2012 February

October 21, 2014

The Audacity of Ambition

My article as originally published in American Thinker:  

President Obama seems to be downsizing the American Dream. In an insufficiently noticed January 25th speech in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he said:

“Folks don’t have unrealistic ambitions. They do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream.”

“Unrealistic ambitions” — is he serious? “Small measure of an American Dream” — it sounds like he’s conceding that the Lefts’ version of “utopia” is really just settling for the crumbs that the elites drop on the floor. Is this the new normal? I’m sure glad Steve Jobs didn’t act on this kind of advice — I really do enjoy my iPhone. And I’m glad I didn’t act on such tripe as well.

Ambition — some have it and some don’t. It matters not which country you live in as it’s one of those traits of human nature that’s universal and nearly impossible to suppress. That is unless you actually have the audacity to want to act on that ambition. Living in most other countries you’d be out of luck unless you were “connected”, or had a large appetite for red-tape, but if you’re lucky enough to have been born in the United States (the place so many have risked death to immigrate to) then the biggest obstacle to creating something with that ambition is usually yourself.

I made the choice to leave high school several months early after taking the equivalency test. Not something I’m proud of or would recommend for others but I found school extremely boring and at the time didn’t see the point in wasting any more of mine or my teachers’ time. Surely this was not the best recipe for success.

I entered the workforce with high ambition (due to my nature) but low expectations (due to what I had been taught by some of my teachers). I started working full time for a swimming pool company performing hard manual labor and after that summer was over I enrolled at the local community college and continued to work for the pool company part time.

I learned two extremely valuable life lessons as a result of this first job.

First: I learned that if you’re willing to work hard, even with few skills, you can find gainful employment, and in my case, at more than twice the minimum wage. There wasn’t some evil, greedy rich person hiding in the shadows with the sole intent of suppressing my “ambition” as some had led me to believe would happen. In fact, I noticed that my paychecks actually did “trickle-down” from those so-called “greedy rich” folks.

Second: I learned that I didn’t want to work so physically hard my entire life and wanted to “ambitiously” pursue some other endeavor.

I did have a passion for construction and decided to pursue my “unrealistic ambitions” at a college (thanks Mom & Dad!) that specialized in all aspects of construction. I chose to work hard and even received a small scholarship at one point. During my training I found that I was most interested in electrical and decided that I would begin my career as an electrician.

By the time I reached twenty-four I was making pretty good money as an electrician, had married my high school sweetheart and together we had bought our first home. That sounds dangerously close to the “small measure of an American dream” as described by President Obama. I guess I was just supposed to be content and stop being so darn “unrealistically ambitious” at that point in time?

That wasn’t enough for me though as I did possess the audacity of “ambition” and wanted nothing less than to have my own electrical company one day. To keep this short, by twenty-seven, I’d achieved this with partners and by thirty-one I was in business entirely on my own.

I was making a very comfortable living doing something I enjoyed. My success did annoy one of my friends and a few acquaintances though. My crime — the audacity of making much more money than they did and doing so without possessing a college degree as they did. They felt they were “entitled” to a higher standard of living than I had achieved. Of course they hadn’t seen the hard work and many ups and downs (really, really down in this current economy) I had gone through to get where I was. In Obama’s class-warfare world, if I choose to study, work hard and make a few good choices while others choose to party, make bad choices and just get-by, I should be punished for having a better outcome. If I knew ahead of time that I would be punished for being so “ambitious” why would I even bother to try in the first place?

Over the years I’ve had well over fifty employees pass through my organization. While working with (exploiting in Leftist lingo) these individuals, I’ve noticed a diverse range of “ambitions.” Some worked hard and were content with just their paychecks. Others hardly worked at all and exploited me. Two really stand out as having had their own audacity of “ambition.” Both started with virtually nothing (one had left communist Vietnam) and both ended up owning more than one home each while working for me. They eventually had the “ambition” to start their own companies and moved on. Yes, they’re now feeling the pain of this government caused “recession” as well.

I left school with high “ambitions” and the expectation of road blocks. I’ve stumbled on many self-created road blocks (I take full responsibility for those) along the way, but I never thought that the largest ones I would encounter would be the ones that were created by the government.

In America, everyone (the “ambitious” included) is entitled to equality of opportunity not equality of outcome. Obama’s Socialist/Marxist ideas leave all but the connected entitled to nothing but a dwindling supply of crumbs.


The Real 1%

So who are the real 1%?  This PJ Media piece by David Solway titled The Socialist Transfer of Wealth may help to explain.

Many keyboards have been worn down in the churning out of learned commentary, pro and con, regarding the fiscal redistributionist policies of socialist-leaning governments. Those who favor the averaging out of national income and the sharing of global reserves point to the presumably “growing gap” between rich and poor that needs somehow to be closed.

[Snip]

Skeptics disagree, arguing that competition is healthy, that the creation of wealth must come before its redistribution (whether transacted via entitlements or tax exemptions), and that the best way to maximize benefits is by promoting a robust industrial and technological base and a vigorous service sector that can be depended on to generate mass employment.

 

Read the rest at Pjmedia.com        

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Obama’s Corporate Tax Sleight-of-Hand

If there was ever an Administration that could truly benefit from the suspension of the First Amendment it would be this one.  Fortunately that’s not the case and people such as David Limbaugh are there to give up the secrets of Obama’s magic tricks.

 So we should all be grateful that President Obama is just now coming out for a corporate tax rate cut? But does anyone really believe he’s had a supply-side epiphany?

That this is an election year surely wouldn’t have anything to do with his apparent change of heart, would it? He’s been president for more than three years, and Republicans have been clamoring all that time for a reduction in the world’s second-highest corporate tax rate. So don’t you think that if Obama truly favored this, it would have happened long ago?

But there’s something more cynical about Obama’s new proposal. It wouldn’t operate as advertised.

Read the whole thing at Humanevents.com      

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Treating Us Like Children

Isn’t it about time for grown-ups to step up to the plate? 

This is a good piece by John Hayward at Human Events: Children of the State.

It’s not surprising how often Big Government treats its people like children, but it’s a bit depressing that the public has grown so accustomed to it.

Dependency is essentially childish. Independence and responsibility are fundamental components of both liberty and adulthood. A nation of welfare and bailouts is a nation in which none of the children are permitted to fall down and hurt themselves. You can’t have entrepreneurship without risk, and you can’t have risk without consequences. Calculated risk is the business of adults.

Read the rest at Humanevents.com    

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Sex Education — Mark Steyn Style

Much thanks to Rick Moran at American Thinker for pointing out this brilliant Mark Steyn piece.

Have you seen the official White House version of what the New York Times headline writers call “A Responsible Budget”? My favorite bit is Chart 5-1 on Page 58 of their 500-page appendix on “Analytical Perspectives.” This is entitled “Publicly Held Debt Under 2013 Budget Policy Projections.”

As shown above, it’s a straight line going straight up before disappearing off the top right-hand corner of the graph in the year 2084 and continuing northeast straight through your eye socket, out the back of your skull and zooming up to rendezvous with Newt’s space colony on the moon circa 2100.

[Snip]

At such a moment, it may seem odd to find the political class embroiled in a bitter argument about the Obama administration’s determination to force Catholic institutions (and, indeed, my company and your company, if you’re foolish enough still to be in business in the United States) to provide free prophylactics to its employees.

Read the rest at Investors.com 

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Obama’s Budget Fantasy

The fact that Obama actually claims to be reducing the deficit is unbelievably dishonest.

John Hayward at Human Events introduces a little reality:

President Obama submitted his budget proposal for fiscal year 2013, and it contains some eye-popping numbers. Despite long-standing promises to reduce the deficit – in fact, he has explicitly promised to cut it in half before the end of his first term – he calls for a whopping $1.3 trillion deficit next year, and keeps them over a trillion dollars for several years to come. At the end of the ten-year period projected in Obama’s budget, we would be the proud owners of a $25.9 trillion national debt. His government would spend $3.8 trillion next year, more than ever before.

Read the rest at: Humanevents.com   

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Feeding the Nanny-State (UPDATED)

See update at bottom:

My article as originally published in American Thinker:

On Wednesday Michelle Obama unveiled the new Federal school-lunch regulations, as part of her anti-obesity campaign. I don’t remember seeing a culinary section in the US Constitution. Under current leadership, the Federal government appears to have an enormous appetite for our freedoms?

The First Lady said during her speech:

Because, as parents, we all know that if left to their own devices, many of our kids would eat candy for breakfast, they’d follow it up with a few French fries for lunch and cookies and chips for snacks, and then they’d come home for a big chocolate sundae for dinner, right? (Laughter.) And we know that it is our responsibility, as adults, to make sure they don’t do that. So it’s our responsibility to make sure that they get basic nutrition that they need to stay healthy.

That’s right — kids need and have their parents to watch over them — but of course that’s just not good enough for the nanny-state.

Mrs. Obama goes on:

And that’s why so many of us try so very hard to prepare decent meals at home, and to limit how much junk food they get at home, and to ensure that they have a reasonably balanced diet. And when we’re putting forth this kind of effort at home — and many of us are, and it’s difficult to do every single day — it’s always a challenge, particularly with tough economic times and not enough time in the day — but when we’re putting forth these efforts, when we’re doing what we’re supposed to do at home, the last thing we want is to have all these hard efforts, all this hard work undone in the school cafeteria.

Suddenly the Left is all worried about parental efforts being undone at school? Not quite. It’s the parents’ responsibility, not the federal government’s, to make sure their kids eat well at their homes, their friend’s houses, their grandparent’s houses and at their schools. If enough parents aren’t happy with what’s on the menu (which they can read) they’ll either complain to the school (a local issue) in order to force changes, or hit the school in the pocketbook by packing their kids lunches on their own. That is unless their kids go to one Chicago school where even that is no longer allowed because parents aren’t to be trusted with making their own kids lunches. Forget about metal detectors, this school is more worried about having ‘food detectors’ to make sure no one is packin’-lunch.

Mrs. Obama says the kids don’t mind the “change” that she believes in:

And again and again, schools are finding that when they actually offer these healthier options, kids aren’t just willing to try them, they actually like them. That’s the thing, that’s the surprising thing.

But as Michelle Malkin points out, Los Angeles schools have found that the only thing getting healthier is the amount of garbage from tossed food, and the union payrolls.

President Obama has been working hard and doing his part to curtail the problem of childhood obesity in the United States as well. It happens to be one of the side effects of his destruction of the economy.

(UPDATE)  Told ya!

A mother in Hoke County complains her daughter was forced to eat a school lunch because a government inspector determined her home-made lunch did not meet nutrition requirements. In fact, all of the students in the NC Pre-K program classroom at West Hoke Elementary School in Raeford had to accept a school lunch in addition to their lunches brought from home.

NC Pre-K (before this year known as More at Four) is a state-funded education program designed to “enhance school readiness” for four year-olds.

The mother, who doesn’t wish to be identified at this time, says she made her daughter a lunch that contained a turkey and cheese sandwich, a banana, apple juice and potato chips. A state inspector assessing the pre-K program at the school said the girl also needed a vegetable, so the inspector ordered a full school lunch tray for her. While the four-year-old was still allowed to eat her home lunch, the girl was forced to take a helping of chicken nuggets, milk, a fruit and a vegetable to supplement her sack lunch.

http://www.carolinajournal.com/exclusives/homemade-lunch-replaced-with-cafeteria-nuggets.html

And this from Human Events:

While the mother and grandmother thought the potato chips and lack of vegetable were what disqualified the lunch, a spokeswoman for the Division of Child Development said that should not have been a problem.

“With a turkey sandwich, that covers your protein, your grain, and if it had cheese on it, that’s the dairy,” said Jani Kozlowski, the fiscal and statutory policy manager for the division. “It sounds like the lunch itself would’ve met all of the standard.” The lunch has to include a fruit or vegetable, but not both, she said.

There are no clear restrictions about what additional items — like potato chips — can be included in preschoolers’ lunch boxes.

“If a parent sends their child with a Coke and a Twinkie, the child care provider is going to need to provide a balanced lunch for the child,” Kozlowski said.

Ultimately, the child care provider can’t take the Coke and Twinkie away from the child, but Kozlowski said she “would think the Pre-K provider would talk with the parent about that not being a healthy choice for their child.”

http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=49543

Now a 2nd incident.   From The Blaze:

 

The policing of children’s food at West Hoke has been portrayed as an isolated incident, but a curious memo Jazlyn brought home to her mother seems to point to something more.

The memo Jazlyn brought from the school outlines the necessary nutritional requirements students’ homemade lunches must contain: two servings of fruit or vegetables, one serving of dairy, one serving of grain and one serving of meat or meat substitute. Included with the memo was a separate sheet, this one a bill for the cafeteria food Jazlyn was served.

The memo, dated Jan. 27 with the subject line “RE: Healthy Lunches,” was signed by school principal Jackie Samuels and said, while “we welcome students to bring lunches from home … it must be a nutritious, balanced meal with the above requirements. Students, who do not bring a healthy lunch, will be offered the missing portions which may result in a fee from the cafeteria.”

 

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/exclusive-2nd-n-c-mother-says-daughters-school-lunch-replaced-for-not-being-healthy-enough/

 

Health Reform via Super Bowl

My article as originally published in American Thinker:  

My wife is brilliant. She just figured out an ingenious way to illustrate one of the major problems with our health care system and stumbled on a solution to boot. The solution would be to just have the Super Bowl on a daily basis. Now, wait a minute and hear me out.

My wife made an appointment for our daughter to see the doctor this morning because the latter appeared (now confirmed) to have an ear infection. Usually it’s a little busy on Sundays because fewer facilities are open, but today it wasn’t quite as busy.

My wife made an interesting observation in human behavior (no, not that husbands hadn’t begun beating their wives yet due to the game not having started): the lack of busyness was due to it being Super Bowl Sunday. She theorized that fewer people would show up for minor issues because of the Super Bowl and that only the truly sick or injured would come in for treatment. And she appears to have been correct.

With no real reason to control spending, people tend to spend frivolously, but in this case, the prospect of missing the Super Bowl was incentive enough to stay home. Why is there usually so little incentive to control spending under current health care plans? This Heritage piece helps to explain:

 

One reason is the disconnection between patients’ wallets and their health care bills.

Most Americans get health insurance through their employers. They neither witness nor control the flow of their dollars from employer to insurer to health care provider. Yes, those health care dollars are their compensation, just like wages. But with no visible “skin in the game,” they have little incentive to limit spending.

 

Unfortunately, Obamacare places an even larger disconnect between patients and their health care bills. If it isn’t overturned, we can expect health care costs to rise significantly. Heritage has some good free-market alternatives to Obamacare that would actually work.

As for me, I should listen to my wife more often.

 

The Attempt at Education Reform

Most generally agree monopolies are a bad thing yet many seem to have no issue with the government education monopoly.

This is a good read by Derek Hunter At Townhall.

Would any concerned parent willingly send their children to an average public school in this country if there was an option available?

The word “concerned” in the question should be a tipoff that the answer is no. Still, states, localities and the federal government continue to dump billions of our hard-earned tax dollars into a system that is rotten to its core.

Read the rest at Townhall.com  

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So What is the Real Unemployment Rate?

Is there a little bit of BS going on at the BLS?

Check out John Ransom’s piece at Townhall.com

Another 1.2 million people dropped out the workforce, which means that Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) economists can say that unemployment has moved down to 8.3 percent without that messy job-creation thing getting in the way.

[snip]

ZeroHedge says that if you add back in the 5 million people who have permanently dropped out the labor force, as reflected in the historical average workforce participations rates, the “implied” unemployment rate is 11.5 percent and rising, not falling.

You can’t let a little thing like math get in the way of Obama’s re-election campaign!

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