Blog Archives

How Michael Bloomberg Can Win Only 3 States, and Still Become Your Next President!


Michael Bloomberg is currently evaluating an independent run in the 2016 presidential race, and is willing to spend up to one billion dollars to win the election. Popular wisdom would say that it would be nearly impossible for a third-party candidate to win a General Election. The rumor is that if Donald Trump, and Bernie Sanders, win the Nominations, Bloomberg would run as the only pro-gun control candidate, and would run a nationwide campaign to win the Presidency. I am going to lay out a way where Hillary Clinton could go up against Donald Trump (much more likely scenario), where Bloomberg could spend far less money, win only three states, and still become the next President of the United States of America.

A little known fact, since we have not had a really serious third-party candidate in some time, is that if no candidate meets the 270 electoral vote threshold, the election will be decided by the House of Representatives. An even lesser known fact, is how that secondary election works. Basically, the top three finishers in the Presidential election will enter this House of Representatives Election. Currently, there are 246 Republicans, and 188 Democrats in the House of Representatives, but the secondary election is not nearly that simple. Each state gets only one vote in this special election, meaning Delaware has the same amount of voting power as California. The House votes, and each state delegation gets one single vote, a Candidate needs 26 votes to win. If no candidate gets 26 votes, then another vote will be taken…over, and over, again until someone gets 26 votes. Currently, if the House of Representative delegations voted based on party lines, there would be 33 votes for republican, 15 votes for democrats and 3 votes with evenly split delegations.

How does this lead to Michael Bloomberg winning only three states, and being elected as our next President?

First of all, Donald Trump (who, as a constitutional conservative, I will never support) will need to win the Republican Nomination. Hillary Clinton will need to win the Democratic Nomination. Donald Trump, and Hillary Clinton, will enter the General Election as the two candidates with the highest unfavorable ratings in the history of Presidential Politics. Unfortunately for Donald Trump, one large group who hates both of them are the constitutional conservative base of the Republican party. Very much like what we saw with McCain, and Romney, Republicans will lose all of the swing states if the conservative base stays home.  In a nutshell, the Democratic Candidate is likely to win all of the swing states, and walk away with the election if Donald Trump were to run against them, with no significant 3rd party opposition. If Bloomberg were to run in all 50 states, conventional wisdom is that he would likely siphon off more votes from the Democrats, than from the Republicans. In a year where both the Republican and Democratic candidates have high unfavorable ratings, this would set up a politically-intriguing, wild-west, 31-way showdown for the Presidency…But, this is not his smartest move.

The smartest move Bloomberg could make is to run in just three states: New York, New Jersey, and California. If Bloomberg were to get on the ballot in just these 3 states, he would force the Republican and Democrats to continue to spend most of their money trying to win the key swing states, while Bloomberg could focus his one billion dollar campaign war chest on winning just these 3 states, and their 98 electoral votes. By not getting on the ballot in the other 47 states, he would maintain the Electoral College equilibrium, each of the candidates would win the states that they are supposed to, and Hillary Clinton would beat Donald Trump in the swing states. This will stop Donald Trump from capturing the 270 Electoral votes that he would need to become the next President of the United States.

Why should Bloomberg get on the ballot in these three states? These states are all huge gun control states, which would play right into Bloomberg’s hands, and winning these consistently Democratic states would allow him to stop the Democratic Nominee from capturing 270 Electoral votes. On top of that, Bloomberg would get far more than the 2 million votes likely needed to become the third largest vote-getting in the 2016 Presidential Election, which would qualify him for the secondary election inside the House of Representatives after both major nominees fail to meet the 270 Electoral Vote requirement, even without getting ballot access throughout the rest of the country.

We will put those three states aside for a moment, and assume that the 2016 Presidential Election goes into the secondary election within the House of Representatives. As I mentioned, there are 33 states with Republican delegations, so won’t they just vote for Donald Trump? Well, only 1 of 435 current congressmen have endorsed him so far, and he rails against their ineffectiveness (as he bashes them all for being establishment) every single chance he gets. After he alienates the conservative base, and they don’t show up to the polls in November, a number of the conservative republicans will lose their seats, potentially along with their Republican majority. In short, there will be a lot of angry Republican congressmen who blame Trump for how badly this election went for the Republicans, and will be looking for a way to punish him, without electing a Democrat. Bloomberg offers them a chance to elect a fiscally conservative former Republican, instead of electing a former Liberal Democrat who just lost them control of the House of Representatives.

There is literally no chance that the Democratic candidate can win 26 votes, as Republican delegations will never be able to look their constituents in the face again after voting for a Liberal Icon. There are only 15 states with Democratic constituencies, which leaves them 11 short of the 26 state requirement to have their candidate elected. Let’s assume all of the Republican delegations split evenly between Bloomberg and Trump (best case scenario for the Democrats), the Democratic candidate would still only secure 22 states, which means there is virtually no reason for Democrats in Congress to back their own nominee, when they could flip their support to Bloomberg and be part of the larger group who could say that they ended Trump’s hopes of the Presidency.

Bloomberg would need 26 state delegations to back him in the secondary election in order to get elected President. An important part of this plan, is that the 15 states with Democratic delegations realize that their candidate cannot possibly win, and resolve to vote for Bloomberg, since he would be better for them than Trump. In an interesting twist, the smaller state congressmen actually have the most power during this entire process. For example, Congressman Kevin Cramer, the only congressman in North Dakota, has as much power as the 38 congressmen in Texas combined.  If Representative Cramer votes for Bloomberg, he wins the state, it’s that simple.  If the Democrats back Bloomberg, there are 17 states with Republican (or evenly split) delegations who would only need 2 (or less) Republican congressmen to back Bloomberg, instead of Trump, in order to win that state’s vote. That is more than enough, alone, to hand the Presidency to Bloomberg. Less than 30 Republican Congressmen could wind up handing the Presidency directly to Michael Bloomberg after he wins only three states. That said, I would actually anticipate many of the larger delegations to swing in his favor, after Trump spends the rest of the year alienating the “Establishment”, helping make incumbent Republican’s lives difficult, and after he moves further to the middle after he wins the nomination.

Bloomberg, of course, is a polarizing figure among Republicans, so this is not a slam dunk. Republican Congressmen would need a very good reason to hand the Presidency to someone who is not the Republican Nominee. I believe that between Trump’s polarizing statements, his tax returns, the Trump University Fraud case, and other misstatements that he makes throughout the campaign, will be enough to drive a wedge between him and the sitting Congress. Of course, there is one wild card in this plan. The whole reason that these three states are ideal for Bloomberg to win is because of his strong support of gun control. There would be a huge push by the NRA to pressure its members to vote against Bloomberg as President. The NRA is extremely influential within the Republican congress, and it would be hard for them to vote for an anti-NRA nominee. This is probably the largest roadblock that he would have in order to execute this plan.

Bloomberg will need to name a pro-gun, pro-life VP, to show that he wants both sides represented in every policy debate in Washington. This will send a message to conservatives that he is serious about listening to their concerns on social issues. In the end, whoever Trump picks as his VP candidate would win the VP election (not covered here, but the Senate would vote separately for the VP among the top two candidates, rendering Bloomberg’s VP choice essentially meaningless). Conservatives will be able to sleep well knowing that Trump’s strong pro-gun, pro-life VP will keep Bloomberg in check, and Bloomberg will have to make promises to make the new VP extremely active in policy decisions. Conservative Republicans will argue that they need a proven fiscal conservative, who helped turn around New York City after 9/11. They will be able to look their constituents in the eyes, say they stopped the nightmare of a Trump Presidency, while still putting a fiscally conservative businessman into the White House. Bloomberg would be able to spend one billion dollars in just three states, and capture the first presidency decided by the House of Representatives in over 100 years.

2016 Presidential Election Preview: Grading The Top 11 Potential Republican Presidential Candidates


Here is a look at the best 11 candidates that the Republican Party has to offer. I have graded them based on their social views, fiscal views, potential grassroots momentum, potential establishment support, their total candidate grade, their likelihood of winning the primary, and their overall likelihood of winning the general election.

Please feel free to discuss/argue/debate my opinions in the comment section, I would love to dive deep on each of these candidates before I decide who to endorse, and I want to hear from you folks!

 

Mike Huckabee

Background: Former Arkansas Governor, Former Preacher, Former Television host

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, moderate on Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports the Fair Tax, and fiscal reform

Grassroots Momentum: A – Fox News Republican base would get behind him, so would Evangelicals

Establishment Support: C – Backed out to let Mitt take the nomination, some will respect that

Total Candidate Grade: A- – Great candidate if he decides to run, needs to declare early and run hard

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 16%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 8%

 

Jeb Bush

Background: Former Florida Governor, George Walker Bush’s Brother, George HW Bush’s Son

Social Issues: B – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment. Moderate on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: D – Willing to negotiate on taxes, careful entitlement reform, big spender

Grassroots Momentum: B – Big brand name, moderates in the party will rally behind him in primary

Establishment Support: A – GOP looking for best chance to win moderates will rally around Jeb

Total Candidate Grade: B+ – Swing State Gov + moderate on immigration/entitlement + big spender

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 15%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 7%

 

 

Rick Perry

Background: 4-Term Texas Governor

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, Crime, Immigration, and the 2nd Amendment

Fiscal Issues: A – Called Social Security a Ponzi Scheme, supports the balanced budget amendment

Grassroots Momentum: B – Republicans like Texas Republicans, and he is right on the issues

Establishment Support: D – Needs to shed the “dumb” label from 2012, but can overcome that

Total Candidate Grade: B – Needs to convince people he is intelligent, but he has the whole package

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 14%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%

 

 

Marco Rubio

Background: Florida Senator

Social Issues: B – Strong on gun rights, and crime, moderate on Immigration and abortion.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on tax reform, entitlement reform, and good on budget issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Latino candidate that people can believe in, could unite party

Establishment Support: B – Strong choice if Jeb is out and Dems are leaning towards Hillary

Total Candidate Grade: B- – Swing State Senator on the right side of every issue for mainstream America

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 11%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 6%

 

Scott Walker

Background: Wisconsin Governor

Social Issues: C – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime, and weak on Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: B+ – Union Buster, strong on budget, light experience on federal fiscal issues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Anti-union crowd hero, survived Recall vote, strong candidate

Establishment Support: A – Fiscal Conservative with good track record, could gain momentum

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – Swing State Governor with guts/determination, don’t count him out

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 9%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

Rand Paul

Background: Kentucky Senator, Former Doctor

Social Issues: B+ – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, moderate on Crime and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Strong on reducing spending, entitlement reform, and endorses the flat-tax

Grassroots Momentum: A – Daddy’s fans, plus he won a lot of support with his filibusters

Establishment Support: B – Reasonably conservative candidate with a brand name and moderate ideas

Total Candidate Grade: C+ – He would be #1 here if he was a governor with 4+ years of experience…

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

Paul Ryan

Background: Wisconsin Representative

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Advanced multiple balanced budgets to congress looking for 5+% bump in revenues

Grassroots Momentum: B – Lots of name recognition, newest budget talks could spark discussion

Establishment Support: B – Lots of establishment money spent on Romeny/Ryan, could continue

Total Candidate Grade: C- – Swing State Representative with budget chops, could leverage debt crisis

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 8%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 5%

 

John Kasich

Background: Ohio Governor, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Would build momentum if he can tell his balanced budget story

Establishment Support: D – Very little support in 2000, he would need to improve on fundraising

Total Candidate Grade: D – Swing State Governor with top-rate credentials, just needs to raise cash

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 3%

 

Chris Christie

Background: New Jersey Governor, former US Attorney, former Lobbyist

Social Issues: D – Flip-flopped on Abortion, semi-weak on immigration, very weak on 2nd amendment

Fiscal Issues: C – Good on tax reform, great on entitlement reform, weak on replacing taxes with fees

Grassroots Momentum: B – BridgeGate slowed down the momentum, but still has a lot of fans

Establishment Support: B – Well known, lots of wall street money behind him, good establishment choice

Total Candidate Grade: D- – Primary will be tough, lots of baggage to overcome, no huge upside

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 6%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 2%

 

Rick Santorum

Background: Former Pennsylvania Senator, Former Representative

Social Issues: A- – Strong on Abortion, Crime, and the 2nd Amendment, and Immigration

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports lower taxes, lower spending, and entitlement reform

Grassroots Momentum: B – Some fans left from 2012, but his fan base will always be limited

Establishment Support: C – Fought Mitt to the end, wasting his money, people will not appreciate that

Total Candidate Grade: E – Strong conservative with little chance of winning the entire election

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 3%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%

 

Ted Cruz

Background: Texas Senator

Social Issues: A – Strong on Abortion, gun rights, Crime, and Immigration.

Fiscal Issues: A – Supports single-rate tax, entitlement reform, and smaller government.

Grassroots Momentum: A – Hardcore Republicans love him, he will have a following

Establishment Support: D – Never met anyone who thinks he can actually win the nomination

Total Candidate Grade: F – Newby who has a reputation for being extreme, no name recognition

Likelihood of Winning the Primary: 2%

Likelihood of Winning the Election: 1%

 

How would a CEO fix America?


CEOs are overpaid, profit-hungry, shareholder-beholden, monsters of society….Right?  Right?  Right?

But, have you ever thought about how a CEO might tackle America’s budget issues?

Certainly, a company with America’s track record would have gone bankrupt years ago.  Shareholders would have expected that the company would have brought in a brilliant CEO mind to engineer a turnaround by now…But, what would that CEO do if they had to turn this ship around?

Here is the answer, brought to you straight from CEO 101:

1)       Cut fixed costs

2)      Increase prices

3)      Institute a poison pill

4)      Sell off unprofitable assets

5)      Pay down debt, increase cash flow

 

1)  Cut Fixed Costs

This is a must-have in any business turnaround.  You must first cut down our fixed costs, so that when you manage to increase revenue, the effect is exponential.  In order to cut costs, America would need to reduce its federal salaries, and entitlement programs immediately.  Programs like Social Security, Medicare, Welfare, along with federal government salaries, account for around 60% of the annual budget.  By cutting these programs/salaries by 15%, the United States would save around $315 billion/year.

2)  Increase Prices

The Federal Government collects approximately $2.77 Trillion in tax revenue each year.  If the Federal Government were to increase tax collections by 15%, they would net an additional $415 Billion/year.  One could spend years arguing the best way to administer this tax increase, but let’s assume that since over 50% of people don’t pay federal income tax, and 10% of people can afford to pay more, that we find some solution that makes it so everyone can survive while letting the government keep its head above water.

3)  Institute a “Poison Pill”

Many Corporations institute poison pill initiatives, to ward off competitors with evil agendas.  The United States should do the same.  Instead of Obama’s plan, which decimates the military, we should look to strengthen the military while cutting in all other areas.  By cutting the Nuclear Arsenal, while cutting some new weapons systems, and reforming command, support, and infrastructure, the armed forces could save approximately $500 Billion over the next ten years, or $50 Billion/year.  Today, we spend about $150 Billion/year on salaries for around 1.4 million soldiers.  If we reinvested the $50 Billion/year into more soldiers, we would be sitting at over 2 million soldiers, which would put us on par with China as the world’s largest military.  In one budgetary move, we could provide employment to 800,000 Americans, and put ourselves back on the map as the world’s largest military in a revenue-neutral move.

4)      Sell off unprofitable assets & defund unprofitable business units

The Federal Government owns approximately 650 million acres of land, appraised at around $2000/acre, equals a sum of $1.3 Trillion.  If the government were to unload the worst 33% of the land, it would net around $400 Billion, along with lowering expenses significantly.

We spend over $70 Billion/year in foreign aid, $17 Billion/year on NASA, $30 Billion/year in agriculture subsidies, $48 Billion/year on the department of education, and $13 Billion/year for the IRS.  That would total about $175 Billion/year.

5)      Pay Down Debt

We spend about $415 Billion/year in interest on your national debt.  By making the aforementioned cuts, we would save approximately $900 Billion/year.  This would allow us to pay off around $350 Billion of National Debt each year, which would account for an additional $10 Billion/year in interest expense.

Where would we be if the Government took these steps?

Today, we stand at $17.75 Trillion in debt.  If the Federal Government took these steps, we would reduce the debt by $360 Billion/year.  Even with this dramatic effort, we would still likely not be debt-free for approximately 50 years.

Clearly, it is time that we bring in a “fixer” who can set this country on the right path.  While 50 years is a long time to recover, it is better than the trajectory that we are on.  There are many things that can speed up the recovery, such as entitlement reform/dismissal, or temporary tax spikes, but the overall goal needs to be having a smaller central Government with less taxes and less fixed costs going forward.

How to beat a Liberal in an argument: Debunking the 5 biggest myths about minimum wage workers


As 13 states plan to increase their minimum wage in 2014, I thought it would be a good time to debunk five of the most common minimum wage increase arguments that your Liberal friends are likely to throw at you this year:

Myth #1:  “Tons of families are affected by raising the minimum wage”

Fact:  Only 1% of hourly-wage workers in America are married people making minimum wage

Myth #2:  “Most min. wage workers are working two jobs, tons of hours, and can’t make ends meet”

Fact:  Only 2.6% of minimum wage workers are working over 40 hours/week

 

Myth #3:  “Young workers make up a tiny part of total minimum wage workers”

Fact:  People under the age of 24 make up over 50% of all minimum wage workers

 

Myth #4:  “Minorities are hurt more by low minimum wages than white people”

Fact:  White people make up 79% of hourly-rate employees, and 78% of min. wage employees

 

Myth #5:  “Over 3 million people make the minimum wage”

Fact*:  Only 1.6 million people actually make minimum wage, the rest make tips on top of their wage, but are included in the min. wage numbers that Liberals love to quote

 

*Author’s Note:  I used the 3.5M figure for all previous stats, so that you could still make apples to apples arguments with your Liberal Friends

2013 Fast Food Workers Strike 1

2013 Fast Food Workers Strike 1 (Photo credit: Stephen D. Melkisethian)

ObamaCare – 5 Biggest Lies Told To Pass This Law, and to Reelect The President


Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Affordable Care Act, or ObamaCare, will turn out to be one of the most controversial laws in the history of the United States.  President Obama managed to win a second term based on all of the promises made surrounding ObamaCare, and those promises are rapidly being broken before the law is even fully-implemented.

Here are the five biggest lies that the President told in order to get this law passed, and in order to get reelected:

“If you like your insurance, you can keep it.”

15 million people have lost their insurance.  But, that is not even the biggest part of this lie.  It is estimated that over 100 million people will have their current policies altered by their employers due to ObamaCare changes, which means almost no one gets to keep the insurance that they liked just fine before.

“Let’s be clear, we’re not going to delay the Affordable Care Act”

This was a quote from hours before the government shutdown, for which the Republicans were widely blamed.  A few weeks later, the ObamaCare rollout had gone so badly that Obama reversed course.  It turns out that the Republicans were right, and it was Obama who could have avoided the Government Shutdown, not the other way around.

“Anyone making under $45,960 will qualify for an upfront tax subsidy.”

Anyone making under 4 times the poverty level was supposed to get an upfront tax subsidy.  CNN reports that in the largest cities in nearly every state, many people will not qualify for the subsidy.  For example, a person living in Chicago making $27,400 will not qualify for a subsidy.  A person in Nashville making $25,500 will also not qualify for a subsidy.  Some lies are small, this one is a pretty big one.

“I will not sign a plan that adds a dime to our deficits.”

Obama’s original promise was that the plan would cost $900M over ten years, and the savings would just barely cover those costs, so the plan was breakeven.  Since then, the estimated cost of the plan has ballooned to $2.6 Trillion.  Unfortunately, the revenue has not gone up, so there is no way that this law does not significantly add to the national debt.

“Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 per year will see any form of tax increase.”

The only reason that the Democrats avoided a filibuster was by using a process called reconciliation, which is specifically only used for budget bills.  There are tons of taxes, and fees, built into ObamaCare.  Examples include the medical device tax, the mandate tax, and harsher penalties on Health Savings Account withdrawals, among others.

$50,000 of income and $315,000 in Credit Card debt – What are you thinking???


Government spending

Government spending (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

I think that we can all agree that if we had a friend who only made $50,000 each year, but had $315,000 in credit card debt, we would be worried about that person’s mental health…

If they asked you for help, would you recommend that they work 6 jobs so that they can continue spending the same amount of money and never get out of debt?  Or would you recommend that they take on one extra job while drastically reducing their spending while trying to pay off their credit cards?

Of course, you would likely do the latter.  When you have a spending problem, it is okay to want more income, but controlling your spending is an absolute must in order to get your house back in order.

If the United States Government was a person, they would be this person!

Unfortunately, our government has chosen neither of the options outlined above.  They have basically taken on a few extra hours at work (in the form of more taxes) while deciding to spend even more than ever before (in the form of ObamaCare).

The Democrats have decided that they do not want to cut spending, because they think they can raise enough taxes to get out of this mess.  Here is the truth, they could raise everyone’s taxes by 25% right this second, and use that money solely to pay off the debt, and it would still take 15 years to get back to even.  That doesn’t even count the Trillions of dollars they are adding to the debt each year.

Conclusion:  The debt is too big to tackle by raising revenue without cutting spending.

The Republicans believe that we can stop cut spending, without raising taxes, and get this mess under control.  Here is the truth, in order to make this work, the government would have to cut 90% of its spending for the next 20 years in order to achieve this goal.

Conclusion:  The debt is too big to tackle by cutting spending without raising revenue.

The sooner we can all agree to these simple facts, the sooner we can help our dysfunctional friend get back on their feet.

We do not need conservatives, we do not need liberals, we just need people who know how to do math.  Anyone out there fit that description?

If so…Please, Please, Please run for congress!

This is not about political parties, this is about a person who is riddled in debt looking themselves in the mirror and deciding that today is the day to stop living a lie.  Today is the day when they cut back on what they can live without.  Today is the day when they decide to spend more of their time working hard to make some more money so they can pay off some of their debt.  Today is the day to make a plan, execute a plan, and endure some tough years on their way to achieving the American Dream.

If they don’t, the American dream as we know it will not be available to any one of us in the future…

Obama Fails at Protecting the Bill of Rights – Grading the President on 5 of the Amendments


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)

I recently wrote a tweet stating “President Obama, there are only 45 words in the 1st amendment, please take sixty seconds to review it.”  It was obviously written a little tongue-in-cheek, targeting Obama for his recent attacks on the free press.  After that, I decided that people might be interested in his grades so far on protecting our Bill of Rights:

1st Amendment – F      Free Speech

Obama has not only had reporters investigated, but he has threatened to charge a respected Fox News reporter as a co-conspirator.  On top of that, he has had the IRS target Tea Party groups in order to limit their speech during an election.

2nd Amendment – F     Gun Rights

Not much evidence is needed here, Obama’s $500 million proposal to limit 2nd Amendment rights says it all.

4th Amendment – D     Search & Seizure

We don’t know if Obama had a warrant, but e-mails are typically found to have a reasonable expectation of privacy.  Obama likely used the ECPA and several NSLs to get around the 4th Amendment, therefore we are giving him a “D” for creatively undermining our rights in a way that he wouldn’t be found guilty.

5th Amendment – A     Right to Remain Silent

Lois Lerner invoked the 5th Amendment when Congress tried to question her on the IRS Scandal…guess she has something to hide.  At least Obama is respecting one of the Amendments in the Bill of Rights!

6th Amendment – F     Civil Right For Anyone Accused of a Crime

Obama’s team has killed 4 U.S. Citizens with attack drones.  I would not have a problem with that if they were in the middle of a hostile action, or if they had been convicted of a crime and sentenced to death, or if they were involved in a capture mission that went wrong…but none of these were the case.  The killing of American Citizens without a trial is the act of terrorists, not Presidents.

 

The bottom line is that the more we learn about the AP Scandal, the Fox News Scandal, the IRS Scandal, the Benghazi Scandal, etc etc etc….the more it should become apparent that Obama is not protecting the rights that Thomas Jefferson described as “is what the people are entitled to against every government, and what no just government should refuse, or rest on inference”.

 

 

I am a NeoCon/WackoBird…but I now support Gay Marriage


English: Portrait of United States Senator Rob...

English: Portrait of United States Senator Rob Portman of Ohio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I applaud Senator Rob Portman, who dramatically revealed his change of heart on the issue of Gay Marriage this past week.  Portman’s decision was based on a very personal story where his son revealed to him that he was gay, and the Senator realized that he wanted his son to have the same opportunity for happiness and marriage that his other children will have.

Portman’s decision was slammed in the twitterverse and in the mainstream media as self-serving, with people turning this deeply personal change of heart into something much more sinister.  Rather than embracing the converted Senator, Gay Marriage supporters rained insults down on him and his political party, ranging from calling him a flip-flopper, to asking if he would change his mind on the minimum wage or abortion if his children ran across hard times financially or were involved in an unplanned pregnancy.

Many of their comments, not listed here, were completely disgusting and disheartening.

Personally, I am a recovering NeoConservative, who is beginning to lean more and more towards WackoBird Libertarianism.  The issue of Gay Marriage is one that I have struggled with for a long time, and I have participated in several spirited debates with my friends and family throughout the years.  While I am capable of making a full-throated defense of the Republican Party-Line, it has been years since my inner-argument amounted to much more than a slippery slope debate which I was not overly passionate about.  That being said, until recently I have not found the motivation to sit down and really dig into the issue to see if my overall opinion had changed.

Rob Portman changed that for me.  After hearing his announcement, I was surprisingly not angry, as I typically would have been if a Champion for one of my political positions had changed their mind.  I began looking back at the years of debates, thinking about how the strength of my opinion had decreased over time, and I dove deep into the issue.  My position hasn’t changed over the last 48 hours.  However, over the past 48 hours I have realized that my opinion has definitely changed over the last several years.

I now support Gay Marriage.

While you likely won’t see me marching on Washington, or screaming at those who advocate against Gay Marriage, I thought it was worth posting this online to show that it is okay to change your position on key issues and we should not demonize each other when that happens.  Whether you change your opinion based of something that happens in your personal life, or whether it was a slow evolution over time, Political advocates should welcome these new converts with open arms.

Whether it’s Gay Marriage, Abortion, Death Penalty, Gun Control, Minimum Wage, Tax Policy…

On these issues where each side has the support of around 50% of the country, how will your side ever become a clear majority if you don’t embrace those who are willing to let their opinions evolve over time.  The only way to guarantee effective Political discourse in this country is to be respectful of each other’s opinions, and to allow people to change their mind when they have heard a good argument.

I now proudly support Gay Marriage – I challenge each one of you to take a look at some of your own Political Positions this week.  In a world where people are allowed to change their mind on key issues without being demonized, would there be any issues that you might like to alter your stance on?

Could a provision in the Fiscal Cliff deal help you retire with more money?


Money

Money (Photo credit: 401(K) 2013)

I will, for the moment, stay away from the politics of the Fiscal Cliff deal and focus solely on one unexpected upside that arose from the recently negotiated bill – The Roth 401(k) provision.

Opportunity

The new Fiscal Cliff bill allows employees to make a one-time, large transfer from a traditional 401(k) to a Roth 401(k).  This could be a huge advantage to certain people during retirement, and it is something that we all should be evaluating whether or not to take advantage of in the wake of the contentious Fiscal Cliff debate.

Warning To All Readers

This article is not meant for your enjoyment, it is hard to write about financial things and make it fun.  However, if you invest the next five boring minutes into reading and evaluating this article, you may save yourself hundreds of thousands of dollars during retirement.

Traditional 401(k) vs. Roth 401(k)

For those of you who are not familiar, your 401(k) are pre-tax dollars, which means you don’t pay taxes on them now, but you do pay taxes on them during retirement.  A Roth 401(k) allows you to invest after-tax dollars.  This means that you don’t get the tax benefits now, but you will get to withdraw the money tax-free during retirement, which can be an enormous advantage in your later years.

Who Should Take Advantage Of This?

The first step is to find out if your company offers a Roth 401(k) option.  Almost 50% of companies offer one, though only around 5% of employees take advantage in this phenomenal savings tool.  After you confirm that your company does offer a Roth 401(k), you need to determine if you fall into one of these three groups:

1)      Younger workers with cash on hand

2)       People who are in lower tax brackets and have extra cash on hand

3)      People with cash on hand who believe their tax rate will be higher in retirement than it is today

You may have caught on to the “cash on hand” requirement in each group.  The reason that is important is that you will be required to pay the taxes on the converted amount this year, which means this option is only right for people who have some savings that can be used to pay for those extra 2013 tax dollars.

Major Upside To Converting To a Roth 401(k)

In almost every scenario, the Roth 401(k) makes more sense in the long-run.  The only scenario where it typically will not work out is if you are in a very high tax bracket today, and an extremely low tax bracket during retirement.  Take a look at this example:

Jimmy is 35 years old, he is in the 28% tax bracket, and he puts 10K/year into his 401(k) each year.

Scenario 1)  Jimmy is in the 15% tax bracket today, and will retire in the 25% tax bracket at 65

Outcome:  The Roth 401(k) option will net Jimmy $368,500 more during Retirement

Scenario 2) Jimmy is in the 25% tax bracket today, and will retire in the 25% tax bracket at 65

Outcome:  The Roth 401(k) option will net Jimmy $257,740 more during Retirement

 

Scenario 3)  Jimmy is in the 25% tax bracket today, and will retire in the 15% tax bracket at 65

Outcome:  The Traditional 401(k) option will net Jimmy$15,560 more during Retirement

As you can see, the only scenario where Jimmy comes out worse-off after choosing the Roth 401(k) is if he is in a high tax bracket today, and he retires in a low tax-bracket.  The truth is that most people who are ready for retirement will retire in a similar tax bracket as they are in right now, because they will become used to living off of that same amount of money.  In addition, taxes are historically low at this point, and with our National Debt rising with no end in sight, it is almost impossible to foresee a scenario where our tax rates will be lower in 30 years than they are right now (I promise that will be my only political comment in this article).

Major Downside To Converting To a Roth 401(k)

If you convert your Traditional 401(k) dollars into a Roth 401(k), you are responsible for the taxes during that year.  For example, if you have $50,000 saved up in your 401(k), here is what it could look like:

Scenario 1:  Tim is in the 15% tax bracket and converts $50,000.  Tim owes $7,500 in taxes in 2013.

Scenario 2:  Sally is in the 25% tax bracket and converts $50,000.  Sally owes $12,500 in taxes in 2013.

Conclusion

The math is not nearly as simple as I made it in this article, but it is directionally-correct.  For the most part, converting your Traditional 401(k) to a Roth 401(k) will benefit you in the long run.  It is always a huge decision to part with cash on hand now in order to avoid paying more taxes later, but these are the types of decisions that financially successful people make every single day.  If you are interested in executing one of these conversions, please do your own research, do your own math, and make your own decisions.  Financial decisions are never easy, but when an opportunity presents itself that could save you hundreds of thousands of dollars throughout your lifetime, you owe it to yourself to spend some time looking into it.  Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or comments.  Good Luck!

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?

%d bloggers like this: