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Sandy Hook, Slippery Slopes, and “Stupid Americans”


SIG552

SIG552 (Photo credit: ScaarAT)

I, like many Americans, did some serious soul-searching in the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy.  My wife, who is from Bogota, asked me why some stupid people are against banning the sale of automatic weapons.  I, being one of those “stupid people”, explained to her the concept of a slippery slope, where allowing laws banning one thing which seemed acceptable could easily lead to laws banning other things that were unacceptable.  She proclaimed that “Americans are Stupid”.

Americans are stupid, why can’t they just pass a law that they know is right without worrying about a new law that it might theoretically lead to?…Something about that statement made me start to think…

Why was the concept of a slippery slope so foreign to someone outside of our system?

What would happen if we didn’t have to worry about the American Court system and the Slippery Slope?

I am guessing that the majority of second amendment supporters would support laws banning Automatic weapons, high-capacity ammo clips, and require background checks in order to buy firearms.  However, because of the slippery slope arguments, gun-rights activists, politicians, and everyday citizens have to hold firm against any infringement that could lead to the deterioration of the second amendment…

I am guessing that the majority of pro-life people would support laws protecting abortion when the life of the mother is at risk, or when the abortion is due to a rape case, or when incest is involved.  However, because of the slippery slope arguments, pro-life activists, politicians and everyday citizens have to hold firm against any infringement that could lead to further deterioration of pro-life legislation.

I am guessing that the majority of fiscally conservative people would support allowing the tax rates to be raised on people making over a million dollars each year, as long as the government were to also rein in the unconstrained spending habits that we have developed since the New Deal.  However, because of the slippery slope arguments, anti-tax activists, politicians, and everyday citizens have to hold firm against any infringement on their views that could lead to higher taxes for all Americans in the future.

I am guessing that the majority of people believe that two life-long homosexual partners living as a couple should get the same health benefits, power of attorney, and funeral rights as married people get.  However, because of the slippery slope arguments, anti-gay marriage activists, politicians, and everyday citizens have to hold firm against any leniency in the gay rights arena or else gay marriage might wind up being legal in every state.

Before I wrap up, I just want to make this clear:  I am as conservative as they come, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything that I am writing, but I understand that common sense should be more important than political stances…

In the loving memory of 20 innocent children, and several innocent adults, could we all make a Christmas vow of common sense?  Put away the slippery slope arguments, put away the stringent stances, and pass some common sense legislation…

How about we start with passing some laws that will allow for abortions in instances of rape without the rape victim being subjected to humiliation and “education” programs?  Can we all agree that this would be a good law?

How about we start with passing some laws that allow for increasing taxes on those people making over a million dollars a year, as long as we also cut spending?  Can we all agree that this would be a good policy?

How about we start by making sure that two people who have shared a lifetime of love be allowed at each other’s deathbed?  Can we all agree that this would be a good policy?

If all of us “stupid Americans” can’t agree on those….then how about this:

How about we start with passing some laws that will stop letting mass murderers legally purchase guns that can fire dozens of times without being reloaded?  Can we all agree that this would be a good law?

If Sandy Hook has a living legacy….let it be that it forced Americans to stop being so stupid…

Let’s pass some common sense legislation on hot-button issues and move from a culture terrified of the slippery slope, towards a culture who attempts to find common ground even on the most controversial subjects.  I am one writing to you as one passionate American who will pledge to put my slippery slope fears aside and vote for what is right…

Will you?

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It Is Time For America To Relearn The ABC’s – Always Be Cutting!


Tax

Tax (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

In the wake of a $16 Trillion dollar debt that is growing every day, a congress who refuses to say no to spending, and a tide of politicians who want to increase taxes so that they can justify going even deeper into debt….it is time for a change!

Americans need to embrace a new view of government…a much smaller view.

Politicians need to revolutionize how they look at our government, and it all starts by re-learning the ABC’s.

A – Always

B – Be

C – Cutting

We need to take this mantra to the Federal Government, every State Government, all the way down to our Local Governments.

We need to CUT the size of Government!

We need to CUT taxes!

We need to CUT the debt!

We need to CUT spending!

We need to CUT needless regulations!

We need to CUT Foreign Aid during our recession!

If we replace our elected officials with legislators with this mindset, we will soon see this tide of irresponsibility begin to turn.

Balancing our budget will no longer be considered “extreme” politics.

Our paychecks will start going towards helping our families, rather than paying China back for the interest on our National Debt.

Government will be relegated to serving and protecting the people, rather than participating in the race to bring home the bacon to their own states.

Businesses will be free to use their hard-earned money to drive new innovation, new products, at better costs….rather than using that same money to comply with regulations that add no value to the consumer or the economy.

If you believe in this message, please share it with EVERY single one of your friends and family.  This is that important.  America is at a key crossroads in our history.  We can either relearn our ABC’s, or we will very soon find out that it is too late to turn this ship around.

SHARE this article TODAY!

Time to Turn Michigan’s POUT upside down!


Michigan State Capitol with a statue of Austin...

Michigan State Capitol with a statue of Austin Blair in the foreground. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Buried in the State Budget Solutions 2011 Rankings, there were some scary facts for the State of Michigan:

P erformance – We were ranked 50th in the country

O utlook – We were ranked 25th in the country

U nemployment Loans – We were ranked 27th in the country

T otal Debt Including Pensions – We were ranked 42nd in the country

This is not a healthy ranking for the State of Michigan, but how do we go about turning this POUT upside down?  Here are some ideas:

Target 480 Plan – Recruit Fortune 500 Companies To Come To Michigan

https://toddhagopian.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/michigan-politics-target-480-plan/

Triple Zero Plan – Repeal the Gas Tax, The Corporate Tax, and The State Property Tax

https://toddhagopian.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/michigan-politics-triple-zero-plan/

Implement A Right-To-Work Legislation – Either Federal Legislation, or state-specific legislation

https://toddhagopian.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/please-sign-this-petition-to-enact-a-federal-right-to-work-law/

Repeal The Gas Tax – Preferably the Federal & State Gas Tax

https://toddhagopian.wordpress.com/2012/09/01/please-sign-this-petition-to-repeal-the-gas-tax/

Attention Chicago Teachers: Go Back To Work!


English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA.

English: in Chicago, Illinois, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Chicago has a graduation rate of only 56% versus the National Average of over 75%.  Only 15% of 4th graders in Chicago can read, which compares to 34% Nationally.  Despite these facts, Chicago teachers are paid an average of $71,000 each year, which is 25% above the National Average.  For those keeping score, this means that the teachers are vastly under-performing, and are drastically overpaid.  If you were to say that their salary should be linked to their graduation rate & 4th grade literacy rate vs. the National Average, these teachers would have to take over a 50% pay cut just to be fairly compensated against the performance of their peers!

Instead of offering them a 50% pay cut so that they could be fairly compensated, they were offered a 16% pay raise over the next four years, but they turned it down because they want a 30% pay raise…This would mean that these teachers would make an average salary of $92,000.  What would Chicago get?  Well, as with other jobs in this country, the teachers had to promise to increase the graduation rate above 56% and they had to increase the percentage of 4th graders who can read…Right?  Right?  Right?

WRONG!

350,000 young students, who already are less likely to read or graduate because of the state of their public schools and the quality of their teachers, are now missing more school so that these teachers can demand a larger raise than anyone deserves when promising to add no additional value.  In the real (non-union) world, we need to show what value we are going to add to a corporation before demanding a raise.  If we don’t get a raise, we can choose to either work harder and try again, or leave the company.  Neither of those options directly hurts 350,000 students…If they did, can you seriously see yourself ever negatively impacting 350,000 kids so that you could become even more overpaid than you already were?

This is an unnecessary, but very telling, strike at a key time in our country’s history.  After the unions sank the Big Three, helped drive us into the Great Recession, and continue to hammer companies as we struggle to get out of it, the teacher strike shows exactly how unreasonable most union negotiations wind up being.  Call a Chicago teacher today and tell them to get back to work, teach those kids to read, get them off the street, and get them through to graduation…That’s what they get paid for.

If not, then we need to look at our other options for schooling in this country, including charter school programs, and pick-your-own-district programs.  Otherwise, these school unions will be affecting a city near you soon.  Share this with your friends & family, and tell me what you think about the issue.

Foreign Aid: The Real Story On How Much It Costs


Libyan Protesters Demand Security in Tripoli

Libyan Protesters Demand Security in Tripoli (Photo credit: United Nations Photo)

Over $1,000 per Federal Tax-paying Household goes to Foreign Aid every single year.  That is a fact.

The Liberal media enjoys calling attention to the fact that Foreign Aid only makes up 1% of the National budget.  They like to ignore the fact that Foreign Aid has been going up drastically ever since our economy has been collapsing.  Our government has decided that now is the best time to send money abroad, rather than use it at home.  They also fail to mention the fact that Foreign Aid would be much more than 1% of the National budget if the National budget was as small as it should be!  We are adding trillions of dollars to the National Debt per year, so assessing different programs as a percent of the National Budget is just a shell game to make everything look small so that you won’t realize how quickly the numbers add up.

Now that we are knee-deep in the Great Recession, we need to look at every expenditure and justify it.  So…how do we justify things like…

Foreign Aid has grown over 300% over the last ten years…while the economy has been declining

We gave Afghanistan over $11 billion in 2010

We have Pakistan almost $3 billion in 2010

We gave Israel almost $3 billion in 2010

We gave Iraq over $2 billion in 2010

Egypt and Haiti also got over $1 billion

How do we justify all of this spending when we are so broke at home?  I am not arguing that we should knock it down to zero.  I am simply arguing that our Foreign Aid should not be rising 300% during a time when we have had terrorist attacks, wars, and a Great Recession to deal with.  That, in my opinion, is irresponsible government.  What do you guys think?  We would love to hear from you.  Share this with your friends and family, and encourage them to share their thoughts.  Enjoy!

President Obama has NOT created 4.5 Million new jobs – Get The Facts Here!


English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the...

English: Barack Obama delivers a speech at the University of Southern California (Video of the speech) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The news coming out of the Democratic National convention, as usual, made me a little sick to my stomach.  I always try to just tune out for a week, and not get too worked up, because both parties get a little inflammatory during convention time and tend to start exaggerating.  The only claim that irked me enough to write an article about is this claim that President Obama has created 4.5 Million jobs.  Hours after the claim emerged, a claim which was repeated in convention speeches by Julian Castro, Deval Patrick, and Rahm Emanuel, dozens of fact-checking organizations had already refuted the claim.  Why?  Because it is a flat-out lie.  Here are the facts:

President Obama’s Starting Figure:  133.6 Million Jobs

Current Figure:  133.2 Million Jobs

Change:  LOSS of 0.4 Million Jobs

Fact:  The Unemployment rate was approximately 7.8% when President Obama took office and now it is over 8%.

In order to hit the 4.5 Million figure, Democrats are doing multiple unethical things all at once (not entirely unusual).

First, they are only counting private sector jobs, because apparently the 20+ million people who work in jobs labeled as “Public Sector” don’t matter…

Second, using that incorrect measure, they are still only counting the lowest figure during Obama’s Presidency as the starting point (January 2010), because apparently President Obama denies responsibility for the entire first year of his presidency (don’t you wish we all could deny responsibility for the whole first year when we start a new job because everything was the old guy’s fault?)

Here are the facts:  President Obama has created 4.5 Million new private sector jobs since January 2010.  Why didn’t they just say that rather than lying about his record?  Because they were on national television…and they wanted to mislead the public.  It is the strategy that almost every politician employs during debates, since they know people are watching and no one will read the fact-check stories later.

The bottom line is that the unemployment rate is higher than the day he took office.  His own Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors promised that unemployment would never reach 8%…It has been 8% for around two years and is still over 8% today.

Conclusion:  His Numbers Are Wrong….His Promises Were Broken…The Dems should stop lying on National TV.

Go ahead and run on the economy if you all want to….You will lose!

 

Tort Reform: Make The Loser Pay!


Money

Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

I break from my party a bit on Tort Reform, as I don’t believe that we should limit the amount that someone sues for, just like I don’t think we should have blanket statements in the criminal justice field that says there should be no death penalty.  Bad things happen when you make rules like this…Suddenly, some guy in Norway comes around and kills 77 children, but since you limited the court’s options, he will only serve 21 years in jail…As soon as we limit the amount someone can sue for, ten cases will pop up where everyone in the country agrees they should have been allowed to sue for more, and the law will fall apart (because our Congress will fold like a piece of laundry).

I am a big fan of tackling the problem, not a side-effect of the problem, so let’s figure out what the actual problem is in this situation:

If someone brings a lawsuit against a doctor today, he could spend hundreds of thousands of dollars defending himself.  Unfortunately, when the Doctor finally prevails, he is still out hundreds of thousands of dollars.  This is one of the main reasons that Healthcare costs so much in this country.  The Insurance premiums are outrageous because of how expensive it is when Doctors get sued.  Lawyers make a killing on fees, and the Doctors still lose all of this money…EVEN WHEN THEY WIN!

Now, what would be even more effective than limiting the amount that someone sues for?  How about this interesting idea…

Make The Loser Pay!

By making the loser pay for all of the fees of the winner, many things get accomplished.

First, there will be far less frivolous lawsuits.  People are unlikely to put their hard-earned money on the line to sue someone who really didn’t do anything wrong, whereas today they can sue with no consequences whatsoever.

Second, Class Action lawsuits would be reduced, and only the ones with the most merit will go forward.  Today, there are tons of Class Action Lawyers who comb the news online every day just looking for major companies that they can convince 10,000 people to sue at once.  They sue the company, convince the company to settle for $10 Million.  In this case, each person would get just under $700, the company would lose $10 Million, and the lawyers would get $3 Million!  Is this fair?  Should a lawyer really get over 4,000 times as much as the person who was actually harmed in the lawsuit?  By Making The Loser Pay, the lawyers would have to ensure that they had a good case because companies would be more inclined to fight cases that they thought they could win.

Lastly, it will lighten the load on today’s court system.  You will get called for jury duty less often, the government will spend less money, and companies can invest the millions of dollars that they set aside each year for court cases back into the economy.  The money those businesses save will be invested back into the innovative solutions that will help save our economy from the Great Recession.

Please share this article with your friends and family, and let them know that there are innovative solutions out there if we care enough to push for them.  Thanks!

Michigan Politics: Target 480 Plan


Michigan has long been home to some of the largest companies in the country.  In fact, we have 20 Fortune 500 companies right here in our great state.  Unfortunately, the average age of Michigan’s collection of Fortune 500 companies is over 80 years old.  Most of these companies have been here a long time, and we have not attracted interest from new industries in decades.  Michigan needs to start an aggressive campaign to lure more Fortune 500 companies to the state.  The Target 480 plan outlines that by cutting three key economic development programs, and funneling that money back into an aggressive campaign to attract new large employers, the state can solidify ourselves as the key place to do business in the Midwest.

By eliminating the MEDC, MEGA, and 21st Century Jobs programs, the state would save approximately $75 Million each and every year.  This could have an enormous affect on the economy.  For example, a few years back, Granholm announced that one major Fortune 500 company stayed in Michigan due to $19 Million in tax breaks over the next five years.  Michigan could cut 19 more deals just like this one…every single year. Even better, instead of fighting to keep companies, we could be out aggressively trying to draw in new companies every single year.  Just as a quick reference point, if Michigan was able to overpay and focus on bringing in just five new Fortune 500 companies each year, we would double our total Fortune 500 presence within one Gubernatorial term.

Why is this important?  Fortune 500 companies bring with them tons of jobs, lots of new suppliers, new support businesses (consultants, etc), as well as plenty of new businesses around their headquarters.  By focusing on bringing new huge businesses to Michigan, you will spur a massive amount of new small businesses looking to profit off of the new industries that enter the state.  You will also drive a huge amount of money into the local economies that draw the corporations in.  This is a relatively high-level, simple to understand plan that outlines how we can change our focus in this state, so that we can draw in large, influential companies that will help pull us out of this recession faster.  If you combine that with the Triple Zero Plan (https://toddhagopian.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/michigan-politics-triple-zero-plan/) which outlines how we can eliminate the Business Tax altogether, and this job of recruiting new Fortune 500 companies becomes even easier.

Follow me @ToddHagopian for more creative ideas on how we can help turn Michigan around, and share this blog post with your friends and family.  Thanks!

Michigan Politics: Triple Zero Plan


budget

budget (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

In order for Michigan to turn itself around, we need an aggressive strategy to drive more money into the economy on a daily basis.  The first step should be to outline a series of tax reductions that will help every single person in the state, regardless of their situation.  The Triple Zero plan outlines how eliminating the Gas Tax, the Business Income Tax, and the State Property Tax would drastically help boost the economy from day 1.

1)      Eliminate the Gas Tax

  1. Gasoline prices are one of the main drivers of the economy.  Typically, when the economy slows down, gas prices fall. Unfortunately, during the Great Recession, this has not been the case.  By eliminating the Gas Tax, people would instantly pay almost 40 cents less for every gallon that they purchase. This money is small enough on a weekly basis that it would get recycled right back into the economy, providing boosts to local businesses.  The elimination of this tax would help every single person who owns a car, as well as all municipalities who run public transportation programs.

2)      Eliminate the Business Tax

  1. Businesses do not invest during recessions.  Consumer Confidence is down, they don’t know when the economy will turn around, and they typically are having trouble keeping up with their bills.  They don’t invest in jobs, they don’t invest in innovation, and they raise prices of their products/services.  By eliminating the Business Tax entirely, you will give businesses the additional money they need to keep prices steady, hire more people, and invest in the innovation that will help bring about the next economic boom.  Eliminating this tax would help every single business in the state, as well as help drive new businesses to want to leave other states and settle in Michigan.

3)      Eliminate the State Property Tax

  1. Michigan has been one of the hardest hit states in Foreclosures and underwater mortgages.  Yet, the state still charges a hidden property tax (above and beyond what your local municipality charges).  This state will never recover without at least a partial recovery of the housing sector.  By eliminating this tax, you would be putting money back into the homeowner’s hands, lowering the foreclosure rate, and driving Michigan Home Prices upward.

Due to the fact that states have to balance their budgets, we need to decrease spending in order to decrease taxes.  The good news is that the three taxes I have outlined for elimination only make up 14% of the states revenue.  This means that the state will have to cut their budget by 14%, something that almost every single business has had to do during the Great Recession.  By eliminating programs, wasteful spending, and over-regulation, Michigan can eliminate over 14% of its expenditures and make room for these three tax cuts which will drive money back into the economy, increase job openings, raise home prices, and help Michigan emerge from this recession as a stronger, leaner state.

Please share this article with your friends and family in Michigan to help spread awareness on how the Triple Zero plan can help lead us back to prosperity.

Follow me @ToddHagopian for more creative ideas on how we can help turn Michigan around, and share this blog post with your friends and family.  Thanks!

Two Things Congress Must Get Done In Order To Get This Economy Going Again!


Over-Regulation is costing the American Public an enormous amount of money.  The costs of these regulations are coming out of the pockets of our small business owners, limiting new business investments, stalling innovation, and keeping this economy buried in the Great Recession.

The total cost of regulations cost the American Economy over $1.75 Trillion dollars each year.  To put that into perspective, ObamaCare is supposed to cost the taxpayers $2.6 Trillion over the next decade, which pales in comparison to the almost $20 Trillion that regulations will cost the American Economy over the exact same period of time.  Conclusion:  Costly over-regulation is set to cost over 500% more than ObamaCare.  What is worse than that?  Most, if not all, of these regulations are never voted on, and are put in place by bureaucrats who have never been elected.

How can we fix this problem?

Who can step in and save the day, eliminate needless regulations, and stop the government from continuing to expand at an alarming rate?

The answer is Congress…Now that you have all let out a groan, since we know that Congress is the last group of people we would ever want to depend on for a task this important, let’s look at the simple steps they could take to take on this issue today.

1)       Use the power they already have:  The 1996 Congressional Review Act allows Congress to review and veto any regulation put in place by the Executive Branch.  This Act is almost never enforced, yet Republicans could block every new regulation that Obama and Co. try to put in place if they wanted.  Republicans need to read this Act (I know…unlikely….but a guy can dream, can’t he?) and enforce this act over and over until the Executive Branch stops trying to force new regulations down our throats.

2)      Vote the REINS Act into place.  Senator Rand Paul has tried to push this legislation, which would make it a law that Congress would have to vote on, and pass, any new regulation that would have over a $100 million impact on the economy.  This would stop bureaucrats who have never been elected from having hundreds of millions of dollars worth of negative impacts on our economy every single year.

Why is this issue so important?  As departments of the government get larger and larger, so do their proposals and regulations.  For example, the most strict ozone regulations, which are currently being considered by the Obama Administration, would cost the American Economy over 7 million jobs and over $1 Trillion dollars a year between 2020 and 2030…

There is another $10 Trillion reasons that this issue is so important…and that is JUST ONE regulation.

Forward and share this with your friends, spread the word on how much over-regulation is costing the taxpayers, and fight to hold your congress accountable to do their jobs and reverse this problem today!

 

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