American Elephants

Americans Are Fed Up. The Problem is The Government! by The Elephant's Child

From Investors Business Daily:obama-angry-8-560x350

A new Gallup poll finds that Americans are fed up with ever-encroaching, corrupt and incompetent government, as represented by ObamaCare and other federal policies.

For the first time since Gallup has conducted polling, people say that the “biggest problem” in America is “the government.” It topped all other categories, including terrorism. “2014 was the first year ever in Gallup records that dissatisfaction with government topped the list,” the 80-year-old firm said. “Government includes dissatisfaction with President Obama.”

And angst over government has been climbing each year since 2009, when Obama took office, breaking a long period of relative satisfaction with government.

Americans aren’t buying what the administration is selling. They believe that government should play a small role in the lives of American citizens. They want to run their own lives, thank you very much. They are simply not convinced that the federal government can do anything very well, and does most things badly. Obama has nattered on about preserving our freedom and our happiness, but Americans would rather do it themselves.

We are entering an unusually dangerous period. The administration has believed that the U.S. national security presence in the world — the American military —has been too large and is determined to reduce that presence. Mr. Obama delivered this statement recently on NPR:

“When it comes to ISIL, us devoting another trillion dollars after having been involved in big occupations of countries that didn’t turn out all that well” is something he is hesitant to do.

Instead, he said, “We need to spend a trillion dollars rebuilding our schools, our roads, our basic science and research here in the United States; that is going to be a recipe for our long-term security and success.”

What on earth does he mean by that straw man argument? Is it just the usual roads and bridges he pulls out whenever he is being criticized? A trillion dollars for precisely what? And how does that protect us from an Iranian nuclear device or a loss of Iraq and Afghanistan to the terrorists emboldened by his disinterest. The success of ISIS has emboldened other terrorist groups. Yemen, Libya, Nigeria. How soon with the Taliban move to retake Kandahar now that the “combat mission” is ended. Ukraine? Russia ? Latvia is moving heavy armor up to their border.

A recent  Pew Survey found that:

The international survey found that the U.S. leads the world in the belief that you determine your fate. It found that Americans are the “least likely to say they are not the masters of their fate” and the most likely to say that their fate is in their own hands.

“The percentage of Americans who say hard work is very important to getting ahead in life is among the highest across all 44 countries,” Pew said. This is the opposite of Obama’s worldview.

Obama is arrogant and belligerent. He will veto any Keystone bill or anything else that does not conform to his worldview. And if he is not sent bills of which he approves, he will take action on his own. So there you are.

From Mike Rowe, the Dirty Jobs guy, a little advice about work: by The Elephant's Child

mikerowe1Reprinted from last April, Still excellent advice.

Stop looking for the “right career,” and start looking for a job. Forget about what you like. Focus on what’s available. Get yourself hired. Show up early. Stay late. Volunteer for the scut work. Become indispensable. You can always quit later, and be no worse off than you are today. But don’t waste another year looking for a career that doesn’t exist. And most of all, stop worrying about your happiness. Happiness does not come from a job. It comes from knowing what you truly value, and behaving in a way that’s consistent with those beliefs.

Pass it on to those who are in need of advice. They won’t like it, but they might appreciate it.

Drumming Up Grievance About Income Inequality is a Political Racket! by The Elephant's Child

You surely understand by now that the Left has only your own best interests in mind. You can tell that to be the case because they are so valiantly trying to make everybody equal.  No one should be better off than you are, and if you just turn things over to them, they’ll make everything fair. The goal is equality.

That is not true. The goal is to make you concerned about income inequality. Economic disparities and gaps are automatically treated as inequities, and you are supposed to be resentful. If you are resentful enough, you will elect Democrats to fix the inequities that are so troublesome, and make things “fair.” Tom Sowell:

If one racial or ethnic group has a lower income than another, that is automatically called “discrimination” by many people in politics, the media and academia. It doesn’t matter how much evidence there is that some groups work harder in school, perform better and spend more postgraduate years studying to acquire valuable skills in medicine, science or engineering.

If the economic end results are unequal, that is treated as a grievance against those with better outcomes, and a sign of an “unfair” society.

The rhetoric of clever people often confuses the undeniable fact that life is unfair with the claim that a given institution or society is unfair.

Children born into families that raise them with love and with care to see that they acquire knowledge, values and discipline that will make them valuable members of society have far more chances of economic and other success in adulthood than children raised in families that lack these qualities.

When your mother told you that “Life is not fair,” she knew what she was talking about. People in their prime earning  years make more than those who are just starting out. People who work harder and acquire important skills earn more than those who don’t work hard and don’t study. Beautiful people get ahead on their beauty. Is it fair when someone else is prettier than you are?

A little known regulation in the Dodd-Frank Bill to be finalized later this year forces companies to disclose how many times more their Chief Executive Officers earn compared to rank and file employees.

This provision is backed by labor unions like the AFL-CIO, which aims to “shame companies into lowering CEO pay. The ” pay ratio disclosure rule” originally found in section 953(b) of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform of 2010, requires all publicly traded companies to disclose the ratio of the CEO’s salary compared to the median salary of all employees at the company in the company’s annual report. The aim of the requirement is clearly meant to arouse envy and demands for “fairness.”

A Chief Executive’s pay package is determined by the Board of Directors of a corporation subject to approval by the shareholders. And is not really the government’s business. Good CEOs can be invaluable to business, and those who can make significant difference for their company deserve good remuneration. The Leftists who increasingly inhabit the faculty lounges have long been deeply envious of CEO pay. In the firm belief (they have PhDs) that they are smarter than any businessman, they find this deeply unfair.

I have never understood the envy. I have always known people personally who are much poorer and less fortunate and people who are somewhere up in the One percent, as did both my parents. My life is mine to develop. What can I accomplish with my own skill and determination? Some thing won’t work out, some will be disasters and some will work very well indeed. As Frank Sinatra used to sing —”I did it my way.”

Other than that, you can get a good agent and/or a good lawyer. That seems to work for sports stars and movie stars.

When Government Goes Too Far by The Elephant's Child

You give them an inch and they take a mile. When the environmentalists decided that we had to recycle our garbage to save the planet, the first idea was about paper. We were cutting down all the nation’s trees (a renewable resource) just to make paper that we threw in the garbage. If we saved the paper and recycled it, we could use the same supply over and over and save the trees (a renewable resource). Uh huh.

When the people found out that recycled paper goods cost more than new ones, they lost interest. The paper business noticed that some species of trees were fast growing, and started planting tree farms with the faster growing kind of trees. The eco-loons were not interested.

Business saw an opportunity to appeal to a new audience, and everything paper-wise started to come with a notice that it was printed on recycled paper, then they added water-based inks, and now its the “Sustainable Forest Initiative.” The Eco-loons are determined to save the world by ever more control of your life. The people are getting fed up!

Our local recycling company, employed by the city, has notified us that they want us to bag up all our plastic bags in one bag before putting them in the recycling bin. Conversely, foam meat trays and hamburger boxes can now go directly in the garbage.

In Seattle, however, beginning January 1, anyone caught putting food waste, food, hamburger wrappers, and that paper towel you used to clean up the tomato soup you spilled into your garbage is in trouble with the law. $1 fine for first offense. Serial offenders — $50! Mandatory recycling. Further limits are sure to follow. They go too far.

The waste  paper is mostly exported to other countries that are not blessed with such bountiful forests. A lot of the recycled stuff piles up, as there is no buyer. There is a definite limit to the annoyance and trouble  people will put up with. Trees are a renewable resource. Compost made from recycled food  waste is not noticeably cheaper than regular compost. I have seen no evidence that these mandatory recycling efforts are a positive good.

Seattle’s new program is “one of the toughest mandatory composting efforts in the country” in a city considered “a leader in urban sustainability and recycling efforts.”

The pressure on government at all levels by radical environmentalists cannot be underestimated. This is the same city council that a while back wanted to rip out the dams in the Columbia River until they took a field trip to Eastern Washington and found out how big the Columbia River is and how big the dams were, and how much hydroelectric energy they produced (a renewable resource). Fortunately, I do not live in Seattle.

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