Verizon and Civil Liberties

We live in a time when there is a constant “War on America” from factions in the middle east. During war there always is a compromise between taking steps to protect our country and the lives of its people and protecting civil liberties. We must find the balance. High tech surveillance helped to promptly capture the Boston bombers and maybe prevent another bombing in Time Square. Many are saying the President is infringing on our civil rights. I agree, however the greatest infringement on civil liberties is taking an innocent life.

The decision of where to draw the line should go beyond the President and our other elected officials. The subject demands a national discussion that begins now. A part of the discussion must be whether the enemy includes the Muslim faith itself or is it against small splinter groups and individuals within that religion. The American people need to be educated on this issue.

Gay Marriage

“This is not to begrudge anyone their faith — whatever gets you through the night, brothers and sisters. Rather, it is to say that you should be free to have your faith govern your life but not to extend it to the governance of others’ lives.” History In Real Time, New York Times, March 28, 2013

The problem is created if you are convinced as a Christian it is your duty to protect against attacks against your religious beliefs. If God intended only a man and women should marry you feel compelled to oppose any decision going against what God intended. Most of us believe our religious beliefs trump secular laws.

What we are experiencing relative to gay rights and marriage is the same thing some Muslims are going through relative to Christians. If they believe all Christians are infidels and need to be killed, no secular government is going to change their mind.

I am leaning in favor of allowing gays to marry; however, perhaps I am going against some Catholic teachings and I will end up in hell. These issues are not easy.

Role of Government: How Large & How Active?

“Do It Right, Or Don’t Do It At All.”
There is a divide in America between those who want a smaller government and those who want a more active, and thus larger, government. The issue is what is governments role. This will dictate the size of government.and spending
The Preamble of the Constitution says:
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

There is little debate that the role of government includes assuring domestic peace and providing an army for defence against foreign tyranny. The quarrel between liberals and conservatives centers around how large should our military be and what to include in defining general welfare. The dispute is in the center, with the extremes being a small contingent of the American people.
The moderate liberal and conservative does not want government to take anymore of their income and distribute it to others in the form of welfare programs.  They also want to curtail borrowing. When liberals say we should help the needy, they are suggesting the help come from someone else. The middle class conservative is unwilling to have government take any additional wealth of theirs for the needy.
We need to go through the complete budgeting process outlined below.
  1. We must define what is meant by “general welfare” as referred to in the Constitution.
  2. We must decide whether the nation still has special obligations to our black citizens as a result of allowing slavery for almost 100 years and discrimination far beyond that.
  3. We must decide whether government has a role in protecting small business from big oligopolies that destroy free markets and jobs.
  4. We must review all departments, agencies and programs and cut back or eliminate any that are not warranted.
This will not be easy and there will be disagreement; however, it must be done. We do not have unlimited resources. Further, the answer to many of the issues will be subjective rather than objective. I cannot recall any department, agency or program created by government that was eliminated. There must be some; however, there are not many. Surely there is allot of fat to cut. Here is an outline to do that.
Simultaneous with the above process our current and next years budget needs to be reviewed and developed. Many opportunities to reduce expenses will be glaring and agreed on before clearly defining what we mean by general welfare. Thees cuts must be made immediately.
Over the last half century our budgeting process was to first determine what we wanted to do and then figure out where we get the money to do it. This is backwards and needs to Change and here is a good approach.
  1. Calculate projected revenues for the fiscal year
  2. Calculate projected expenditures for the fiscal year, including any pay-down of existing debt.
  3. Do one of the following
    • If expenditures exceed revenues, ascertain what expenditures to cut.
    • If revenues exceed expenditures, decide what to do with revenues.
Washington focuses on new laws and it is weak on implementation.  No company would exist very long if its senior executives created a plan but had no means of controlling and reporting on the implementation of the plan on a continuing basis.
Roger Wagoner, former CEO of GM, must be tempted to call all member of Congress to Detroit and have them explain how they got into this mess. No Congressman would be allowed to fly a government jet to the meeting.
There will be some reading this who will say “hogwash”. We should just start cutting where we can without understanding what is trying to be accomplished. That would be an unfortunate approach; however, that is exactly what we are telling these 12 individuals to do.  The results will be a mess.