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Runs, Hits, Errors

Actually, this is just about the errors in this blog.

Currently, as of this post, many of the posts which were linking to audio or video no longer appear correctly. That’s what happens when the functionality of things change, or links move. I expect that to continue on into the future, though I will attempt to go back and re-link what can be re-linked.

It’s also interesting to look back and see posts which reveal how much we don’t know at the time.

And then there are just the errors I’ve noticed. I’ve already corrected one in which I mistook a picture which included my brother-in-law, Terry, as a picture of…me! (Weird.)

The latest error was yesterday’s post – which has already been fixed – which put the time of Sammy and Victoria’s engagement in 2014, rather than 2013.

According to the British site, The Phrase Finder, it was British poet, Alexander Pope, who wrote in 1711:

Ah ne’er so dire a Thirst of Glory boast,

Nor in the Critick let the Man be lost!

Good-Nature and Good-Sense must ever join;

To err is Humane; to Forgive, Divine.

An Essay on Criticism, Part II

While the last line is what we remember, I rather like the third line, too.

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Blog Van Winkle

As I mentioned in the last post, it’s been four years since I posted here, but it’s actually been EIGHT years since I’ve posted anything of a personal nature. (The last diary-type real post was this one, about my trip to the World Series with Sammy.)

While the blog’s been sleeping, just a few things have happened. It’s amazing how much can happen in only 8 years.

I won’t try to catch up with everything in one post.

Sammy & Victoria get engaged

But let’s go back to Sammy’s birthday, May 20, 2013. (Yes, this is even further back, to a point that the blog was still active. I don’t know why this wasn’t on the blog.) As part of his gift opening at our house, he had a gift for Victoria.

Apparently, I haven’t mentioned Victoria Muchmore on the blog before. Sammy and Victoria had been dating for awhile by the time of his birthday, and he was determined that it was time to move the relationship forward. Victoria, her mom, dad, and sister were all present when she received hers.

We couldn’t have been happier for Sammy, or more grateful that he was able to marry such a wonderful, Godly and wise woman as Victoria.

The ceremony didn’t place for over a year, on September 6, 2014.

On the big day

We are proud of them both, as they have gone into ministry, moved to Ohio, returned to Florida, been foster parents to many children, and eventually – after a very long process – adopted our first granddaughter, Piper Briann.

Piper

When Piper came along, Trudi and I gained new titles…Pops and Nan.

It has been very educational to see what Sam and Victoria have gone through in fostering, and what so many kids go through as they are put in the position to be fostered.

Currently their house is full of girls. In addition to Piper, there are Jade, Genesis, and Rose.

Well, that’s the beginning of catching up. Much more to go. 🙂

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(Tap,tap…) Is this thing on?

Apparently, I have a blog.

Yes, I knew that. I did not, however, realize how much I blogged back in the day. There are a lot of posts on this thing. However, none since 2018. Weird.

And a little sad, because as I went back through every post since the beginning, I discovered that I have a diary. I’ve always admired Trudi for keeping a diary and recording many important moments of our lives. I didn’t think I had one and for the most part, I don’t…except for the years at the beginning of this blog.

So, it’s time to begin again.

Not a flattering photo at all, but it’s a real-time capture of me as I write this post. 🤷🏻‍♂️
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Politicians and preachers

The Pew Research Group recently published a poll about Trust, Facts, and Democracy. (April 26, 2018) CNN published an editorial about the poll entitled, “1 poll number that should be a wake-up call for politicians“. The number they referred to was “3%”. This was the number of respondents who said they had a “Great Deal” of confidence in elected officials to act in the best interest of the public.

That question also revealed that 75% said they either had “not too much” or absolutely no confidence in their elected officials.

A few things…

CNN made the jump from “elected officials” to “politicians”. Those are not the same things. Granted, usually they are. But sometimes people get elected  specifically because they are *not* a politician. Politician has been a dirty word in America for a long time.

How long? I have no idea. You can do *that* research. I just know that Jimmy Carter was elected to the presidency in 1976 in large part because he was an “outsider”, which many people interpreted as “not a politician.” That was dumb, because he was very much a politician, having begun — as far as I can tell — as a school board member, then a member of the Georgia Senate, then governor of Georgia.  His father had even been a member of Georgia politics.

The point is, there has long been a feeling that we should “get rid of the politicians that run the country.”

Well. That led to Donald Trump. Love him, hate him, or ignore him (Is that even possible?) pretty much everyone agrees — Donald Trump is no politician.

But wait a minute. What *is* a politician? The dictionary says a politician is someone who is skilled and experienced in governing or in conducting the business of governing.

But is that what most people think of when they use that word? Mostly our politicians, those that run the business of government, are most skilled at being “politically correct.” That is, they don’t say things that are too far from the mindset of their constituency. They act and behave in ways of which most of society approves.

Is Donald Trump a politician? By definition, yes. He is running the business of the government. You can argue whether or not he’s running it well, but he is part of the business by virtue of office — even if he’s left the virtue out of it. The last part is why those who dislike him feel they way they do — he’s not politically correct. His lack of political correctness is a big reason why his supporters support him.

Anyway, back to the poll and the thing that caught CNN’s eye — the low trust in elected officials.

However, what caught my eye was this: although only 3% of people had a great deal of trust in elected officials, business leaders were only greatly trusted by 5% and the news media only gained 8%. Overall, no leadership group received a great deal of trust from over 40% of the people. The most trusted leaders? The military. Even military leaders received a great deal of trust from 39% of the people. (Another 41% gave them a “fair amount” of trust, which puts them in the solid trust of 80%.)

The scary part for me is that only 9% have a great deal of trust in one other group: religious leaders. That’s only 6% better than elected officials. And a full 50% say they have little or no trust in religious leaders. Contrast that against the 79% of people who solidly trust scientists.

It’s no wonder that people will believe the wild speculations of science, but tune out those who preach eternal truths from the Bible.

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The DNC platform: a commentary. Summation.

Simply because I hate not to finish things, I’m counting this as my finish.

This began as an honest attempt to examine the Democratic Party Platform, to discover for myself the things with which I agreed, disagreed, and why. I fully expected to be surprised with how much I would agree, not because I am a Democrat, but because I’ve always believed the old line that “there is much more that unites us than divides us.”

Though I have not finished the commentary, I have read the entire document. I was wrong. There is much more that divides us than unites us. What both Democrats and Republicans and every other party usually agree on is they want the United States to be prosperous and fabulous. There is sharp disagreement on how to get there.

While I don’t agree with the Republican strategy of hiring Donald Trump, I don’t agree with the Democratic strategy of becoming a socialist nation, either. The Democratic solutions in many instances are dumb, and in some instances are morally repulsive.

But don’t take my word for it. (Please.) Read it for yourself.

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Just too much fun to watch

https://youtu.be/aKPz583WRpQ

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The DNC platform: a commentary. Part 4b.

The Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is Part 4b of my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree. Each part covers one of the thirteen major sections of the DNC’s statement. However, after writing for several pages, I discovered that this section is especially long. So I have split this up into parts 4a and 4b. (Read Part 4a here.)

The process of writing these posts has been slow. On one hand, I wish this had been much quicker. I’m only 4/13 of the way in, and well over a year has passed since this platform was originally published.

On the other hand, the time between each post has given me opportunities to pause and reflect on what has been written and what will be written. Hopefully this will produce a more thoughtfully written whole. There is a tension between the commitment of thoughts to paper and the solidification of those thoughts to a point that you are unwilling for them to bend or change over time.  I continue to feel that tension.

Part 4b begins on page 18. 

Investing in Rural America

“Democrats will increase funding to support the next generation of farmers and ranchers…encourage programs…expand local food markets and regional food systems…promote clean energy leadership.”

Going back to their theme of The State as Savior, the DNC promises to save the local farmer by pouring more money into programs, while burdening the same farmers with costly regulations. Perhaps the farmers will plant unicorn orchards.

“The Democratic Party supports stronger agricultural worker protections including regulation of work hours, elimination of child labor, ensuring adequate housing for migrant workers, and sanitary facilities in the field.”

While the intentions to protect migrant workers are laudable, I wonder if one unintended consequence would be to make it illegal for the children of farmers to be able to help on the farm. And what about the farmer? Would there be a regulation of hours he/she can work?

Ending Poverty and Investing in Communities Left Behind

“We reaffirm our commitment to eliminate poverty.”

That would be good. However, their commitment isn’t as strong as their commitment to continuing the policies exacerbating poverty in the first place. Left unsaid in this statement is the reaffirmation of the DNC’s commitment to eliminate wealth as well.

“The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) program should be expanded…The Child Tax Credit (CTC) should be expanded…”

I’m pretty much always in favor of tax cuts and tax credits. (But what gets cut to offset this?)

[page 19]

Building Strong Cities and Metro Areas

“We will dramatically increase federal infrastructure funding for our cities—making significant new investments in roads and bridges, public transit, drinking and wastewater systems, broadband, schools, and more.”

Three words that always deserve skepticism when put together — “dramatically”, “increase”, “funding”.

I have no problem with most of the list of targets mentioned. Roads, bridges, public transit, drinking and wastewater systems…all are items that I believe should be high on the government’s to-do list. Unfortunately, these items often to take a backseat to other, less-necessary and less-deserving items. (See the next section for examples.)

But every dramatic increase in funding must be met by either a corresponding dramatic increase in income or a corresponding dramatic decrease in spending somewhere else.

In addition, the target list mentions schools (something with which the State has shown increasing incompetence) and the ever-dangerous “more”.

“Democrats also will revitalize communities being dragged down by physical decay by building on programs like the Neighborhood Stabilization Program and the Hardest Hit Fund.”

This is another example of the State getting into areas which should be left to private companies. Why is the State determined to be a real estate broker? This is the State’s Fixer Upper plan. We’ll buy ’em, then sell ’em back to poor people.

Once again, it’s not the intent I have a problem with. “Revitalizing communities” is a good thing. But it’s really not the State’s place to do this.

Just looking at some of the data from the State’s own website, you can see the inefficiencies at work. So much of the money that is put into these programs is spent to cover “administrative costs.” That’s the cost of putting it into the hands of the State. That same money is kept out of the hands of small businesses and entrepreneurs who all have more incentive to keep costs low and sell for fair prices.

This is also an example of one of the biggest dangers of State-run assistance programs. These programs were both established by President Obama in 2010 as a response to the housing crash in the late 2000’s. These were to be, supposedly, temporary programs to assist those in desperate need. But, of course, temporary means temporary just until we can make it permanent. Having addressed the “hardest hit”, Democrats want to continue to build on the foundation of free-money they began.

It’s not free. It’s coming out of my pocket, and yours, too.

“We will support entrepreneurship and small business growth in cities…”

The promise is that this will happen through State-sponsored training and tax credits (good) and State lending (not so good).

Promoting Arts and Culture

“Democrats are proud of our support for arts funding and education.”

I agree that arts and culture are important. However, it is not the State’s place to fund it. The private sector is more than capable of supporting whatever art or culture it demands. In fact, if the State is to fund the arts, there is no reason not to fund religion. (Now that I think about it, I’d be very much in favor of a separation of arts and state.)

Honoring Indigenous Tribal Nations

“We have a profound moral and legal responsibility to the Indian tribes…”

Do we?

It’s problematic, isn’t it? On the one hand, we want to grant dignity and respect the heritage and rights of those that originally owned this land. Dignity and respect for all people should be basic for every human.

On the other hand, why do Indian tribes deserve special treatment? The land might have belonged to them in the past, but it doesn’t now.

What’s the right thing to do? If the land belongs to the Indians, it seems like the right thing is evident. Give it all back. We should all leave and go back to England or Europe or wherever we came from.

That’s obviously not going to happen. So we try to placate our wounded consciences by “honoring” Indians and Indian nations and giving them “reservations” and land to call their own.

Or perhaps we don’t owe them anything. Were the Indian tribes the first ones here, or did they misplace some other people? Yes, where they were living was taken by others…but does that mean we owe them, even now, for what was lost hundreds of years ago? Is it up to us to keep their culture alive and protected? If so, why? Does the State also have the responsibility  to maintain the culture of my family for hundreds of years in the future?

It’s interesting to note that this is one of the longest sections, beginning on page 19, but continuing all the way to…

[page 21]

Fighting for the People of Puerto Rico

“[W]e are committed to addressing the extraordinary challenges faced by our fellow citizens in Puerto Rico…”

I don’t understand the whole concept of territories as it relates to the United States of America. I wrote that sentence, then I felt dumb for writing it, so I did some research — very little, in fact — which ended in me taking a 3+ month break from writing this post.

Puerto Rico. You’re such a trouble-maker.

Just kidding. Anyway, I don’t know much more about this issue now than I did before. So I asked my friend, Gary, who is of Puerto Rican descent, what he thought. He said…

“The Puerto Rican economy is in huge trouble. Unemployment is high and a lot of people are living on government aid. This is, unfortunately, a perfect example of the Democratic Party’s attempt to gain more votes by finding a population segment that they can bribe by offering free stuff. My family, all Puerto Rican’s, are hard working, educated people who feel that adults should earn their way, just as Scripture teaches us. Most of my family members are conservative Republicans…hmmm.”

Honoring the People of the Territories

“We also recognize and honor…”

This is very similar to the section on Puerto Rico. I’m curious why we should “fight” for Puerto Rico and “honor” the territories. Just choosing different words so it doesn’t sound redundant, or is there real meaning there?


Woot! Finally done with section four!

Next: PROTECT VOTING RIGHTS, FIX OUR CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM, AND RESTORE OUR DEMOCRACY

 

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Andy’s dad?

https://youtu.be/bbmzuoBC1Rs

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The DNC platform: a commentary. Part 4a.

The Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is Part 4a of my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree. (Read Part 3 here.) Each part covers one of the thirteen major sections of the DNC’s statement. However, after writing for several pages, I discovered that this section is especially long. So I have split this up into parts 4a and 4b.

If you’ve read my previous commentaries, you know that I am no expert in…well, pretty much anything. There are policies with which I am unfamiliar. There are nuances and specifics that go beyond what I know. There are many counter-arguments that possibly exist to every opinion I post.

That’s okay. I offer these commentaries as my simple opinion, designed to expose my thinking on these topics. Hopefully, they help you, the reader, to clarify what you think about these topics as well. That’s part of what good conversation does. It helps both parties clarify their thinking, even when they don’t agree.

On to Part 4a. It begins on page 13.

BRING AMERICANS TOGETHER AND REMOVE BARRIERS TO OPPORTUNITIES

This section title brings us back to the platform’s theme, as stated in the Preamble.

Ending Systemic Racism

“Democrats will fight to end institutional and systemic racism in our society.”

Good. Though the Democrats were the leaders of racism in the 1950’s and ’60’s, they have turned it around since then. Racism is stupid.

Closing the Racial Wealth Gap

“The racial wealth and income gaps are the result of policies that discriminate against people of color and constrain their ability to earn income and build assets to the same extent as other Americans.”

This is probably partially true. To the extent that it is true, the policies should be changed. There should be no constraint on anyone based on their ethnicity.

Reforming our Criminal Justice System

“Something is profoundly wrong when almost a quarter of the world’s prison population is in the United States, even though our country has less than five percent of the world’s population.”

IF “something is profoundly wrong”, then WHERE is it profoundly wrong? It might be wrong in the U.S., or it might be wrong in the rest of the world. Do we have more criminals or more law and order? Or both? Does the rest of the world care so little about crime, or not have the necessary law enforcement? This is more fun with numbers without actual numbers. It also skips over the first question: is inequity inherently unfair and wrong? Just because the United States has more people incarcerated, is that wrong? Just because the United States has a larger percentage of the world’s wealth, is that wrong? I don’t have those answers.

[page 14]

“We will reform mandatory minimum sentences and close private prisons and detention centers.”

Why? What’s the goal? If the goal is to reduce the number of people incarcerated, then this will be effective in the short-term. If the real goal is to deter and punish those committing criminal acts, this won’t do it.

“We will rebuild the bonds of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.”

Yes. I also agree with the next few sentences on better police training, body cameras, and weapons limitations.

“We will end racial profiling that targets individuals solely on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, or national origin…”

I agree with the strict wording here, as long as everyone understands that race, religion, ethnicity, and national origin must be part of the overall profiling. To exclude these factors is foolish and dangerous.

I also agree with the rest of the paragraph.

“Instead of investing in more jails and incarceration, we need to invest more in jobs and education…”

That would be nice. Unfortunately, there are too many people who don’t want to play by the rules, and unless the rules are enforced, jobs and education and the ability to invest in them aren’t available to people who do follow the rules. Jails are full of people who had opportunities for jobs and education and chose to break the law instead.

“We will remove barriers to help formerly incarcerated individuals successfully re-enter society by “banning the box,’…”

A spectacularly bad idea. As an employer, I want to know if a potential employee is a convicted felon. It’s something we can discuss. What I would like to see is this: if an employer knowingly hires a convicted felon, and that employee than commits a crime resulting in harm to life or property, then the employer should be protected from litigation, unless the employee was acting on behalf of the employer. (That protection might already exist. I haven’t researched this enough to know.) The employer should still have the right to know who they are hiring, and be able to refuse employment to anyone who represents potential harm to their business.

“The “war on drugs’ has led to the imprisonment of millions of Americans, disproportionately people of color, without reducing drug use.”

More fun with numbers without numbers. I don’t have the data here, so I won’t comment one way or the other.

“Because of conflicting federal and state laws concerning marijuana, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of “Schedule 1′ federal controlled substances and to appropriately regulate it, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization.”

Interesting how in this one area, Democrats want federal law to yield to the wishes of state laws.

I am against the legalization of marijuana.

“We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana…”

Keep this in mind on other social issues. Remarkably inconsistent, yet consistently wrong. It’s like they can’t think of a good reason to make marijuana legal, so they throw out the word “democracy” and that’s supposed to make it all-American. Baseball, apple pie, and and a bong. Dumb.

[page 14]

“We will abolish the death penalty, which has proven to be a cruel and unusual form of punishment.”

This is a very difficult issue, possibly the most difficult. Is it cruel? Are there acts for which a person forfeits their right to life? Perhaps. I come down right in the middle on this one. Abolish it? Possibly. Keep it? Maybe. Forced to choose, I would probably do away with it, but I would do so only with great caution and empathy for the victims of those who otherwise receive it.

Fixing our Broken Immigration System

“The Democratic Party supports legal immigration, within reasonable limits…”

I do. Do you really, Democratic Party? Let’s see…

“More than 11 million people are living in the shadows, without proper documentation.”

“Without proper documentation.” They’re legally in the country, but don’t have the papers to prove it, or they’re illegally in the country?

I come to your house. I knock on your door. You answer, and I ask to come in. You say, sure, but there are some conditions. First, you place a time limit on how long I can stay. You tell me I must be a productive member of the household and I am assigned some chores. There are certain places I am not allowed to go in the house, and there are certain privileges I am not granted. Otherwise, I have access for a limited time.

This country is our house. Those from other countries are our guests. We should treat them kindly and be generous. If they want to become members of the family, there is a path to do so. However, there are restrictions and limits, and when those restrictions are ignored and the limits violated, the consequences are known. They are not pleasant for either side, but they are part of the bargain entered when the guests were first welcomed.

If the State is failing in their agreement and blocking the legal path for guests to remain, then they need to get their act together and not punish the innocent.

If the guests are attempting to get around the agreement by hiding in a closet or claiming that it would be unfair and too hard to remove all their things and family they have brought into the house, then they need to be removed.

That’s not my opinion, that is the law as it now stands. That is what it means to say legal immigration and illegal immigration.

“Democrats believe we need to urgently fix our broken immigration system—which tears families apart and keeps workers in the shadows—and create a path to citizenship for law-abiding families who are here, making a better life for their families and contributing to their communities and our country.”

Democrats want to change what it means to be legal or illegal. Meanwhile, they paint anyone who disagrees with them as un-American and against liberty and immigration as a whole.

I don’t know where I stand on this. I’m open to changing the current laws and making immigration more open. However, I resent the implication that upholding what was previously agreed to, and what is now the definition of “legal” is racist or cruel. The continued push to redefine the word “legal” so that anything we can get away with is “legal” is dangerous. Redefining words in order to make them mean what you want them to mean is the way of tyrants and evil people and liars, all the way back to Satan in the Garden of Eden.

[page 16]

Guaranteeing Civil Rights

“Democrats will always fight to end discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

Discrimination is “the unjust treatment of someone”. Obviously, unjust treatment of anyone is wrong. It’s pretty much the definition of wrong. Justice equals what is right. Injustice equals what is wrong. But so far, in saying this, you haven’t really said anything. It’s like saying water is wet. Sure it is…what’s your point?

The difficulty is in the definition of “unjust”. Are limits unjust? Are restrictions unjust?

Let’s take an extreme example of what is unjust. Taking someone’s life. Killing someone because…well, just because…that would be unjust. It would not be right. It would be wrong.

Killing someone just because they are European. Killing someone just because they are blond. Killing someone just because they are Mormon. Killing someone just because they are heterosexual. Killing someone just because they think they’re a tree.

In that extreme example, it is easy to see that killing someone “just because” is unjust.

But there are plenty of other “just becauses” that aren’t as easy to call unjust. One that has been a hot-button issue for awhile is marriage. We’ll talk about that one soon.

For now, I’ll just say that I agree with some of this statement on discrimination, but not nearly all of it. Keep reading to find out why.

“We need to promote civility and speak out against bigotry and other forms of intolerance that have entered our political discourse.”

 Yes. Civility begins when you recognize that a difference of opinion is not bigotry, that thinking differently is not intolerance, that disagreement is not to be feared or demonized.

“It is unacceptable to target, defame, or exclude anyone because of their race, ethnicity, national origin, language, religion, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.”

This sentence is much too broad to be defensible. Unacceptable to target? There should be programs to help those with disabilities. Those programs must be targeted towards them. There should be programs for children. Those programs must be targeted towards them. It is desirable to target, depending on what you’re targeting.

Unacceptable to defame? Yeah. It’s illegal, so it should also be unacceptable.

Unacceptable to exclude? Much like targeting, exclusion is desirable in some instances. Now that I am older, I would like to be excluded from military service. Children should be excluded from marriage.

“While freedom of expression is a fundamental constitutional principle, we must condemn hate speech that creates a fertile climate for violence.”

Unfortunately, there is no freedom of expression that can exclude “hate speech”.

“We condemn Donald Trump’s…”

They could have stopped right there. We get it.

[Page 17]

Guaranteeing Women’s Rights

“We are committed to ensuring full equality for women.”

I agree with this sentence and the two which follow.

“After 240 years, we will finally enshrine the rights of women in the Constitution by passing the Equal Rights Amendment.”

This is a misleading non-sequitur. In case, like me, you’ve never actually read the proposed amendment, here is the full text…

“Section 1. Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.

Section 2. The Congress shall have the power to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.

Section 3. This amendment shall take effect two years after the date of ratification.”

Supposedly, this will “enshrine the rights of women.” The problem is that it doesn’t mention women.  It only mentions sex. Back in 1923, when the amendment was first proposed, sex only meant men and women.

Unfortunately, the LGBT agenda has messed this up, and now this amendment would provide for privileges to those that have chosen to forfeit them.

In addition, there are questions of alimony, child support, women in combat, and other issues where the ability to protect women simply because they are women could possibly be taken away.

 I support rights for women. I’m just not sure this amendment will do what the supporters promise, and I am afraid it might allow for things that would actually subjugate and harm women.

The bottom line for me on this: My daughters deserve every advantage their brother receives. They should not be paid less than male counterparts.

Guaranteeing Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights

Every human being should be treated with dignity. Every human being is a creation of God, made in His image, for His purposes, with an eternal destiny. The right to be treated humanely belongs to everyone.

However, those who identify themselves as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender have chosen to throw away rights and privileges they would otherwise enjoy. One of these privileges is marriage. Marriage does not belong solely to the State, therefore it cannot be given away by the State.

Gender is not determined by preference or “self-identification”. Neither is the ability to produce sperm or ovulate. It is amazing that so many people who profess to live scientifically ignore the most basic scientific fact.

I continue to pray for friends who have been misled and confused by a culture that promotes what is abhorrent to God. In so doing, they refuse the opportunity to realize the greatest satisfaction and fulfillment a human being can know. Only in right relationship with our Creator, who created us in His image, male and female, can we come to full realization of our true value.

Guaranteeing Rights for People with Disabilities

“No one should face discrimination based on disability status.”

True. In what has become a painful pattern, those without true disabilities have claimed these rights as their own, because of dishonesty and other bad motives. Nevertheless, the truly disabled should be helped.

Respecting Faith and Service

“Democrats know that our nation, our communities, and our lives are made vastly stronger and richer by faith in many forms and the countless acts of justice, mercy, and tolerance it inspires. We believe in lifting up and valuing the good work of people of faith and religious organizations and finding ways to support that work where possible.”

That is all they have to say about faith and religion. I believe this shows the importance they place on faith and religion in daily life, that is, virtually none at all.


This section continues, and I will continue my commentary on it in the next post.

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The DNC platform: an interlude

We interrupt your irregularly scheduled commentary for this explanatory interlude.

It’s not only because I want to explain. It’s also because this next part is taking longer than I anticipated. (The next part concerns the central theme of the DNC platform.)

The reason it is taking longer to comment on the next section is also one of the reasons I’m writing this commentary in the first place. This commentary isn’t so much about what the Democratic position is, but what my position is. My prejudice going into this project was that my position and the Democratic position were not the same. However, my prejudice was also that my position and the Republican/Trump position were not the same.

So far, that is true.

But, as in most relationships, even the most disagreeable ones, there are elements of agreement. Too many people base their agreement/disagreement on a label, whether that label is Republican, Democrat, Progressive, Tea Party, etc.

I am not willing to do that. If you are reading my commentary, please remember that disagreeing with Democratic statements doesn’t make me a Republican. Agreeing with Democratic statements doesn’t make me a Democrat.

Will I eventually review the Republican platform in the same way? I doubt it, for a couple of reasons. First, I think my statements on the DNC platform will give you enough of an idea of what I really believe. More importantly, the Republican platform seems to be a moot point. President Trump seems to have his own agenda, and I’m not even sure if he knows what it is. He was the Republican nominee, and many Republicans claim him, but he’s not following the Republican platform as much as he is creating it.

 

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The DNC platform: a commentary. Part 3.

The Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is Part 3 of my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree. (Read Part 2 here.) Each part covers one of the thirteen major sections of the DNC’s statement. Part 3 begins near the bottom of page 9 of the document and is titled…

FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC FAIRNESS AND AGAINST INEQUALITY

“Democrats believe that today’s extreme levels of income and wealth inequality are bad for our people, bad for our businesses, and bad for our economy.”

I would agree that being extremely poor is a bad thing. The central disagreement is, “How did they get there and why do they remain there?” The Democrats would have you believe that the Top One Percent put them there and are keeping them there.

In asking, “How did they get there?”, I am not saying that if they got there of their own volition then they should stay there. This is not about assigning blame. It’s about fixing the problem and keeping others from going there as well.

I agree that for many in the lowest levels of poverty, they are there because they were born into it, and they now find it difficult to get out.

That’s where the second part of the question comes in — why do they remain? Is it because the deck is stacked against them and the Top One Percent hold all the cards?

Achieving economic success isn’t easy. It never has been. It never will be. Get-rich-quick schemes are the surest way to get-poor-quick.

I field requests for benevolence assistance on a regular basis. In my experience, “poor” isn’t what it used to be.

“..the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans now own almost as much wealth as the bottom 90 percent combined…”

This is called “fun with numbers”. What does it mean? It means the top one-tenth of one percent of Americans are doing well. It means the bottom 90 percent of Americans don’t have as much as those in the top ten percent. That is ALL it means. There is a top and there is a bottom. Any other meaning you try to attach to those words is questionable, at best.

[page 10]

Reining in Wall Street and Fixing our Financial System

“To restore economic fairness, Democrats will fight against the greed and recklessness of Wall Street.”

Uh huh. Then what? Perhaps a fight against the pride of Hollywood?

The premise of Wall Street is greed. The only way to keep investors from making bad, risky, and reckless investments is to stop investment altogether.

Remember, this all flows from thinking that there is economic unfairness at present. There is economic difference. There is economic disparity. There is economic variation. There is a gap between the rich and the poor. Is that really unfair? Is it unfair if one person makes the right decisions, provides goods and services that are requested, then reaps the economic benefits, while another person make bad decisions, fails on their promises, and reaps the economic losses associated with their actions? Is that really unfair?

But, yes, when laws are broken or laws are created that favor the rich over the poor, that is unfair. Those issues are the ones to tackle. Lest you think I am completely for the bad actors on Wall Street, read on…

“Wall Street cannot be an island unto itself, gambling trillions in risky financial instruments and making huge profits, all the while thinking that taxpayers will be there to bail them out again.”

This paragraph is worded to drive emotion, not logic, so let’s take this bit by bit. There are four things the writers say that Wall Street cannot do. Wall Street cannot…

>> “Be an island unto itself.” No kidding. Nor does it want to be. It’s impossible to interact with the world if you’re off by yourself.

>> “Gamble trillions in risky financial instruments.” It can. It does.

>> “Make huge profits.” It can. It does. But only by gambling trillions in risky financial instruments. More risk means more potential profit.

>> “[It can’t do those other things] while thinking that taxpayers will be there to bail them out again.” It can. That’s the problem the Democrats are addressing. Wall Street was bailed out before. Actually, specific investment firms were bailed out. This wasn’t “Wall Street” and every investor doing business in one of the stock exchanges or mutual funds or one of the many other investment avenues available who were poorly performing. It was a few bad actors. They were bailed out. They should not have been bailed out.

“We must make Wall Street work for the job-creating, productive economy—including by making loans more affordable for small- and medium-sized businesses.”

No. I’m not for usury. I’m not for high rates of interest. I’m for reasonable rates. Loaning money is a risk, and the rate of loans must be commensurate with the risk. We should not make it that much easier for small- and medium-sized businesses to go deeper into debt. We should not make it that much easier to borrow money that they will not be able to repay. However, if the higher rates of interest are simply because of government regulations without any relationship to the real risk of the loan, then I am very much in favor of removing the State restrictions and allowing businesses to move according to the free market.

“We must hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law. Democrats believe that no bank can be too big to fail and no executive too powerful to jail.”

Yes. The rest of this paragraph gets a big thumbs-up. It doesn’t take creating a thousand new laws and regulations for businesses to wade through. (Please, no.) We must simply enforce the laws that make sense and allow failure and success to happen.

“We will also vigorously implement, enforce, and build on President Obama’s landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law…”

I don’t know what the Dodd-Frank law says. If, like me, you don’t know what it says either, shut up. Don’t be one of those idiots that opposes it simply because President Obama was for it, or that supports it for the same reason.

“We will also continue to protect consumers and defend the CFPB from Republican attacks.”

Likewise, I know little of the CFPB. I had to search to figure out that the acronym stands for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency founded under 6 years ago that already has amassed over 1600 employees running under a $605.9 million budget!

Wow. That should be some pretty good protection.

“Democrats condemn predatory payday lending, and will protect consumers by defending the CFPB and implementing strong new regulations.”

Does predatory payday lending happen to the tune of $605.9 million annually? Are Democrats interested more in protecting consumers or defending their $605.9 million agency? And why must Democrats insist on new regulations? How cost-effective are more regulations actually going to be?

“We support a financial transactions tax on Wall Street…”

Nope. This is proposed as a way to slow down trading. It would be successful. The problem is not high-frequency trading, the problem is unsuccessful high-frequency trading that is then supported through government bailouts. Though that is strongly stated, there might be other ramifications of high-frequency trading of which I’m not aware. I still am against taxing in general, though I understand that this is like a sin-tax for investment bankers.

“Democrats will not hesitate to…downsize or break apart financial institutions when necessary…”

Does that include the Federal Reserve?

I have some reservations about this.

“Banks should not be able to gamble with taxpayers’ deposits…”

Gamble. Invest. Tomāto. Tomäto.

“Democrats support a variety of ways to stop this from happening, including an updated and modernized version of Glass-Steagall as well as breaking up too-big-to-fail financial institutions”

“Where’d we put our Glass-Steagall? Anybody seen it? Dust that thing off and set it here. Yeah, that looks good.”

Killing something so it doesn’t fail seems odd. That’s what “breaking up too-big-to-fail financial institutions really means, right?

“We believe that personnel is policy.”

That’s a nice phrase. I hope to remember use that in a non-political way.

“We will crack down on the revolving door between the private sector— particularly Wall Street—and the federal government.”

Again, I dislike the demonizing of “Wall Street”, but I think the general caution towards limiting conflicts-of-interest is a good one. Having people in a position to make policy that promotes their own self-interests over the interest of the citizenry is not good, whether it’s a President or any other State employee.

[Page 11]

“We will protect and defend the Federal Reserve’s independence to carry out the dual mandate assigned to it by Congress—for both full employment and low inflation—against threats from new legislation.”

Mmm. The Federal Reserve is not independent, nor will it ever be.

“At a time when many of the largest banks have shunned communities across America…”

I did not know this. Is it true? Of course, if they get too big and access too many communities, won’t Democrats be tempted to break them up?

“Democrats believe that we need to give Americans affordable banking options, including by empowering the United States Postal Service to facilitate the delivery of basic banking services.”

Let me see if I’ve got this straight…you want the USPS, an institution that is losing money and delivering my mail to my neighbor on a regular basis, to be in charge of my banking? Um…no, thanks.

Promoting Competition by Stopping Corporate Concentration

“Democrats will take steps to stop corporate concentration in any industry where it is unfairly limiting competition.”

Corporate concentration is a new way to say “monopoly” or a different way to say “synergy”. All in all, I’m in favor of what the Democrats are saying here. Let’s start with the cable/internet companies…can we have some competition there, please?

Making the Wealthy Pay Their Fair Share of Taxes

“We believe the wealthiest Americans and largest corporations must pay their fair share of taxes.”

I agree that everyone must share in supporting our country. The cost of infrastructure, the common defense, and other items which benefit wealthy Americans and large corporations must be shared by those same people and companies.

However, investment and job creation usually come from the excess income that people and corporations have, not their base. If the excess is taken away from them through taxes, in order to pay for State programs, then those same wealthy Americans and large corporations will not be investing and creating. In the end, we all suffer because of it.

“Democrats will claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, eliminate tax breaks for big oil and gas companies, and crack down on inversions and other methods companies use to dodge their tax responsibilities.”

There’s that phrase again — “claw back tax breaks”. It’s interesting how much they seem to like that phrase. I do not.

If the tax breaks and inversions and “other methods” favor particular companies or the oil and gas companies as a whole over other industries, then they need to be changed.

“We will make sure that our tax code rewards businesses that make investments and provide good-paying jobs here in the United States, not businesses that walk out on America.”

If this means adding taxes to businesses that trade and manufacture globally, then I do not agree.

“We will end deferrals so that American corporations pay United States taxes immediately on foreign profits and can no longer escape paying their fair share of U.S. taxes by stashing profits abroad.”

Here’s what would happen: businesses would have to weigh the cost of being taxed both here and in foreign countries where they do business, or they would have to cease doing business globally, forgoing the profits realized from that business, or they would cease doing business in America and instead do business in the other 95% of the world.

Corporations wouldn’t be able to escape paying “their fair share”…but they could escape altogether.

This is bad policy.

“We will ensure those at the top contribute to our country’s future by establishing a multimillionaire surtax to ensure millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share.”

People react to this like we’re talking about Prince John and Robin Hood. Democrats insist that rich people are crooks and build their wealth by treating poor people badly; therefore, it’s okay if we treat rich people badly. Neither is okay. It’s not okay to slap rich people around simply because they have been successful.

“Democrats believe that no one should be able avoid paying their fair share by hiding money abroad…”

I agree with this entire paragraph and the one that follows (except for the assertions made about President Trump and Republicans…I don’t know if those assertions are true or not.)

Promoting Trade That is Fair and Benefits American Workers

“We need to end the race to the bottom and develop trade policies that support jobs in America.”

An obvious truth. What is much less obvious is the path to better trade policies. I’m pretty sure that I agree with the rest of the statements regarding trade on this page.


The first three major sections of the DNC platform have drawn more criticism than praise from me.

Next: Bring Americans Together and Remove Barriers to Opportunities

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The sum of all fears

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/03/28/spiders-could-theoretically-eat-every-human-on-earth-in-one-year/?utm_term=.d0ace23ec804

This is less than optimal, right?

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The DNC platform: a commentary. Part 2.

The Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is Part 2 of my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree.

In Part 1, I covered the Preamble and first major section of the platform. There are thirteen major section. This post covers the second, which is much shorter than the first.

CREATE GOOD-PAYING JOBS

[Page 7]

The prologue to this section is very good. It is inspiring and noble.

Building 21st Century Infrastructure

“If we are serious about reversing the decline of the middle class, we need major federal investments to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure…”

I agree. One of the main parts of our infrastructure mentioned in the opening, the Interstate Highway System, points to the difficulty of infrastructure. It is difficult and expensive to put in place, and it remains difficult and expensive to maintain. People tend to be motivated to sacrifice when it comes to building, but they also tend to relax after that and become much less motivated to maintain. That is what has happened in many places. The focus has turned from what was built and has been given to many other items. Tax money that was meant for infrastructure has been redirected to other projects which, as important as they might be, take away from what the money was meant to do. Providing infrastructure is one of the legitimate uses of taxed income.

“Democrats will also create an independent, national infrastructure bank…”

I don’t know what a national infrastructure bank is or what the possible up/downsides of it are.

Fostering a Manufacturing Renaissance

“Democrats believe one of the best ways to innovate, prosper, and create good-paying jobs is to make more in America…”

True. There are some good things in this paragraph. I’m going to point out the not-so-good.

“We must…claw back tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas…”

That’s a creative way of saying we’re going to tax companies more if they have manufacturing outside of the country. Making it more expensive to manufacture elsewhere only makes goods more expensive here; it doesn’t  help the middle class.

“Democrats will defend the Export-Import Bank…”

Something else about which I know nothing.

[page 8]

Creating Good-Paying Clean Energy Jobs

Yes.

Pursuing Our Innovation Agenda: Science, Research, Education, and Technology

The first four paragraphs are largely non-specific. There’s nothing to disagree with there.

“Democrats support a free and open internet at home and abroad, and will oppose any effort by Republicans to roll back the historic net neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission enacted last year.”

This sentence actually says two very different things. I understand the intent of the net neutrality rules, which are commendable. However, those rules do not produce a “free and open internet”. They do the opposite. They create an internet controlled and managed by the State.

“We will protect the intellectual property rights of artists, creators, and inventors at home and abroad.”

Good.

[Page 9]

“We will strengthen support for NASA and work in partnership with the international scientific community to launch new missions to space.”

Not everything NASA does is worthwhile, but I’m still in favor of the general purpose and would rather err on the side of aggressiveness over caution in this area.

Supporting America’s Small Businesses

“The Democratic Party will make it easier to start and grow a small business in America…”

That’s good. So many other things in the Democratic agenda point to this not being the case, but I’m will to suspend my disbelief. The rest of this paragraph is non-specific and aspirational.

Creating Jobs for America’s Young People

“Democrats will make investments to spur the creation of millions of jobs for our young people.”

Does the phrase “Democrats will make” mean that they will all be contributing to some fund or contributing in addition to their regular tithes and offerings, or do they really mean they will be taking more money from citizens to fund State-run programs?

I’m all for the first one. Not so much for the second option.

“Democrats will provide direct federal funding for a range of local programs that will put young people to work and create new career opportunities.”

Well, there’s the answer. So, no, I’m not in favor. More jobs for young people are needed, but State-created employment is never the answer in the long run.


End of the section major section.

You might ask, why now? Why didn’t I write all this back in 2016, before the election?

Um…I was stuck in a meeting I couldn’t get out of and the electricity went out in the building and we were trapped on the 18th floor and the telephone system blew, too. Amazingly enough.

Regardless of the delay, the Democratic positions on most things have not changed and many of the disagreements happening today are a result of what they believe vs. what is believed by their opponents.

So, now I’m writing.

Next: “Fight for Economic Fairness and Against Inequality”

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Gareth Edwards should have an action figure

Watch to see why.

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ThoughtStream

The DNC platform: a commentary. Part 1.

The Democratic Party Platform, was approved July, 2016. This is my page-by-page commentary, attempting to clarify the things with which I agree and the things with which I disagree. Though at times I resort to sarcasm and outright ridicule in areas of disagreement, it is not meant as disparagement of persons with whom I am disagreeing. People of good character and vast knowledge can be found on both sides of most disagreements. These are my opinions.

The DNC platform consists of a preamble, followed by thirteen major sections.

Here we go…

Preamble

[Pages 1-3]

The preamble is a general statement of what is to come. The sentiments that are most emphasized are unity, commonality, and togetherness. Noble sentiments.

RAISE INCOMES AND RESTORE ECONOMIC SECURITY FOR THE MIDDLE CLASS

[Page 3]

“Democrats believe we must break down all the barriers holding Americans back…”

Democrats believe the barriers are not holding back all Americans, just the middle class. What are the barriers? “A rigged economy” designed by “the top one percent” along with “Republican governors, legislatures, and their corporate allies.”

Democrats believe these barriers are prohibiting us from achieving the “hallmarks of a middle class life—owning a home, having access to affordable and quality childcare, retiring with dignity”.

Raising incomes and having economic security are goals with which I agree. I also agree that the “hallmarks” are nice to have. However, the economy is not rigged like Democrats would insist. There are elements that favor the rich, but I’m not poor because the top one percent have my money. And while we could argue about whether home ownership, childcare, and comfortable retirement living are hallmarks of middle class life, I’m not sure why achieving those hallmarks are the sign of a healthy economy.

The “one percent” of earners that the Democrats like to target is an easy mark. You and I will not be in that one percent, so we won’t feel threatened when they are targeted. It is easy to rail against these unknown, unnamed people, who must not care about the poor and who must be so despicable and repulsive.

Any failure of our economy isn’t due to the success of the one percent. The one percent doesn’t have to give away their money in order for the ninety-nine percent to prosper. They need to spend it. The money the government takes from them, they will not spend; so, instead of the money going to the areas of the economy that have earned the right to receive it, it goes to whatever pet program legislators determine.

As you can tell, the Democrats are not getting off to a good start.

Raising Workers’ Wages

Now we get to specifics. Sort of.

“Democrats believe that the current minimum wage is a starvation wage and must be increased to a living wage…We believe that Americans should earn at least $15 an hour…”

If one person were trying to raise a family of four on 40 hours of work at minimum wage, yeah, that wouldn’t be good.

However, that’s not the purpose of the minimum wage.

I believe the Democrats lost the Presidential election on this plank in their platform alone. The absurdity of this boggles the mind. Why stop at $15 an hour? Why not $20 or $30? While we’re at it, let’s mandate that everyone gets a unicorn.

This is socialist economics at its worst. It doesn’t work. Math doesn’t allow it. In order for employers to pay $15 an hour, it has to come from somewhere. “Record profits!” Democrats insist. That doesn’t work for non-profits, does it? And what about the thousands (millions?) of small businesses that aren’t Apple or Exxon?

“We believe that Americans should…have the right to form or join a union…”

I agree with this. I also believe that those who join a union should fully enjoy the consequences of that union. If a union achieves better working conditions and fair wages, all members should enjoy those consequences. This is when unions are at their best.

If a business closes because of the unreasonable demands of the union, all members should enjoy those consequences — unemployment — as well.

“The one trillion dollars spent annually by the government on contracts, loans, and grants should be used to support good jobs that rebuild the middle class.”

So…no more contracts, loans, and grants? Or all these contracts, loans, and grants should support good jobs that rebuild the middle class? Is there no commonality at present between the two?

I’m thinking that there must be some of that one trillion dollars that could be justified apart from “good jobs that rebuild the middle class.” But I’m also thinking that some of that one trillion dollars goes towards things the Democrats still want to do, whether or not it supports jobs and the middle class. This is all remarkably vague.

What would happen if, instead of the government taking one trillion dollars from the American people, the American people had the opportunity to spend that one trillion dollars? I’m thinking it would produce some pretty good jobs.

I also wonder: why, after eight years of Obama’s leadership, does the middle class have to be rebuilt?

[Page 4]

Protecting Workers’ Fundamental Rights

“The Democratic Party believes that when workers are strong, America is strong.”

Agreed.

“Democrats will make it easier for workers, public and private, to exercise their right to organize and join unions.”

In theory, I agree. However, there are potential pitfalls, as I’ll discuss below.

“We support binding arbitration to help workers who have voted to join a union reach a first contract.”

If I understand what they’re saying, a group of workers vote to form a union. Then the employer and the union go to binding arbitration to determine what the workers will get paid. Right?

I’m guessing this is because Democrats believe that the State can decide what is fair, where supply and demand would make things unfair. I disagree.

“Trump rejected some attempts by his own employees to unionize and has personally hired union-busting firms to undermine workers’ rights.”

I support people being able to form a union. I also support businesses that don’t want to have union employees. I certainly wouldn’t want to be forced to hire an employee I didn’t want to hire. I believe a worker has a right to receive the compensation to which they have agreed to receive for the work they have agreed to perform. I believe that any promises the employer makes to the worker should be fulfilled, or the worker has the right to leave. I believe that if the employer fulfills their promises, the worker should fulfill their promises as well.

If Trump doesn’t want union employees, he shouldn’t have to hire them. If people don’t want to work for Trump, they shouldn’t apply. The State shouldn’t have any say in that.

“Democrats believe so-called “right to work” laws are wrong for workers…and wrong for America.”

According to the National Right to Work Foundation, “A Right to Work law guarantees that no person can be compelled, as a condition of employment, to join or not to join, nor to pay dues to a labor union.”

I disagree with the Democrats. I shouldn’t have to join a union to get a job. Unions are especially strong in government sectors, like education, which seems ridiculous to me. Think about it — the government insists that workers join a union to make sure that the government treats them right.

You start a business. You’re paying your employees $15 an hour. Then you insist that they join a union, and pay part of that $15 towards union dues, in order to raise their wages to offset the amount of the dues. Dumb.

“The Democratic Party believes consumers, workers, students, retirees, and investors who have been mistreated should never be denied their right to fight for fair treatment under the law.”

Add employers to that list. I agree.

“…we…support efforts to limit the use of forced arbitration clauses in employment and service contracts…”

I agree that forced arbitration is not good. However, if someone signs a contract knowing that if something goes wrong they will be forced into arbitration, rather than being allowed to go to court, the mistake is theirs in signing it. And why is forced arbitration bad here, but it’s good when a union is formed? Is it only good when the State forces it?

Supporting Working Families

“We will fight to secure equal pay for women…we will combat the discrimination they face on and off the job.”

Agreed. Strongly.

“Democrats will [pass] a family and medical leave act that would provide all workers at least 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child or address a personal or family member’s serious health issue…[and] to allow workers the right to earn at least seven days of paid sick leave.”

Break out the unicorns. More good things that Democrats assume employers can pay for without significantly impacting their business.

Let’s say you have a worker that earns $600 a week. As an employer, you need to have an extra $7200 sitting around to pay their temporary replacement while they are out. That is $7200 you can’t use for…whatever.

“We will ensure that family caregivers have the support, respite care, and training they need to support their loved ones. We will create a strong stable paid caregiving workforce to help meet families’ needs, by raising wages, improving access to training, and giving workers the opportunity to come together to make their voices heard in support of a stronger system.”

Good concepts, unworkable in practice. How do you create a “strong stable paid caregiving workforce” by “raising wages”, while not making it more expensive for those who need care? Who pays for this?

“We will…make quality childcare more affordable, boost wages for childcare workers, and support the millions of people paying for, coordinating, or providing care for aging relatives or those with disabilities.”

It’s almost like words have no meaning. More affordable. Boost wages. Support millions who pay for it.

Unicorns. Millions of unicorns.

[Page 5]

Helping More Workers Share in Near-Record Corporate Profits

“Corporate profits are at near-record highs, but workers have not shared through rising wages.”

Let’s suppose there are 10 people. Person #1 is the owner of a company that employs the other nine. Person #1 earns $150 an hour, while her nine employees earn $15 an hour.

In the Democratic world, Person #1 is evil. Not only is she the Top One Percent, she makes more than all the 90% combined. In the Democratic world, economic disparity is evil. Everyone must earn the same amount, otherwise, someone is going to be in the Top One Percent.

In the Democratic world, if profits go up in Person #1’s company, she must automatically share those profits with all her employees, because…well, she just should. It would be unfair if she didn’t.

It might be unfair, but should the State dictate what is fair? Are there no other factors that might compel Person #1 to do what is right?

“That is why, working with business, labor, and other stakeholders, we will incentivize companies to share profits with their employees on top of wages and pay increases, while targeting the workers and businesses that need profit-sharing the most.”

Incentivize. “I’d like to offer you a deal you can’t refuse.” Uh-huh.

Democrats fail to realize that “companies” are made up of people. Everyone doesn’t do the same work. Everyone does not have the same value in the work. It’s why different positions get paid different wages.

Sharing profits on top of wages and pay increases sounds more like a disincentive. Why would I take all the risk and responsibility if I’m not going to be commensurately rewarded?

I especially dislike the all-knowing way the Democrats take with this. They want to “[target] the workers and businesses that need profit-sharing the most.” How does the State determine who needs profit-sharing the most?

Expanding Access to Affordable Housing and Homeownership

“Democrats will continue to fight for those families who suffered the loss of their homes [in the housing crisis].”

Sounds good.

“We will help those who are working toward a path of financial stability and will put sustainable home ownership into the reach of more families.”

Still sounding good. The big question is, how?

“Democrats will also combat the affordable housing crisis and skyrocketing rents in many parts of the country, which is leading too many families and workers to be pushed out of communities where they work.”

That’s good.

“We will preserve and increase the supply of affordable rental housing by expanding incentives to ease local barriers to building new affordable rental housing developments in areas of economic opportunity.”

This actually sounds promising, if by “easing local barriers”, it means reducing the red-tape and regulations that unnecessarily make housing too expensive to build, or that prohibit new housing construction altogether. Also, regulations that prevent older buildings from being used for housing in many urban areas need to be eased.

Of course, an increase in rental housing also impacts houses for sale, lowering those prices as well.

I’m not sure how well people with nice homes will take it when their property values go down when the new low-income rental housing goes in next-door.

Actually, I think I know how they’ll take it, since the same thing could very well happen to me. I don’t think they’ll like it. Oh well. It just means that my house isn’t worth as much. At least my taxes won’t be as high, right?

“We will substantially increase funding for the National Housing Trust Fund to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate millions of affordable housing rental units. Not only will this help address the affordable housing crisis, it will also create millions of good-paying jobs in the process. Democrats believe that we should provide more federal resources to the people struggling most with unaffordable housing: low- income families, people with disabilities, veterans, and the elderly.”

Think about it. The Democrats want the State to construct, preserve, and rehabilitate millions of rental units. This would take billions of dollars. Democrats claim this would create millions of jobs. Yes, it would…in the construction industry.

But the billions of dollars would be taken from citizens. Those same citizens would no longer have those billions of dollars that they would have spent across a wide variety of industries, where businesses would no longer have money to hire, give raises, or even pay employees.

This is the inevitable cost of using federal projects to “create millions of good-paying jobs.” The jobs might happen in one industry, but at the cost of many other industries.

In addition, the construction industry itself gets damaged as the supply of housing increases and resources are constrained by fiat of the State.

“We will expand efforts…We will also expand programs…We will reinvigorate…programs…increase funding…we will fight for robust funding…We will engage in a stronger, more coordinated, and better funded partnership…We will build on and expand President Obama’s promising initiatives…”

If you read that paragraph and the clanging cash register sound didn’t keep ringing in your ears…you’re either too young to remember that sound or you’re a Democrat. These initiatives and desires sound nice, but much like a thousand-mile wall, how do we pay for it!?

“We must make sure that everyone has a fair shot at homeownership…”

I agree with this opening sentence, and I think I agree with this entire paragraph.

Protecting and Expanding Social Security

“Without Social Security, nearly half of America’s seniors would be living in poverty.”

How many of America’s seniors are living in poverty with Social Security? Just wondering. And how many of America’s seniors would be living in poverty, if there were no Social Security, but they had been able to privately invest the money Social Security took away?

“Social Security is more than just a retirement program.”

Is that part of the problem?

[Page 6]

“Democrats will expand Social Security…”

…on the strength of unicorns…

“We will make sure Social Security’s guaranteed benefits continue for generations to come by asking those at the top to pay more, and will achieve this goal by taxing some of the income of people above $250,000.”

Are “those at the top” and “people above $250,000” the same thing? Is “pay more” and “taxing some” the same thing? How much is more? How much is some? If Social Security is deeply in the hole — as many say it is — how do you guarantee benefits simply by increasing taxes, unless those taxes are significant?

All incentives in this type of thinking are to stay poor, stay small. Don’t make the effort to make more, because it will simply be taken from you and given to those who don’t make as much. (This is not the same as making more so you can give to those who don’t make as much. Giving means I get to direct where it goes. Taking means others decide that for me.)

Ensuring a Secure and Dignified Retirement

The older I get, the more I am for this.

“Democrats believe it should be easier for Americans to save for retirement and prepare for unforeseen risks and expenses.”

Me, too. Once again, it all comes down to details. How do Democrats intend to make this happen, by letting the State control things, or by giving citizens the freedom and opportunity to do what they think is best?

I don’t know enough to comment on this section. It all sounds good, but I don’t know what the Conflict of Interest Rule is or what the Older Americans Act is, or what other issues come into play.

Revitalizing Our Nation’s Postal Service

I’m not sure how this fits into restoring America’s middle class, but I guess it fits here as well as anywhere else.

“Democrats embrace a vibrant, public Postal Service that offers universal service, and reject any effort to privatize or marginalize it.”

As a former USPS employee, I have mixed feelings. I understand the original concept and need to form a State-run postal service. I’m just not sure that the need still exists.

No State-run entity can achieve the same efficiency or economy that a privately-run entity can. It doesn’t mean that it won’t outperform a privately-run entity, but it doesn’t have as much potential.

“We are committed to eliminating the unsustainable mandate to “pre-fund’ retiree health costs.”

I’m not sure if this was intended to be in this paragraph or with the previous paragraph. Either way, I’m not sure what the problem would be with pre-funding retiree health costs.

“Democrats also advocate for expanding postal services.”

It’s an ongoing theme. Expand what the State does. Even though it is inherently less cost effective to do so.

Think of it this way…if I take a dollar from you, in order to give that dollar to someone else, that is inherently less efficient than if you give that dollar directly to someone else. Not only does it take more time for me to take it and pass it on, I’m going to need to be compensated for my time and effort in taking the dollar and giving the dollar. I either take part of the dollar before I pass it on, or I take the dollar plus a little extra.


That is the end of the first major section.

Next: “Create Good Paying Jobs”
[This formatting of this post was edited 03-23-17, 4:00pm, to provide additional clarity.]