Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Heritage Foundation

                The Heritage Foundation is a conservative organization that defends and supports the United States Constitution.  Heritage is doing many things to awaken Americans to the problems in our nation.  A Heritage blog entitled The Foundry recently published their top five must-see charts of 2013.  Here is their continuing countdown to 2014. 

                Chart #5 compares what the picture would look like if a typical middle-class American family spent money like the federal government does.  “While middle-class families are still plagued by a sluggish recovery in the Obama economy, this is what their finances would look like if they spent money like the government – and it’s not a pretty picture.  Most families understand that it is unwise to constantly spend excessive amounts compared to what they take in, but the government continues its shopping spree on the taxpayer credit card with seemingly no regard to the stack of bills that has already piled up.”  This chart shows that the typical middle-class family would owe $312,000 and continue to grow their debt by $12,000 each year if they spent money like the federal government. 

                Chart #4 explains the massive amount of tax hikes included in Obamacare.  Barack Obama made many promises that more Americans are seeing as outright lies.  “Remember President Obama’s promise that he would not raise taxes on the middle class?  Much like his pledge that Americans could keep their health insurance, this turned out to be another promise Obamacare was bound to break.”  This chart at the Heritage site shows that Obamacare will impose “$771 billion in new revenue through 2022.” 

                Chart #3 shows clearly that the sequestration was not even close to being a “meat cleaver” as described by the President of the United States.  The sequestration could hardly hurt our economy and close the government because “it only amounts to a 2.5 percent reduction in spending over 10 years.”

                Chart #2 tells us where our tax dollars go – and why changes need to be made.  Here is a hint:  Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid consume near half of every dollar that goes to the federal government, and Obamacare will simply add to the problem.

                Chart #1 illustrates why YOU and I each own $36,000 as our individual shares of America’s public debt.  This figure will triple by 2036 if changes are not made soon.

                Michael Sargent closed his Foundry post with this statement:  “To address the serious issues highlighted in these charts, Congress must put America on a path to balance by reforming the major entitlement programs – Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid – that are the key sources of higher spending and debt.  By implementing entitlement reforms and discretionary spending cuts, Congress can lift a tremendous burden off the economy, freeing up resources for investment in jobs and growth in the private sector.”

                Another Foundry blog post alerts us to the fact that the federal government’s ban on the use of 60-watt and 40-watt incandescent light bulbs beginning January 1, 2014.  If you are one of the Americans that does not consider this a problem, you might want to read the blog and learn what it really means.

                “Proponents of government-imposed efficiency standards and regulations will say, `So what?  There are still plenty of lighting options on the shelves at Home Depot; we’re saving families money; and we’re reducing harmful climate change emissions.

                “The `so what’ is that the federal government is taking decisions out of the hands of families and businesses, destroying jobs, and restricting consumer choice in the market.  We all have a wide variety of preferences regarding light bulbs.  It is not the role of the federal government to override those preferences with what it believes is in our best interest….

                “When the market drives energy efficiency, it saves consumers money.  The more the federal government takes away decisions that are better left to businesses and families, the worse off we’re going to be.”

                Still another Foundry blog post focuses on what would happen if the minimum wage were raised.  Politicians and other people are pressing for a hike in the minimum wage without thinking the problem through completely.  Their concern for people on the lower rungs of the economic ladder has clouded their thinking and kept them from realizing that it is a very bad idea.  Raising the minimum wage will be bad for the overall economy as well as for those low-wage workers it is supposed to help.

                As soon as I heard of the planned strikes in cities, I said it was a bad idea.  It seems obvious to me that the cost of a hamburger at McDonald’s will go up if the company is forced to pay higher wages and the cost of a hotel will go up if the company has to pay its employees a higher wage.  If anyone wants to make more money, they currently have the freedom to make themselves more valuable by improving their skills.       
               “Unfortunately, this seemingly obvious remedy is also a very bad idea, not only for the economy as a whole, but for the low-wage workers it is supposed to help.  Indeed, studies show that the latest congressional hike would likely eliminate some 300,000 jobs per year and lower our national economic output by more than $40 billion annually. Why?  Because raising the cost of labor naturally makes it more expensive to hire, leading cash-strapped employers with no choice but to slow down or freeze hiring.

                “Those who blithely propose large minimum-wage increases are ignoring a basic economic truth:  When you raise the cost of something, you slow down the rate at which people purchase it.  They buy less.  So an employer who might decide to hire another worker when the cost is relatively low will forgo that expense when it gets too high.

                “That, in turn, can be bad news for those who already work for that employer.  He may have no choice but to work his other employees harder, when he could have taken a chance on an unskilled worker and given that individual a chance to prove himself and to move up.

                “That, incidentally, is the great truth that all too many people on both sides overlook:  Relatively few people actually earn the minimum wage.  Less than 3 percent of all workers earn $7.25 an hour.  For the vast majority of low-skilled or unskilled workers, that amount is simply a starting salary that gets them in the door and gives them a chance to advance.  Most workers do just that.  They move up.  After being hired for the minimum wage, they learn valuable skills that help them move up the economic ladder.  Two-thirds of them get a raise within a year.”

                The Heritage Foundation researches many causes and publishes their findings.  I think this organization is a good one that deserves our support.  I encourage you to go to their site and learn more about them.

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