Shut It Down?

If the U.S. government were to shut down for a while, would that really be such a bad thing?  Right now everyone in the mainstream media is freaking out as if the world is going to end, but the truth is that there have been government shutdowns before.  The apocalypse is not going to happen if there is another shutdown.  If Congress could find a way to get our troops and our border patrol agents paid, then what would be so bad about the government taking a “vacation” for a while?  After all, when was the last time that either the Republicans or the Democrats did anything that was actually good for America?  It has not mattered which political party has been in power – over the past couple of decades our “representatives” in Washington D.C. have passed an endless parade of bad laws and have gotten us into the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world.  They literally seem unable to do anything right.  So would it really be so bad if a government shutdown slows them down for a while?  If our politicians are going to act like a bunch of idiots, why not let them shut it down?

Think of it this way – if you could eliminate all of the laws passed under George W. Bush and Barack Obama would you do it?

I think that most Americans would.

Almost every single law that has been passed over the past couple of decades has been bad for America.

But many Americans seem to be going into a panic at the thought that the “almighty government” might not be operating for a few days.

Many Americans seem to have bought into the lie that the federal government is the most important institution in our country.

But this is never what our founding fathers intended.  Our founding fathers intended for the federal government to be very limited.  Unfortunately, we have turned our backs on the principles of our founding fathers.

So exactly what is this fight between the Republicans and the Democrats all about?  Why have we been brought to the brink of a government shutdown?

We keep hearing that it is all about cutting the budget.  In fact, House Speaker John Boehner says that his party is “damn serious about it”.

But that is a joke.  The federal budget deficit for this year is going to be approximately $1.6 trillion dollars.  The Republicans were asking for just $61 billion in budget cuts (3.8% of the budget deficit) and there are rumors that Republican and Democratic negotiators have agreed to a figure of $38 billion in budget cuts.

$38 billion?

Is this why the Tea Party was sent to Washington?

$38 billion would just be 2.4 percent of the $1.6 trillion dollar deficit.

Wow, that is really wielding the budget cutting axe!

Look, the U.S. government cannot spend a single penny from now on without Republicans going along with it.

The Republicans control the House of Representatives.  Barack Obama and the Senate will not have a single dime to spend unless they can get the House to go along with it.

If the Democrats want money to implement Obamacare then they have to get the Republicans to go along with it.

If the Democrats want to give money to the EPA to implement Obama’s “green agenda” then they have to get the Republicans to go along with it.

In fact, pretty much whatever the Democrats want to do, they have to get the Republicans to agree to fund it.

So if you don’t like what Obama and the Democrats are doing, don’t just blame them.

Blame the Republicans as well.

Both parties are deeply corrupt and both parties have gotten us to the point we are at.

Sadly, it looks like any deal that the Republicans and the Democrats are going to agree to is going to include virtually everything that the Democrats want.

It is going to include full funding for Obamacare.

It is going to include full funding for Planned Parenthood.

It is going to include full funding for NPR.

It is going to include full funding for the EPA.

So what are the Republicans going to get?

$38 billion in spending cuts?

Is that supposed to be a “deal”?

The truth is that Boehner is a joke and he is not serious about cutting the federal budget.

But if we don’t start seriously cutting the federal budget we are heading for complete and total disaster.

David Stockman, who served as budget director under Ronald Reagan, says that if Congress is not serious about getting our financial house in order that a government shutdown could be precisely the kind of wake up call that we need….

If the Smithsonian, the Parks Service and the Cherry Blossom Festival get delayed or canceled, it’s the wakeup call that we really needed. The fools inside the Beltway are borrowing $100 billion month in and month out, and there’s nobody left in the world buying except the central banks—the Fed and the people’s printing press of China. There’s no way that’s sustainable or viable. It’s simply building up pressure in the monetary system that’s going to blow sky-high.

Look, the United States is heading straight for financial armageddon.  This is a crisis of historic proportions.  In a previous article on U.S. government finances, I detailed some absolutely horrifying statistics about the debt crisis that the U.S. government is facing….

*If you divide the national debt up equally among all U.S. households, each one owes a staggering $125,475.18.

*The federal government has borrowed 29,660 more dollars per household since Barack Obama signed the economic stimulus law two years ago.

*During Barack Obama’s first two years in office, the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt than the first 100 U.S. Congresses combined.

*In the new budget that the Obama administration has proposed, the U.S. government would spend 3.7 trillion dollars in 2012 and by 2021 the U.S. government would be spending a whopping 5.6 trillion dollars per year.

*The U.S. government currently has to borrow approximately 41 cents of every single dollar that it spends.

*The total compensation that the federal government workforce earned last year came to a grand total of approximately 447 billion dollars.

*The U.S. national debt is currently rising by well over 4 billion dollars every single day.

*The U.S. government is borrowing over 2 million more dollars every single minute.

*The U.S. national debt is over 14 times larger than it was just 30 years ago.

*Unfunded liabilities for entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare are estimated to be well over $100 trillion, and nobody in the U.S. government seems to have any idea how we are actually even going to come close to meeting all of those obligations.

*If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent one million dollars every single day since that point, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.  But this year alone the U.S. government is going to go about 1.6 trillion dollars more into debt.

*If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

But even if the Republicans got every single thing that they have been demanding it would make essentially no difference as far as our national debt crisis is concerned.  It would basically be like spitting into Niagara Falls.

So which political party has the correct position in this battle?

Neither of them.  In fact, both political parties are a joke.  They are both acting like a bunch of idiots just like they have been for decades.

So let them shut it down.  The truth is that the number one threat to our liberties and freedoms right now is our own federal government.

In a recent article, J.B. Williams talked about why he thinks that it would be a really good idea to shut the government down….

I say, shut it down! The federal government has done as much to harm the union of states as it has ever done to improve freedom and liberty in America. We will be better off without a federal government, with each state able to fund and govern itself better than the Fed ever could.

Extreme threats demand extreme measures, and nothing threatens the future freedom and prosperity of the United States more than our own federal government. Enemies beyond, we can deal with. It’s the enemy within which threatens us most today. It’s time to shut it down and reset.

Just think about a few of the ways that our own federal government violates our liberties and freedoms every single day….

*If you want to get on an airplane in America today, you must either go through one of the incredibly intrusive full body scanners that are going into all U.S. airports and let airport security goons gawk at your exposed body, or you must allow airport security goons to feel you up using the new “enhanced pat down” techniques they are being instructed to employ.

*Thanks to the Patriot Act, if you are identified as a “terrorist”, you suddenly lose all of your constitutional rights.  We are told that detaining American citizens indefinitely and subjecting them to “enhanced interrogation” techniques will keep us all safer.

*The federal government controls our lives so tightly that now they even tell us what kinds of light bulbs we are allowed to buy.

*Barack Obama has been pushing a plan that would create a national database that will store the DNA of all individuals who have been arrested, even if they end up not being convicted of a crime.

*Just about anything can be used against you in court these days.  In one of the very first military commissions held under the Obama administration, a U.S. military judge ruled that confessions obtained by threatening the subject with rape are admissible in court.

*The federal government listens to our cell phones whenever they want and they require that all cell phone companies must be able to pinpoint the locations of all of their customers to within 100 meters.

*According to FBI Director Robert Mueller, “homegrown terrorists” represent just as much of a threat to American national security as al-Qaeda does.

*In Washington D.C., if you do not submit to “random bag checks” while riding the Metro there is a good chance that you could receive a follow-up visit by the FBI or by the Department of Homeland Security.

*If you make food “incorrectly” there is a good chance that you will get raided by the federal government.  In fact, the feds raided an Amish farmer at 5 AM in the morning because they claimed that he was was engaged in the interstate sale of raw milk in violation of federal law.

So in light of how extreme our federal government has become, is there anyone out there that still thinks it would be a “crisis” if the government was to shut down for a while?

If our government is going to take away our liberties and freedoms instead of protecting them, then why would it be a bad thing if it shut down for a short time?

It might just get some of the control freaks off our backs for a while.

Yes, we do need to make sure our military men and women are paid.  We also need to make sure that our border patrol agents are paid.  But if Congress could actually get that accomplished it wouldn’t be too bad at all if the government were to shut down for an extended period of time.

So what do all the rest of you think?  Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion about the possibility of a government shutdown below….

As The Obamas And The Ultra-Wealthy Live The High Life Most Americans Are Going Through Economic Hell

Barack Obama recently made the following statement to American families that are struggling to survive in this economy: “If you’re a family trying to cut back, you might skip going out to dinner, or you might put off a vacation.” A few days after making that statement Obama sent his wife and children off on yet another vacation, this time to a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado.  But the Obamas are not the only ones enjoying the high life.  Wealthy corporate executives and greedy Wall Street fatcats insist that profit margins are too tight to hire more American workers, and yet sales of luxury cars, private jets and vacation homes are soaring.  Meanwhile, most American families are going through economic hell right now.  In 2010, more Americans than ever before were living below the poverty line.  Over 4 million Americans have been unemployed for more than a year, and over 5 million Americans are at least two months behind on their mortgage payments.  As the Obamas and wealthy corporate executives jet off to fancy ski resorts, half of all American workers are earning $505 or less per week and 55 percent of American families are living paycheck to paycheck.  Something is very wrong with this picture.

So is there anything wrong with working hard and enjoying the fruits of success?  Of course not, as long as it was done honestly and not on the backs of the American taxpayers.  But the truth is that many of the corporate executives that are enjoying luxury vacations right now would not even have companies to run if the American taxpayers had not stepped in and bailed them out during the financial crisis.  Thanks to the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, Wall Street bankers and top corporate executives are once again enjoying bonuses that most of us would consider obscene.

Meanwhile, most of the rest of the country is suffering very deeply.

Over the past several decades, the biggest financial institutions and the biggest corporations have worked really hard to “fix” the rules of the game in their favor.  The truth is that our economy is no longer a “free market” capitalist system.  Rather, what we have now is more accurately described as “corporatism” or “neo-feudalism”.  The big corporations dominate almost everything, and whatever they don’t dominate the government does.

One of the key features of a “corporatist” system is that it tends to funnel all the wealth to the very top.

Back in 1976, the top 1 percent of earners in the United States took in 8.9 percent of all income.  By 2007, that number had risen to 23.5 percent.

Ouch.

There are two different Americas today.  There is the America of the gated communities, the private planes and the good life, and there is the America of declining wages, thrift stores and rising desperation.

What is saddest of all is that the most vulnerable people in society often suffer the most from all of this.

According to one recent study, approximately 21 percent of all children in the United States were living below the poverty line in 2010.

Do you think that the Obamas are thinking about any of this while they are enjoying their stay at a luxury ski hotel in Vail, Colorado?

The truth is that leadership is not just about words.  Leadership is about setting an example.

Back in August, Michelle Obama took her daughter Sasha and 40 of her friends for a vacation in Spain.

So what was the bill to the taxpayers for that little jaunt across the pond?

It is estimated that vacation alone cost U.S. taxpayers $375,000.

Hey, Barack Obama won the most votes in 2008 and so if he wants his family to get as much enjoyment out of these four years as they can that is his prerogative.

However, if he wants to tell American families that they “might put off a vacation” after all the vacations that the Obamas have taken over the past two years then he is just being a massive hypocrite.

According to the New York Post, Barack Obama enjoyed a total of 10 separate vacations that stretched over a total of 90 vacation days during the years of 2009 and 2010.

During his first two years in office, he also managed to play 29 rounds of golf.

Oh, but it is the rest of us that have to cut back on our vacations.

But it is not just the Obamas that are enjoying the high life right now.

The wealthy have recovered nicely from the “recession” and now they are spending money by the gobs once again.

According to Moody’s Analytics, the wealthiest 5% of households in the United States account for approximately 37% of all consumer spending.

Life is very good in America if you have got enough money.

A recent article in USA Today detailed some of the things that wealthy corporate executives are spending money on in 2011….

Luxury and high-end marketers have picked up on what they hope is a growing trend, offering products that bank on a looming spending spree. Germany’s PG-Bikes is rolling out the $80,000 Black Trail, a battery-powered bicycle. Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille is selling $525,000 timepieces. Steinway has launched a John Lennon-themed grand piano — at $90,000 and up. After selling out a $245,000 model, automaker Porsche is planning the 918 Spyder, a hybrid car that could sell for more than $630,000.

Nearly all luxury brands experienced a resurgence in 2010.  Just check out some of the sales increases for luxury car brands….

Porsche: 29%

Cadillac 36%

Rolls-Royce 171%

At the exact same time, however, life is getting really, really hard for the rest of America.

As I wrote about yesterday, the U.S. middle class continues to be decimated even in the midst of this “economic recovery”.

There are tens of millions of Americans that would like to have a full-time job that are not able to get a full-time job.  The number of Americans on food stamps has gone from about 26 million at the start of 2007 to 43 million today and it continues to set a brand new record every single month.  One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in at least one anti-poverty program run by the federal government.

Our economy has become a complete and total nightmare.

Over the past couple of days some of the readers of this column have been sharing some of their economic horror stories.  But they are far from alone.  There are literally millions of Americans with economic horror stories out there.  It is just that we don’t get to hear too many stories from the “other America” on our televisions.

The following stories of economic pain are from people just like you and me.  Times are incredibly hard for most of America right now, and they are only getting harder with each passing month….

Colin:

My mother is unemployed. She is 61 years old, has 25 years of experience working for a major telecommunications corporation, and has a four-year degree. I watch her send application after application to employers with no response. I watch her get contacted by recruiters who say she is a ‘perfect fit’ for a job and never deliver. I watch her slide into depression and staying in bed many hours of the day.

I am 38 years old, I have mental illness, and I recently lost my job as a delivery driver because the owner sold his business to a competitor.

I don’t believe that either my mother or I will ever be employed again. I am beginning to feel that I am permanently in the world of the unemployed.

Jeff:

I graduated college in May 2000 with a Bachelors degree in Broadcasting/Minored in History. I have worked for major corporations as an Enterprise Sales Consultant selling Servers. I was a Network Engineer for Qwest Communications. I even worked for the Federal Government and held a Security Clearance for 4 years. I also won Dell Small Business Sales Consultant of the quarter as well. But since I don’t have an active clearance anymore no one wants to hire me in D.C. I lost my job in 07/2010 and from 07/2010-Present I have been unemployed. My food stamps were also recently cut off last month since the State of Virginia decided that for a household of 1 you can’t make more than $1178 a month. I make $1250 a month in Unemployment compensation before taxes so according to the Government I am too rich to receive Food stamps now. My Rent, Gas and Car insurance is $1000 a month and I am holding on for dear life. I am currently in the process of declaring Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and using my tax return to pay the attorney $1500 to file. That leaves me with only #250 a month for food, water and cell phone.

I have a list compiled in my Google email with approximately 784 applications I have filled out for every government agency, defense contractor and job available in the Washington, DC area. I even applied to Carmax and my old job in college waiting tables at red Lobster and the moving company I used to work at during the summers in college. If its bad for someone like me with over 10 years of Sales, Server/computer experience, Investigations and Network Engineering than I can’t imagine how bad it is for people that just have a high school diploma. I have been on one interview out of the almost 1000 jobs I have applied to (It takes about 2 hours to apply to one job). The one interview I went on offered me less than my unemployment gives me at $8 an hour. I can sit at home and make more money on unemployment than 80% of the jobs that I have applied too and even those jobs don’t call me. Is this what America has become? Is this what I sacrificed 5 years of my life in college from 17 years old to 21 years old and spent $40,000 to get a worthless degree that won’t even get you hired?

Todd:

Well, My family has been ripped to shreds alright.

Overall combined (My father, and myself) make about 60k a year. We can barely survive we keep looking to cut things, and make things cheaper but it’s just not working fast enough.

My wife can’t find a job, and now student loans are starting to become issues. (won’t go in to further details).

Tax returns taken, and various other things, Can’t even afford dental care. We don’t even get to go out anymore, and lucky to get any type of snacks. Just so you know there are 5 people living in this house.

Sharonsj:

The only reason I am not out on the street is that when I had money I paid off my mortgage.

However, because I did that, my food stamp allotment is only $25 a month. The heating assistance I get only paid for less than one months’ heat out of the six months I need here in Pennsylvania. All other expenses use up what’s left, so you learn to eat at home; I try not to leave the house because it’s going to cost me money.

I blame Congress for destroying America. They have given tax breaks to themselves and their rich friends at our expense. Did you know that anybody who serves 5 years in Congress gets a FULL pension at age 62? Us peasants work for 45 years and then if we retire at age 62 we are forced to give up 25% of what we earned.

Niles:

I lost my house, my family was split, and all my savings is gone.

I have lost hope. I served in the military, went to college and have high tech skills. My country doesn’t give a ***** about me. The bankers are as evil as the communists and I hate them.

Michael:

I’m also 38, and have worked in IT since the mid 90s. I lost my full time job in April ’03, and have only been able to find short term temporary work since. The contracts started to get shorter and fewer as the years went on, so in spring ’10 I retrained to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) but have not been able to find work in the last 9 months. An ambulance company I applied with said that they have hundreds of applications in several Northern CA counties but no job openings. And health care jobs are supposed to be on the the only areas of growth. I deliver pizzas for cash on and off and am getting unemployment.

Mondobeyondo:

I lost track of how many resumes I’ve sent out during the past several months. My neighbors think I’m trying to win the Publishers Clearing House sweepstakes or something (yeah, that would help too! Ha!)

Maybe I should go back to school and become an RLP (Rejection Letter Professional).

Dorothy:

The rent at the place I lived was so high that I couldn’t afford it on a school bus driver’s salary, which I was doing for the past few years, because in spite of 30 years clerical experience, where I performed every function from clerk typist to executive legal secretary, I could not find employment. So I applied for subsidized housing and was forced to move back to Chicago, where the crime rate is very high in certain areas.

Before I moved I was getting $200 in food stamps, but now that I am in subsidized housing, I have to go and reapply and if I get anything at all, I have heard that it will be about $52 a month! Although the rent is subsidized, I have to pay for my own heat, and the building in which I live is completely electric! Energy assistance doesn’t cover it. They give with one hand and take away with the other.

All of the people above are still “surviving”, but what do you think is going to happen to many of them as the cost of living goes up dramatically?  Brent crude just hit $108 a barrel and the UN says that the global price of food recently hit a new all-time high.

Americans on fixed incomes or that are on government assistance are going to be absolutely devastated if prices for basics such as food and gas rise substantially.

Not only that, but budget cuts on the federal, state and local levels are also going to hurt many of these people deeply.

But this is where we are at as a nation.  A small privileged class is enjoying the high life while a rapidly growing poverty class pleads for the government to toss them some more crumbs.

The American people deserve better than this.  They deserve an economy that will provide them with good jobs which will enable them to pay their mortgages and feed their families.

Unfortunately, the U.S. economy is dying.  The number of good jobs is actually declining.  The middle class is being systematically wiped out.

The answer is not to “tax the rich” so that we can toss the rapidly growing poverty class a few more crumbs.  The answer is to radically transform our economy back into the kind of economy our founding fathers originally intended.

But wealthy corporate executives and politicians such as Barack Obama are not going to have any of that.  Those sitting on top don’t want any real change to happen.  Sadly, the general population has become so dumbed-down that they don’t even know the questions that they should be asking.

So unfortunately it appears we are going to keep heading down the exact same economic path that we have been heading for decades.  The middle class will keep being ripped apart and politicians like George W. Bush and Barack Obama will just keep on smiling.

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