Bio: Evengelical about his faith and love for God, his wife, and the entrepreneural sprit of small business owners.
Posts by Michael Banner:
- Gone is “Father Knows Best” or even “The Cosby Show”; replaced by “Modern Family” or “Housewives of You-Name-It”.
- Gone is “Ask not what your country can do for you”; replaced by “What’s in it for me?” or “Where’s mine?”
- Gone are the community shared in a neighborhood BBQ; replaced by Tweeting & Facebook.
- Gone is the general respect for others in public discourse; replaced by a complete lack of civility.
- Gone is the belief in peace through strength; replaced by the assumption that if we are nice enough, the bad guys will leave us alone.
- Gone is the sense that business owners are the hope for our economy; replaced by belief in more government “investment”.
- Gone is the need for incentives to breed success; replaced by a belief we need to penalize achievers more.
- Gone are the Ten Commandments; replaced by belief in the Judiciary determining what is right or wrong.
- Gone is fiscal responsibility: that sense that you don’t spend money if you don’t have it; replaced by more debt and indifference for our concrete path towards insolvency.
- Gone is the belief in your family or your church to help you out in times of need; replaced by an expectation that the government is supposed to be there for everything.
After reading so many stories about the proposed course of action the US should take against Syria, something struck me: what if our nation’s police forces, in dealing with their criminals, were to follow the same policies our President would have us follow in dealing with Syria? Further, if this were a TV show, let’s call it Law & Order: Syria Policy Unit, would the American people find this remotely believable?
With Law & Order: SPU, the antagonist is a serial killer, who is currently holed up in his lair, trying to avoid capture or death. Based on previous Law and Order episodes, we would expect the police to knock down the “suspect’s” door and arrest or kill him, if he attempted to use deadly force against the arresting officers. However, in our TV show, let’s see what the police would have done with this “suspected” serial killer.
The police commander, we’ll call him Barry, would have announced on TV to the public, rather than directly to the serial killer, we’ll call him Cyril; that if that he were to use a really big weapon next time, killing many people at once, Cyril would have crossed a red line. If he did, the police were then going to come and get him.
Many boring episodes later, we come to find out that the Cyril did in fact use a really big weapon to murder many people, and the police had irrefutable proof of this crime, no doubt from their CSI: Syria unit. Barry’s police prep for a plan and his PR officers make public statements on TV news programs that it is necessary to do something to Cyril. Barry orders a police car, with a gun with a few bullets, to drive around Cyril’s neighborhood.
On the next episode, we find another police force commander, we’ll call him Dave. His police voted and said they would not support Barry’s police if they decided to do something to Cyril. Dave says, although he believes something should be done to Cyril, he will support the vote.
Barry’s PR officers state that there never was a red line and that Barry will make a big speech on what action the police will be taken against Cyril. Some of the neighboring criminals speak out against Barry and his police force. One of the worst neighboring criminals, we’ll call him Russ, announces that he doesn’t believe in the proof from CSI: Syria. Russ threatens severe consequences if Barry’s police take action against Cyril. A flashback reminds us that Russ is also a big arms dealer who has sold Cyril many of his weapons.
Barry during his ‘big’ speech, he has a plan, which had been leaked in a previous episode, whereby the police will shoot a few bullets into Cyril’s windows, but promise they would not physically approach Cyril nor would they try to arrest or kill him. Berry then surprises every one, in that he decided to have all of his officers vote first on the plan before moving forward. The audience suspects that Barry is hoping to follow in Dave’s footsteps, and look to others for cover. Barry schedules another public speech, where he plans on explaining to his department why they should vote for his plan of firing a couple of bullets through Cyril’s windows, but not actually arresting him.
On yesterday’s “jump the shark” episode, Russ announces again on TV (Barry and Russ are obviously not talking) that he has a great new proposal; if Cyril would just give up his really big weapon, then Barry could just forget about all the mass murders Cyril committed and let bygones be bygones. Cyril says he would go for this. Barry and his police consider the proposal.
Were these the episodes of our fictional Law & Order: SPU, it would not be believable to the TV viewing public. Yet, in the real life version of this TV drama, today we’ll hear from Barry, I mean our President. Will, he make the case for his proposal of policing Syria by shooting a couple of cruise missiles through Assad’s windows, and telling him ahead of time that that’s all we will do, and that this will be enough to avert this future bad behavior? Or maybe he’ll accept Russ’ proposal? Based on poling data, it doesn’t look like the American public is buying the real life version of this made-for-TV drama either.
When a TV show’s ratings are as bad as they are for our president; the hope of show producers is that the introduction of the “jump the shark” episode will ramp up ratings again. It didn’t work for the Fonz; it certainly will not work for the Prez! Regardless, we all have the feeling that this drama has had one too many episodes and wish it were getting cancelled soon.
The debate recently foisted upon America, not triggered by the evil deaths of innocents, but by the crises of conscience of those in power (and those in media who believe they are in power), has inexorably delivered our collective thinking to the certainty that more rules & less bullets will save our society from gun violence; which statistically speaking has gone down over the last twenty years. The President happily took this diversion, from the true elephant in the room, the national debt crisis caused by our mutual dependence on spending our children’s children’s inheritance. “The debate is over!” many would argue. And now the dispute is simply how many bullets and new restrictions are acceptable. I for one welcome this argument, but from a different perspective. Today’s most important question is, how can we reduce the number of bullets we give congress?
A hunting buddy of mine once told me, “If you give me a gun with fewer bullets, I will be a better shot.” The wisdom in this statement is obvious: having less means you have to more careful with what you do have. Even accepting the anti-gun argument, that new bans & limitations will make it harder for evil-doers with guns to get more bullets (or shoot more bullets), which would result in less carnage, ignores human nature (assuming these murderers are human of course). Would not knowing they have fewer bullets to work with, cause shooters to be more careful with their shots? But I truly digress, as have all of us.
If we could ban the obscenely high magazine capacity (imagine a magazine with unlimited bullets) of public debt, would it not cause Congress, the Senate, and the President to make do with less? If we limited their ability to get their hands on their magic bullets, known as new taxes, would it not cause our government to make do with the ammunition they already have? “Who needs so many bullets!” was a recent cry. I agree!!! Or my favorite, “Why does a hunter need an assault weapon?” Here is a better question, “Why do we let our government assault us every year with the weapons of ever increasing taxes, and gross financial mismanagement?”
New debates, fueled by real crises, will soon take over the imagined one on guns: the debt ceiling, sequestration, and more new taxes. Let us take our collective new thinking about weapons and apply that same logic in the coming months to saving our economy, which is already too week from the mass shootings of $5 Billion in new debt the past four years. Let’s do it for our children, and our children’s children. Give our government fewer bullets to work with.
I wake up today with that deep, cold, depressing sense of loss. Worse than the feeling when your favorite team has just lost the big game and its star quarterback is out for the season. That feeling is fleeting, always replaced by the hope of next season. No, it’s far worse than that. It is equivalent to when someone close to you has died; and that palatable sense that your life will never be the same because of the void left by that person’s death. That is how I feel, and perhaps so do almost 61 million others who voted the way I did, only to wake up to the realization that my America, the America I thought I still lived in, is gone!
It’s true, part of my sense of loss is just the plain distaste of losing an election, but I have come to realize it’s so much more than that. It’s the recognition and foreboding dismay that my country is no longer made up of mostly people like me. The core values & beliefs I have cherished since childhood are no longer the values or beliefs my neighbor holds up as honorable or preferential. In hindsight, when I consider the signs that this change has been coming, the evidence is pervasive.
What is most shocking is how quickly this change has occurred. In a little less than a generation, perhaps starting around the time of President Clinton, the focus and belief of America has changed. And I don’t like it.
Our current President rode into the White House with the campaign promise of change, but he wasn’t really the one who changed this country. America had changed already. He just happened to articulate what the country already believed.
I have not wanted to concede to my country’s paradigm shift. But Paul the Apostille reminds me, “When I was a child… I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.” It is time to move on and accept this ‘new’ paradigm. It is time to accept that my quarterback is not going to get up and win the game in the Fourth Quarter: The majority of America does not see this country as a “shining city on a hill” anymore.
I know this sense of mourning will pass. Life will go on. And of course, this acceptance does not change my belief in our God given rights of freedom & liberty; in our incredible economy that rewards success; and in always having the hope of a better day. Those beliefs will permanently be mine. But, inescapably, I will mourn this day, the day I realized the America I once knew is gone.
Although Paul Ryan did a pretty good job in the Vice Presidential Debate last night, I thought there were many opportunities to ask Joe Bidden questions that have not yet been answered by the President, Vice President, or other Democrats. Here are my top ten:
- You, the President, & your party continue to repeat the rhetoric that Governor Romney wants to bring us back to the “same policies that got us into this mess”, but what exactly are those policies and exactly how did they contribute to the recession?
- You, the President, & your party also continue to repeat the rhetoric that we should stay the course and not make a change now, but how do higher taxes and higher deficits help our economy?
- How do you get to a balanced budget by only taxing the top 1%? As Paul Ryan pointed out, if you doubled their taxes, that would only cover 10% of the deficit! Where’s the other 90% coming from?
- The President has said in the past that it’s not good to raise taxes in a bad economy, you even call this bad economy the “Great Recession”, why then is now a good time to raise taxes, and on those whom are most productive?
- More specifically, how is taxing the top 1% going to improve the economy? Name one country that taxed itself back into prosperity!
- You say that the Republicans are holding the middle class hostage by not allowing taxes to be raised on the top 1%, but by that same logic are you not holding everyone hostage by demanding that we raise taxes on the top 1% or everyone’s taxes will go up?
- Your thinking is fundamentally flawed in believing that if you increase taxes on the top 1% that they will not change behavior and adjust their activities so as to not pay as much taxes. In other words, you change the activities of the most productive of our economy towards tax avoidance vs. being more productive. How is this going to help the middle class?
- You & the President have made an issue about Romney paying a lower percentage than he should have, often comparing his rate to wage earners, but isn’t he paying the rate he should? Should he voluntarily pay more to the government than he is supposed to?
- And because Mr. Romney is essentially retired and therefore receiving his investment returns (not earnings, like a wage earner) back over time, also known as capital gains, why do you compare the two as if they were the same?
- The Democratic Party led by this President has made success a dirty word. We should be looking up to and modeling ourselves after the most successful in our society and not tearing them down. Since when is it a bad thing for someone to create a business that gives customers what they want, employs people, pays taxes, and then gets rewarded economically for their success?
Go ahead Mr. Vice President, I dare you to stop smirking, pointing your finger, and answer these questions!
While our narcissistic Avoider-in-Chief desperately attempts to move the focus of the national conversation to anything but the economy, we are continually reminded of how bad things are and how much worse they could become. This past week the reminders came from the EU, that hodgepodge of Western European Socialist countries who have stuck their heads in the sand but once more and refused to deal the obvious fact that everyone else sees: YOU ARE BANKRUPT!
Reminder #1: Former President Nicolas Sarkozy becomes one of the few French leaders to be defeated for a second term, by a big time Socialist none the less who has never held elected office; all because Sarkozy had the gall to suggest that France deal with its ridiculously bloated government & subsequent debt problems through austerity measures. However, because something like three quarters of the population (The US is at 70%) are receiving government handouts, the French populous voted for the “don’t take away mine, take it from the rich guy!” ticket. Now, ‘quelle surprise’, the uber-rich of France are looking to relocate across the Channel to their much more economically friendly neighbor, England.
Reminder #2: The government of Greece, who is what France is becoming, couldn’t decide on what to do regarding its debt, so once more they will have their umteenth election to find more representatives to not deal with their problems (Deficit at 170% of GDP, 21% unemployment, & -4% GDP growth). Meanwhile, unemployed bums, who continue to receive handouts from their government, have once again taken to the streets to protest even the thought that they should get a job and stop taking money from their government.
America, can you see the writing on the wall???
Our perpetual Candidate-in-Chief, who has now done more re-election fundraising events than all previous incumbent presidents since Richard Nixon - COMBINED (This is true. Really!), is running on the ticket of “we can keep spending money we don’t have and taxing ourselves into prosperity” ticket. Which countries does this remind you of??? Don’t tell me… I know the answer… Oh yeah, France & Greece! How’s that plan working out for you?
So, what is the great Divider-in-Chief’s answer on how to deal with our economy’s looming problems… “My opinion about gay marriage is evolving… Guess what? I support it!” Now, paragons of virtue like Ms. (Sorry, I will not say Mrs.) Yep-I’m-Gay, Ellen Degenerate and her Hollywood friends can open up their bank accounts to support the one president who understands their cause. Meanwhile, Evangelicals NOW feel motivated to support his opponent. All the while Rome is STILL burning folks!
To quote the only semi-intelligent quip ever uttered by the rambling James Carville, “It’s the economy stupid!”
Fact #1: Do not spend more than you have
Every one of us knows that if we spend more than we have, it’s called debt. Further we know, if our debt gets too big, we will become unable to pay, and that is called insolvency. When that happens, banks cut up our credit cards and we are forced to deal with the problem. Can anyone argue with a straight face and more than a fifth grade education, that this isn’t where France and Greece are, and where the US is going if we don’t take our debt problem seriously? Unlike with our families, our nation will not have it’s credit card taken away (Can we wait for China to make the call?), unless we elect adults to national office to deal with this problem.
Fact #2: The economy is dynamic not static
We have been incecently taught by our media & government the belief that if someone gets richer, it means someone else got poorer. Leading the charge is our Deceiver-in-Chief, promoting the idea being that the economy is one fixed pool of money, so naturally a rich person growing his wealth, lowers what is available from that pool: If someone wins, naturally, someone else loses. Not only is this wrong, it’s just plain stupid. Were that the case, the world would have the same gross domestic product every year since the beginning of time. The simple truth is that economies are either growing or dying. They are never static. That means, when someone gets rich, their money provides opportunities for others to get rich. Just think Apple, or Bill Gates, or when a new employer opens up shop in a small town. The point being, our goal as a nation should be to set up policies to enable as many people as possible to become rich.
Fact #3: We cannot tax our way to prosperity
Ok name just one country where this has worked. I know this is an over simplification. But really people, can you not see the futility in the practice of raising taxes? When you raise taxes enough on one class of people, those people will most certainly change their behavior, thus lowering the expected tax revenues collected by that government. There are so many examples of this; it’s actually creepy that this point is still argued by the Left. I offer one recent example: In February, it was reported that UK tax revenues from the top 50 British tax payers were lower than last year, even though the country increased the tax rate. They have admitted that the targeted well-off Britons were “maneuvering to avoid the new high rate.” One word, Dah!
The facts are simple. Unless the US gets its financial house in order, and cuts spending, increases incentives for businesses to grow, provides economic freedom, and lowers taxes; we will be bankrupt, just like France and Greece. It is only a matter of time. So, when casting your vote in November, please don’t vote for the “what’s in it for me” ticket. Instead, vote for the candidate that knows it is STILL all about the economy.
Daily I read article after article that yells to me, and apparently me alone, the biggest earthly cause of our economic troubles in America and abroad. It’s not the greedy bankers of Wall Street; it’s not the inept politicians (come on… who elected these people after all?); it’s not that we aren’t taxing the rich enough or too much; it’s not the housing crisis; and it’s not monetary policy, which is way too loose. NO! These are but effects of the root cause of our economic maladies. If I were James Carville, I would say (In my best drawl), “It’s the lack of understanding about the economy, stupid!” And the fault of this rests clearly upon our parents and our schools and universities.
The protestors shouldn’t be camped out on Wall Street; they should be camped out on the lawns of America’s Universities! After all, many of these same protestors are direct products of the dribble, which constitutes higher learning nowadays, from our universities. I offer as Exhibit A, the article How the Death Tax Hurts the Poor by Steven E. Landsburg. Although I would agree with the basic premise that “death taxes hurt the poor”, how he gets there is through some truly insane logic. Let me paraphrase, ‘because we have a death tax, rich people consume more (i.e. buy airplanes & mansions); because of this, they consume more resources (i.e. metal and wood used to build); therefore, there are less resources for industry to use to grow, which means less jobs, which therefore hurts the poor.’ Did you get that???
There is sooooo much to take issue with here, but my biggest beef is with the thinking, which is ubiquitous right now, that the economic pie is static and therefore if one class of society takes from that pie, there is therefore less for someone else. THIS thinking is so resolutely wrong; I’m surprised I even have to argue this point. Simply examine the economic data at some point far enough in the past to avoid common cyclical patterns (i.e. one to several generations) and compare to today (even with our depressed economy). Look at Gross Domestic Product, inflation adjusted Median Income, Money Supply, or any other metric and you will see an overall increase in the size of the pie!
In other words, when Scrooge McDuck (that’s the greedy rich person) buys an airplane or builds another mansion, it is true, he does use more resources. However, when more resources are used, our economy finds/digs/drills/builds more to supply all the other Scrooge McDucks out there. And if our economy does this more and more, it will need to hire more to supply all the Scrooges out there. That means more jobs, more income, and a more vibrant economy. Again, the pie grows. This is Econ 101!
It would be one thing if this person was just some talking head buffoon with a blog (he has one here too). No, this is professor of economics at the University of Rochester in New York. Worse yet, he holds as proof to his illogic, the research of other professors.
I offer Exhibit B, GOP-style wealth distribution erodes equal opportunity, by Eugene Robinson, also from today, positing that because the top 1% income has grown so much more from 1979 to 2007 than the bottom lowest 1/5th, that it was evidence of the “stealing from the poor to give to the rich.” Mr. Robinson, who uses the pie analogy too, can be excused from his economic ineptness, he’s not a professor, he’s just a product of the American Education System.
Yes, there is much conflict and disagreement in Washington DC. But I ask how can you have a healthy debate about tax and economic policy with people who don’t even understand the economy? I’m praying that the Paul Ryan’s of our country stand up and educate the masses about basic economics as they help many of the understandably confused what ails our economy.
I think today (Saturday) is perfect to announce my plan: Occupy University! Here’s the idea, a mass of people, will dress in similar colored shirts on the lawns of our universities. We will sit around and consume resources (beer & pizza being the most favored), even though this WILL mean less of those resources for others. And we will not leave, until the university teaches economics to all Americans… Or, until the tailgate is over and have to go in an watch the football game.
Am I the only one who is amazed at the surety of dates or ages reported in the media these days when reporting the subject of evolution? I give you Exhibit A from a renowned journal of misinformation, The New York Times: Evolution Right Under Our Noses, posted today. This article tells us about evolution occurring right under our noses in urban centers such as NYC, “In short, the process of evolution is responding to New York and other cities the way it has responded to countless environmental changes over the past few billion years. Life adapts.”
Skip for a moment the implied premise (later elucidated) here that macro evolution (i.e. evolution from one species to another) is occurring right under our noses (mine’s only 48 years old), even though we have been told by scientists that this process would have had to have taken many billions of years, assuming this was even possible. Of course compounding the problem, ever naïve media lumps macro & micro evolution together as if they were the same. They are not. One is proven: micro evolution. One is not: macro evolution.
The reason for my incredulity is that these estimates of years are always thrown out as factoid bearing as much weight as would the date we are going to hit the US debt ceiling. It’ like the reporter checked his day planner “a few billion years ago” and said, “Yep, that’s when “The Process” started.” We are schooled from this paradigm time and time again when bones or rocks have been excavated. In every case, reporters state unequivocally in terms of “thousands,” or “millions,” or even “billions” of years. Almost never is even a source quoted, such as “Joe Scientist stated”. To me it begs the question, “How do you know… Were you there?” Yet, without eye witness account or some other objective criteria to provide proof, these kinds of dates can only be estimated. At most, it’s current science’s best guess. But, make no mistake, even the scientific community does not know with the kind of precision reported.
Later in the article we’re told about ever-evolving, white-footed mice that arrived in “the New York City region after ice age glaciers retreated 12,000 years ago.” Ok fine. Since I had lunch that Tuesday in Los Angeles, 12,000 years ago I cannot verify this. So I want proof.
Google has rolled out a new credit card targeted to small businesses, to be used only for advertising on Google’s Adwords. Working with World Financial Capital Bank, the card will have a fixed interest of 8.99%.
This may sound like a great idea, but smallbiz owners should think this through before applying. Financing online advertising might be a bad idea. Online ad campaigns, like Google Adwords should be profitable and pay for themselves. If they are not profitable, you should not do them unless you have a large amount of capital committed to building your brand. But, in that case, you would not need to borrow on a credit card.
If your smallbiz has not advertised on Google or Facebook yet, look for one of the free signup deals floating around. Check with your web host. Most offer between $50 to $300 in free advertising to test their program. Sign up, use the free money to test your campaign, if it looks profitable, fund it.
Read the full articles by going to American Banker.
“What do you think? There was a man who had two sons. He went to the first and said, “Son, go and work today in the vineyard.”
“I will not,” he answered, but later he changed his mind and went.
“Then the father went to the other son and said the same thing. He answered, “I will, sir,” but he did not go.
“Which of the two did what his father wanted?”
“The first,” they [the chief priests] answered.
Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you. For John came to you to show you the way of rightousness, and you did not belive him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.” Matthew 21:28-32 (The Parable of the Two Sons).
This is a simple parable that Jesus used to show “the chief preists and elders of the people”, who were so legalistic, that those who believe will enter the kingdom of God, even if they continue to sin. Yet those who don’t believe, even if they follow the law (what the Father wanted), will not.
In other words, it is not what you do; it is what you believe. You cannot earn your way to heaven no matter how much you do on this earth. Jesus comes to each of us asking us to simply believe in him. Do you?
“You may say to yourselves, “How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the LORD?” If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken.” Deut 18:21
“Beware of false prophets… By their fruit you will recognize them.” Mat 7:15 & 16
- May 17, 2011: Harold Camping states the certainty of Judgement Day coming on May 21st, 2011 with great earth quakes around the world and all true believers being raptured to heaven with the dead in Christ,
“God has given us so much proof of this… It is absolutely going to happen… The bible guarantees it.”
- May 21st, 2011: No comment
- May 23st, 2011: Harold Camping speaks to his mistaken prophecy that Judgment Day on May 21, 2011 was
“to be understood spiritually, not physically…. The fact is, when we look at it spiritually, we find that he did come… God again brought Judgment on the world” and although “We didn’t see any difference in the world,” it happened and “It will continue right up until October 21, 2011 and at that time the whole world will be destroyed.”
“Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute” 2 Pet 2:2