% death tax from estates) should go back to the people — most specifically to those living in poverty to pay for their Basic Income.

SIDEBAR: Thomas Jefferson’s argument in America’s Declaration of Independence also came from John Locke, so no socialist he. Locke believed all people have an “unalienable right to life, liberty, and property.”  Jefferson changed Locke’s “property” to “the pursuit of happiness.”

You can read about “Thomas Paine’s Two Arguments for Basic Incomehere >>> .

So this is hardly a new idea.  Why do we need 79 different federal welfare programs to achieve this?

A minimum Basic Income was also proposed by conservative/libertarian hero Montesquieu (1689-1755) whose writings also heavily influenced the thinking of America’s founders.  Montesquieu is often quoted by Mark Levin in his books in defense of liberty and limited government.

So this is certainly a conservative, pro-freedom idea . . . and does not lead to socialism.

In fact, socialism (or worse) is far more likely to come if there is no social safety net. When people are desperate, they take desperate measures. They end up following Pied Pipers like Hitler, Mao, Lenin, Pol Pot.

Do you want to see Fergusons happening everywhere — open warfare on the streets?

The social safety net is a key pillar of a prosperous civil humane society.

It helps keep the peace.

There is nothing the least bit contradictory about being both in favor of a social safety net that works (not the dysfunctional one we have now) while also being a pedal-to-the-metal, full-throated, unapologetic free-market capitalist.

Obama Shows How Dangerous a Rogue President Can Become

President Obama’s executive action effectively legalizing up to 5,000,0000 illegal aliens in America is actually a bit of a nothing-burger policy-wize.

Most common-sense conservatives and Republicans don’t have a substanative problem with:

1) Allowing illegal aliens who have lived here for at least five years and who have children here who are U.S. citizens getting themselves right with the law and applying for a green card.

2) Allowing people who arrived here as children five or more years ago to do the same.
It’s really not that big a deal substanatively from a policy standpoint.

If Ronald Reagan were recommending this and went through the proper legislative channels, most of us would not have a big problem with this.

Actually, Reagan did do something like this, with Congress’s approval.

The title of the legislation was the Simpson-Mizzoli Act.

Under this legislation,, it was envisioned that about 4,000,000 illegal immigrants would apply for legal status through the act and that roughly half of them would be eligible.

In other words, about what Obama’s executive order is envisioning.

So the policy substance of what Obama is doing is not a huge deal.

What is a huge deal is HOW Obama is doing it.

He told us he had grown impatient with Congress’s inaction. So he decided to go it alone.
That’s not how our republic works.

In our system, Congress makes the laws. It’s the President’s job to “faithfully execute” the laws of the land.
He’s the executive, not a lawmaker.

Congress is the lawmaking body.

This is how “separation of powers” works — the foundational principle of the American structure of government.
So President Obama went rogue, decided he did not like the law as written. So went ahead and decreed his own law. This is what emperors and dictators do. This is what happens in a banana republic.

The trouble is there is no remedy to stop Obama from doing what he’s doing short of Impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives, followed by a trial in the Senate and a vote of expulsion by the Senate.

This has never happened in the history of our Republic.

It would have happened to Richard Nixon. But he resigned.

Obama knows he’s safe. It would take a two-thirds super-majority in the Senate (67 votes) to expel him from office. That’s an impossible bar.

So Obama is free to do just about anything he wants short of killing a little girl with his bare hands in front of cameras on the White House lawn.

The problem is our system is ill-equipped to deal with a President who acts in bad faith.

For example, the Constitution gives the President the power to pardon criminals.

If President Obama wants, he can pardon every criminal now in prison (including every murderer, gang member, and rapist) and they would be free to go back out on the street to commit their mayhem.

Short of impeachment and expulsion by the Senate, there’s nothing we could do.

Even the case for impeachment in this case would be difficult because technically Obama would not be breaking any laws if he just released every criminal in America’s prison through his Constitutional power to pardon whomever he chooses.

Theoretically, Congress can impeach and expel a President from office if they just view him as grossly neglecting his duties as President, or as grossly acting against the nation’s interest. But technically, he would not be violating any law by pardoning every criminal in America.

President Obama might well decide to pardon every illegal alien living in America.

That’s certainly not out of the realm of possibility, given what he just did.

Now clearly, the Constitution does not envision any President pardoning every criminal in America . . . because that would be just nuts.

But the Constitution doesn’t say he can’t. So technically he can.

So there’s really nothing we can do to prevent Barack Obama from destroying the country — if he wants to.
He can fire every General, Admiral, Colonel, and Major in the military if he wants to. He can move all our military forces and troops to the South Pole as a joke.

And there’s absolutely nothing we could do about it short of Impeachment and a vote of expulsion by the Senate, which requires a two-thirds super-majority vote.

He can also use the IRS and Department of Justice (which he controls) to harass, prosecute, and destroy his political opponents — which he’s been doing. There’s nothing much we can do about that either.

He can also pack the courts with radical leftist ideologues who will rubber stamp whatever he wants to do. He’s basically done that.
So this is a serious question America’s Constitution does not handle well.

What happens when America elects a President who really doesn’t like America very much, who says he’s out to “fundamentally transform” America — who says he’s out to “remake America” . . . and apparently will use any means to do so, whether legal or not?
We’ve never before had a President of the United States who just did not much like America.

We’ve had incompetent Presidents — such as Jimmy Carter and James Buchanan.

Incompetent Presidents can also do a lot of damage to the country. But at least they aren’t purposefully trying to destroy the country.

What happens when we have a President who sees it as his mission in life to knock America down a few pegs, to punish America for being so successful, or even destroy America completely?

President Obama knows that if he can find a way to simply allow Mexico and Latin America to move to America, that’s the end of the Republican Party. He can turn America into a one-party state, like Venezuela or any number of other Latin American countries.

Our system does not have an adequate remedy for a President who decides to go rogue.

The Case for Runoff Elections

I love the runoff election system, as we see possibly playing out in Louisiana and Georgia.

Why?

The reason can be summed up in two words: Adolf Hitler

Adolf Hitler became dictator of Germany when his party, the National Socialist Workers Party  (NAZI) won 33.09 percent of the vote.

If elections can be won with less than 50 percent of the vote plus one, we can have situations where the majority did not vote for the winner.

So the majority is then not represented.

Bill Clinton never won as much as 50 percent of the vote.

Reform Party candidate Ross Perot siphoned off 19.7 percent of the vote in 1992 and 8.4 percent of the vote in 1996.

Most likely George H.W. Bush would have won reelection in 1992  if it were not for Perot.

Of course, we can never know for sure what would have happened.

Neither George W. Bush nor Al Gore garnered 50 percent of the vote in 2000.

Al Gore would have been elected President in 2000 were it not for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

In the 2014 Senate election in South Dakota, we see the possibility of the election winner receiving only a plurality of the vote.

That’s because two Republicans are now running against one Democrat.

The former Republican U.S. Senator from South Dakota Larry Pressler decided to jump in the race as an Independent.

So it’s possible he’ll siphon off enough votes from the official GOP nominee Michael Rounds and throw the election to the Democrat Rick Weiland — even though Weiland would have little chance in a one-on-one contest with either Rounds or Pressler..

If this happens, the majority of voters of South Dakota will be represented by someone they did not want and would not have voted for, even as their back-up choice.

Democrat Rick Weiland would be the least desirable of the three candidates for a majority of South Dakotans.

Yet, he might win with 35 percent of the vote.

What a runoff election would ensure in South Dakota is that a majority of South Dakotans would have a chance to vote for their back-up choice if their first choice isn’t elected.

Another benefit of the runoff election system is that it encourages people to vote for who they really like — instead of making political calculations on who is the most “electable.”  Because they know they will have another opportunity to vote for their second choice if their candidate fails to make it to the runoff.

I also suspect this runoff election system would diminish the influence of the two major political parties — which would be a good thing in my opinion.  It would open up the political process for more interesting candidates to shine.

We would not be limited to the stultifyingly bland offerings served up by the Democrat and Republican Political Establishments.

Politicians would feel more freedom to make up their own mind on issues instead of bowing to pressure from party bosses to tow the party line all the time. Politics would become less partisan and more interesting.

Imagine how boring the NFL would be if there were only two football teams playing every week.

The NFL is fun to watch because there are many teams.  The season then ends with the Super Bowl.

The Super Bowl always involves two teams, not three.

This is how elections should be conducted.

The requirement in Louisiana and Georgia that a U.S. Senator must be elected with at least 50 percent of the vote plus one, or there is a runnoff election between the two top vote getters, is a good system.

Every state should adopt this rule for federal elections, including the awarding of Electoral Votes in the Presidential Election.

There is nothing in the Constitution that prevents the states from holding runoff elections to determine which candidate is awarded Electoral Votes in the event that no candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote.

Under the Constitution, the states, not Congress decide how Electoral Votes are awarded.

If a candidate wins 270 or more electoral votes on Election Day, there would be no need for states that were unable to award electoral votes to hold a runoff election.

But if no candidate is able to get to 270 electoral votes, imagine how exciting it would be to have the Presidential Election decided by a runoff election 30 days later in, say, New Hampshire.

Or to have a runoff election involving many states that were unable to award the Electoral Votes because no candidate was able to win more than 50 percent of the vote in these states — as would have occurred in 1992 and in 2000.

Now this system still does not guarantee that the President of the United States will always be elected with a majority of the vote. If one candidate wins overwhelmingly in a big state like California, but the other candidate wins narrow victories in the other states, it would still be possible to lose with a majority of the popular vote.

There’s nothing we can do about the Electoral College. It’s in the Constitution and there are good reasons for it, having to do with protecting the sovereignty of the states.

No system is perfect or foolproof.

Barack Obama was elected twice with more than 50 percent of the vote.  So America is getting what it deserves with Obama.

But what this runoff system would do is prevent spoiler candidates — like Ross Perot in 1992 or Ralph Nader in 2000. Perot and Nader launched their candidacies not because they thought they could get elected, but mostly to sabotage the campaigns of candidates they did not like for personal reasons.

Federal Elections should not be sabotaged by this kind of mischief.

More importantly, a runnoff election system would prevent what happened in 1933 in Germany, when Adolf Hitler was elected dictator with a plurality of just 33.09% of the vote.

It was quite evident in 1933 that Hitler was a madman.   He had written and published Mein Kampf in 1926. His thuggish Brownshirts used terror to enforce Nazi Party discipline in the period leading up the the election of 1933. The Nazis and Hitler’s Brownshirts were frightening, not popular.

Hitler and his Nazi Party could not have won a majority of the vote if there had been a runoff election system in Germany in 1933.  And we could have avoided 60,000,000 deaths in World War Two — which amounted to the extermination of 2.5% of the world’s total population.

Can’t Two Things Be True? The Iraq War Was a Mistake. It Was Also a Mistake to Abandon Iraq to ISIS.

The debate over whether the disintegration of Iraq was George W. Bush’s fault or Barack Obama’s fault is a false debate.

They were both wrong.  Both their policies were disastrous for U.S. interests.

The verdict is in on George W. Bush’s decision to oust Saddam Hussein.

We found no WMD program, no nuclear weapons program under Saddam in Iraq – the pretense for going to war. As thuggish a dictator as he was, he turned out to be a bulwark against Islamic extremism.

He was no threat to the United States.  He was actually an asset.

Saddam hated al Qaeda and the Islamic radicals as much as we do. He did a superb job at killing them.
This is why W’s father, George H.W. Bush made the decision in Operation Desert Storm to push Saddam out of Kuwait, back to Baghdad, and to leave him there.

Reagan also understood Saddam’s value.

He was a counter to the even worse Iran — which is why we sided with Saddam in the Iran-Iraq War.

We had an alliance with Incredibly awful Joseph Stalin against the even worse Adolf Hitler.

Not that Saddam was even close to as bad as these fellows.

But in 2003 W Bush made the decision to go to Baghdad to get rid of Saddam, and set up a flimsy replacement government that needed a permanent U.S. presence to survive.

Dumb decision to replace Saddam with this un-serious government.

We’d be far better off with Saddam still in place.

But even dumber is Obama’s decision to abandon Iraq to ISIS.

Obama compounded one mistake with an even worse blunder.

Pulling all U.S. forces out of Iraq suddenly and completely left a power vaccum that was filled by ISIS.
Obama is doing the same in Afghanistan.

Just about everyone agrees we had to go to Afghanistan to get rid of the Taliban and hunt down bin Laden.
But we’re now leaving Afghanistan to the Taliban – which no doubt will also become a safe haven for ISIS and every other fanatical Islamic group.

Two years ago, Obama thought it was a great idea to arm rebels in Syria in the hope that they might overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad – another Saddam-like strongman dictator.

The problem is these rebels included ISIS and other fanatical Islamists.

Obama claimed he thoroughly vetted the rebels and was only arming “moderate” Islamic rebels.

Are there any “moderate” Islamic  guerrilla rebels?

If you believe that, I have horse-racing bet portfolio I’d like you to invest in.

Now Obama is bombing ISIS in Syria, who he used to think it was a good idea to arm.

Meanwhile, ISIS is riding around in U.S. tanks with U.S. rockets and weapons beheading people.

Obama also thought it was a great idea to help the Islamists get rid of the dictator in Libya Muammar Gaddafi. So now Libya is in a state of anarchy and terrorists are using the former U.S. Embassy as their headquarters.

Obama also sided with the Muslim Brotherhood against U.S. ally Hosni Mubarak – another strongman dictator. But at least he was a friend of the U.S. and not out to erase Israel from the map.

The good news in Egypt is that the Muslim Brotherhood has since been thrown out by the Egyptian military. So we have another Mubarak-style regime in Egypt, no thanks to Obama.

But that’s good for the United States.

The truth is Democracy doesn’t work in Islamic countries — at least not those that take the Koran seriously.

Sharia Law and democracy are incompatible.

If you have a vote in these countries, you will have one election one time.

If Saudi Arabia had an election, al Qaeda or ISIS would likely win.  We don’t like the corrupt Royal Family that runs Saudi Arabia.  But they’re better than the alternative.

We don’t like Assad, but he’s better than what would replace him.  We certainly did not like Saddam or Gaddafi. But look what we have now. These countries have become Jihadist Wonderlands.

George W. Bush made one mistake. And it was a biggie – the Iraq War.

He should have just left Saddam in place. Saddam was a “managaeble problem,” to borrow the words of Obama.

Actually, he wasn’t the problem.  Turns out he was a pretty good solution to radical Islam, which he hated.

So Bush made a big strategic mistake.  Huge.

But Obama has taken the wrong side in literally every conflict in the Middle East. Not once has he chosen the correct side.

He sides with Hamas over Israel. He sides with the Muslim Brotherhood over Mubarak. He sides with “moderate elements” of the Taliban over Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan.

There are no “moderate elements” of the Taliban.

Obama has spent much of his Presidency trashing the Iraqi government — I guess as a way to justify America’s exit from Iraq.

As a result of Obama’s policies , ISIS now controls an area of Iraq and Syria the size of Indiana.

As flawed as George W. Bush was, do you think this would have ever happened if he were still President?

The entire Middle East is now in flames now because of Obama.  We have no friends in the Middle East anymore, except Israel – who Obama constantly trashes.

Is Jordan a friend?

It doesn’t matter much because they’re in the process of being overrun by ISIS.

For what it’s worth, George W. Bush assembled a coalition of 48 countries to take on Saddam — the misguided venture though it was.

Barack Obama has persuaded a grand total of nine countries(including the great nation of Albania)  to join his coalition to take on ISIS.

Great Britain and Germany have said “no thanks” to Obama’s idea of bombing ISIS in Syria.

That’s how much confidence our allies have in Obama.

Barack Obama makes Jimmy Carter look like Winston Churchill by comparison.

A few random thoughts on the Ray Rice episode

Ray Rice has been caught on video delivering a left hook to his fiancée’s jaw, knocking her out.

The Baltimore Ravens cancelled his $50 million contract and the NFL suspended Rice indefinitely.

So here are a few random thoughts I have on all this.

1) Ray Rice must have an IQ of somewhere around 10 to do what he did.

The video speaks for itself.

2) Bill Clinton hasn’t been banned from anything.

Juanita Brodrick claims he raped her. Kathleen Willey says she was sexually assaulted by Clinton. Paula Jones was clearly sexually assaulted by Clinton. Plus Clinton preyed on and ruined the life of White House intern Monica Lewinsky.

Seriously, who’s worse — Ray Rice or Bill Clinton? Who’s the bigger threat to women?

3) Ray Rice’s then fiancée, Janay, went on to marry Ray even after the KO punch.

She is now blasting the media for ruining both their lives. She apparently thinks there’s a lot to like about Ray Rice.

And she’s probably none too happy that the Ravens cancelled his $50 million contract.

4) If Michael Vick can come back and play in the NFL after his longtime involvement in dog-fighting, Ray Rice can come back.

Rice threw one ill-advised, impulsive punch at his fiancee — who has forgiven him.

Vick promoted and participated in dog fighting (animal torture) for years.

Rice is impulsive and stupid. Vick is evil.

5) We knew exactly what Ray Rice did before we saw the video of the actual punch.

We knew he had knocked Janay unconscious in the elevator because video footage showed him dragging her unconscious body out into the corridor. This must have been a brutal beating to produce this result.

The court ordered Ray Rice to enter a domestic violence program prior to sentencing to avoid jail time.
The NFL suspended Rice for two games.

The actual video of the single punch is what created the public uproar against Rice.

But, in truth, the video makes Rice look a bit less bad.

Without the video, one might imagine Rice rained repeated blows on Janay, rendering her unconscious. The video shows he delivered just one punch – though clearly well-targeted (unfortunately for both Rice and Janay).

As she was falling, it appears she hit her head on the railing, which might have produced the knock-out. So the knock-out was probably unintentional by Ray Rice.

Also, it appears from the video that Janay spit on Rice prior to the knock-out blow delivered by Rice.

If she spit on Rice, that certainly doesn’t justify Rice’s punch. But spitting on someone is assault under the law. So a lot appears to have been going on between them.

6) There appears to be no lasting physical damage to Janay Rice.

Though that’s always difficult to know with a concussion — which this certainly was.

7) This appears to be a first-time offense for Rice.

Unlike other NFL players, Rice is not a habitual bad actor. He seems to have no past record of serious misconduct, no previous incident of hitting women.

NFL Hall of Famer Jim Brown (greatest running back ever) was famous for beating up women. Not much happened to him.

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was accused of being involved in a murder (a nightclub shooting), but nothing much happened to him either. In fact, he’s now a commentator on ESPN’s Monday Night Football.

8) Ray Rice had the misfortune of running afoul of the “War on Women” mantra.

Ray Rice probably had no idea what “Political Correctness” meant, until now.

He probably still doesn’t fully understand what’s happening to him.

Barack Obama won reelection in 2012 in part by advancing the absurd notion that Republicans are conducting a “War on Women.”

So now every politician, every corporate CEO, everyone (especially every man) in a leadership position is desperate to show how pro-woman they are.

Plus the NFL is desperately trying to appeal to women, which is why the NFL requires every player to wear pink during “Breast Cancer Awareness Month” — but nothing during “Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.”

Oh wait. There is no “Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.”

9) This shows society has concluded that men and women should NOT be treated equally.

If Ray Rice had KO’d a man, this would have been no big deal — might have been a badge of honor for Rice.

It’s the fact that he hit a woman (who appears to have been spitting on him) that’s so egregious.

I agree that a man hitting a woman is egregious.  It’s downright unmanly.

Men and woman are different.  Men tend to be physically much stronger — especially an NFL football player.

This truth calls into question the issue of having women serve in military combat roles, women as firefighters, women as cops on the street.

Do we really want to put women in dangerous combat-style situations?

America appears to be saying “NO” to this idea.

This is a big setback for feminism.

CONCLUSION:

Ray Rice should certainly be punished by the Ravens and the NFL for his abhorrent conduct. Perhaps sitting out football for a year would be appropriate if no further misconduct by Rice occurs.

Clearly his fiancee (now his wife) sees a lot to like about Rice because she went on to marry him after the KO.

This is a first-time offense for Ray Rice. He and his wife should not lose their livelihood permanently over this.

Ray Rice would do well to go on a media tour to stress how much he regrets the incident. He should have Janay by his side.

He should go on “The View,” “Oprah,” “Dr. Phil,” “Nancy Grace,” and “Dr. Drew.”

This alone would be substantial punishment for Rice — having to endure being badgered hour after hour by these people.

He should explain that he’s entered an anger management program and will spend ten hours a week volunteering at a battered women’s shelter.

If “Oprah” absolves Rice of his sin, this should be enough for the NFL to reinstate Rice after a one-year time-out.

Why I think Glenn Beck has become a buffoon and is no longer much worth listening to

Perhaps he can redeem himself at some point. But he sure is displaying some unsound thinking.

I’ve been a pretty big fan of Glenn Beck over the years.

I liked his show on FOX.

He did a good job there with his diagrams, helping people connect the dots and showing viewers how Obama was hiring all these Maoists and Communists in key positions — i.e. Anita Dunn (White House Communications Director and self-professed Maoist) and Van Jones (self-professed Communist) and others.

What I liked most about Glenn Beck is he seemed to really appeal to women.

My wife Wanda loved Glenn Beck – used to DVR all his shows on FOX.

She wasn’t at all political. But Glenn connected with Wanda, helped engage her in politics, helped turn her into a conservative.

I’m sure she still likes him.

My three daughters have also been big fans of Glenn Beck.

I think one reason females like Glenn Beck is all the emoting and weeping.

He seems to really care.

Fine.

I’m not a big emoter and weeper myself, but I can deal with that. If Glenn Beck can appeal to women by emoting and weeping, I’m all for him.

But when I’ve listened to his radio show lately, I really can’t find much of value. I actually like his cohost quite a bit better than Beck. I don’t know what his name is. He’s a young guy who generally makes more sense than Beck has been making lately.

In my opinion, Glenn Beck is talking too much about religion — at least for me.

Sorry, I’m not a Mormon. I’m a traditional Christian. Sometimes I go to Catholic Mass. Sometimes I go to an evangelical Bible Church.

But to me, Mormonism makes no sense. I like most Mormons as individuals. But I’m not going to take spiritual advice from Mormons.

Also, when I tune into conservative talk radio, I want to hear about politics and what Obama is up to. I’m not looking for spiritual guidance.

I get spiritual guidance from the church I attend, also from books I read.

So Glenn Beck’s big push of late is to make a big deal about his Mormon faith and how he’s delivering Teddy Bears, Soccer Balls and, I guess, food and other necessities to the tens of thousands of Central American children who are showing up in U.S. border towns.

Fine. It’s a humanitarian crisis — created by Obama.

But that’s really the point, isn’t it?

The crisis is created intentionally by Obama to achieve his Open Border policy objectives. That is, to destroy the United States of America by transforming the electorate.

So we have this humanitarian crisis — created by Obama. And now we have Glenn Beck — the dupe that he is — lecturing us about how we have a Christian obligation to these children who Obama brought into the country.

Certainly we have a Christian obligation to do what we can for these children — to make sure they don’t starve, that they received medical care, that they aren’t killed or sold as sex slaves by gangs and cartels.

But then we need to send them home.

There really is no other solution, no other answer.

If we say, fine, all of you can stay here, this just sends the message out to the rest of the world that if you find a way to get to America, you can stay in America,

All you have to do is set foot on American soil (by hook or by crook) and you get to stay. You even get to become an American citizen.

You become a voter . . . for the Democratic Party.

And that’s really what all this is about, at least as far as Obama and the Democrats are concerned.

They are trying to create millions of new voters for the welfare state.

But even that’s not quite the point about Glenn Beck, is it?

What Glenn Beck is doing is feeding into the Obama propaganda machine.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself the following questions:

1) Do we have impoverished American citizens here at home we should be feeding and caring about first?

2) What about the people living in shacks in Appalachia or slums in the Bronx or Chicago’s Southside? Why aren’t they deserving of Glenn Beck’s food, diapers, soccer balls, and Teddy Bears?

3) Shouldn’t we be rushing emergency food to impoverished U.S. citizens and creating shelters for them (due to the Obama economy) before doing this for people from other countries?

4) Do we not have plenty of problems here in America before we start addressing the problems of people from other countries?

5) What is Glenn Beck’s stunt really all about? Why hasn’t he rushed trucks full of stuff to the Bronx or Chicago’s Southside? Why is he less concerned about impoverished Americans than impoverished Guatamalans?

Very strange. It makes no sense whatsover.

Basically, the answer is that he’s become a dupe for Obama.

I always say that when you see something really strange happening that can’t be explained by logic, follow the money.

Follow the money and you will find your answer.

Mormon Church-owned media is a massive enterprise that has consistently supported amnesty for illegal aliens. Glenn Beck is a product of the Mormon media enterprise.

Many business interests benefit from amnesty for illegal aliens. The Mormon Church’s public policy arm has been a dogged supporter of amnesty for illegal aliens.

And let’s not forget that the second most powerful man in America Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is a Mormon and is in a position to provide significant federal support and benefits to the Mormon Church.

So Glenn Beck, an outspoken Mormon convert, a product of the Mormon Church’s enormous sprawling worldwide media empire, has a clear financial interest in keeping his powerful and wealthy patrons in the Mormon leadership happy.

Glenn Beck’s media enterprise would not be anywhere near as big as it is now without the backing of the LDS church leadership — which fervently backs Amnesty.

Here’s a good paper on the Mormon Church leadership’s massive lobbying efforts for Amnesty >>>

As often happens throughout life, money trumps principle.  Money trumps the “rule of law.”

Business interests trump patriotism and love of country.

It’s all about the money.

This is a big problem with many church organizations — not just Mormon, but Christian churches even more so. The Catholic Church in America receives billions of dollars from the U.S. government. The largest protestant denominations also receive billions of dollars from the federal government.

Catholic Charities received $2.9 BILLION from the U.S. government in 2010 — more than half its budget. No doubt, this figure has increased since then.

That’s just one small arm of the Catholic Church. Who knows what the rest of the Catholic Church is receiving from Uncle Sam?

Billions more, no doubt.

The churches have been bought by the U.S. government, meaning bought now by Obama. He controls the cash.

In other words, so much for the “separation of church and state” principle.

The churches have been bought and corrupted by the federal government.

Even the National Association of Evangelicals is now supporting what Obama calls “Comprehensive Immigration Reform.”

Why?

Because either their most powerful members are getting lots of money from Uncle Sam. Or, they have a misunderstanding of Scripture.  I think the former.

World Vision, a member of the National Association of Evangelicals, receives $200,000,000 per year from the U.S. government. So they’d better keep playing ball with Obama to keep the money, favors and special treatment flowing from Uncle Sam.

The Bible celebrates hospitality. The Bible says we should be welcoming to strangers, travelers, foreigners. This is what we are hearing from the pro-amnesty propaganda machine.

But hospitality and care is a far cry from saying the stranger, the traveler, the alien, the foreigner should be able to just move into your home — permanently.

We want to help the homeless. But should the homeless just be able to move into and take over your home — permanently?

What exactly is ”Comprehensive Immigration Reform” anyway?

Basically, it’s amnesty and pretty much citizenship for the illegal aliens who are here now, then secure the border later.

That’s the promise.

But we now see how well that works.

If people know they can get amnesty (and soon U.S. citizenship) simply by setting foot on American soil, border security can’t work.  There’s always a way around, under, or over a border.

Amnesty undermines and destroys even the strongest, most secure border.

And without secure borders, we really aren’t a country anymore — just like if anyone can move into your home, you don’t really have a home.

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