The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.
Have you seen the movie “We Bought a Zoo” starring Matt Damon?
Yea… me either. The pastor at the church I attend used this clip as a sermon illustration a couple of weeks ago, and I can’t seem to get it out of my head.
His point was that sometimes all it takes in 20 seconds of “insane courage” to change the world. I believe, without a shadow of a doubt, that how we live and love will change the world… if we change the world for the better or worst is yet to be determined. Knowing this, how should it change the Church’s perspective on today’s big issues? Poverty? Endless wars? Run away government debt? Gay Marriage? As always… comments are welcome and email subscriptions are strongly encouraged. Also check out @AfterThePeriod and “Like” us on Facebook.
The image below shows the returns of the S&P 500 over that last decade. It’s clear that we are living in a boom and bust economy now more than perhaps ever. The first boom and bust was the internet bubble. The second was the real estate bubble. The third is yet to be determined. My personal investment advice is to tread lightly. As the last 10 years show, the S&P 500 has never quite reached 1600. Of course this may be gravity not destiny.
I’m a big fan of Jon Stewart and the Daily Show. I don’t always, in fact rarely, do I agree with his ideas on politics, but I’m a fan of his journalistic style. Over time, I’ve been able to observe Mr. Stewart making unfair claims about the libertarian politically worldview. I often wish I could refute his claims, because I truly believe a libertarian political worldview is the most ideologically consistent. YouTube suggested this video to me, and I really like it. If you are a fan of the Daily Show, like I am, then I would encourage you to watch it as well.
I had two reactions when I learned that Michigan’s state government passed right-to-work legislation earlier this week. First, I was surprised. Historically speaking, Michigan has been a very strong union state. The auto unions have dominated that area politically. Many may remember the impact of the UAW on the General Motors bailout. In an unprecedented move, the UAW was able to supersede bondholders in bankruptcy holder. Meaning people that loaded money to GM got nothing, while auto workers and union bosses continued to receive full benefits.
My second reaction to the news was happiness. I believe forcing workers to pay union dues violates both of the basic beliefs on libertarianism– individual liberty and non-aggression. Right-to-work laws do not, as the name may suggest, guarantee of employment, rather these type of laws prohibit employers from discriminating against non-union workers. As a libertarian my concern is for the individual. Forcing union membership on workers restricts individual liberty. Furthermore, I believe that at their core, unions are aggressive creations. Unions are collections or mobs of people that form together to forcefully persuade employers to give-in to demands.
Overall, the topic of union is a very polarizing issue. People on both sides tend to believe they are right. My economic opinion is that group thinking often leads to bad economic decisions, but promoting individual liberty can allow everyone to rise and fail based on their own work. As always… comments are welcome and email subscriptions are strongly encouraged. Also check out @AfterThePeriod and “Like” us on Facebook.
Democrats all across the country are cheering in the aftermath of Obama’s victory on Tuesday, while Republicans remain bitter and pessimistic about our nation’s future. Admittedly, watching the whole election play itself out was one heck of a roller-coaster ride. This was an election full of hilarious gaffs, shifting polls, bizarre campaign ads, and frustrating debates. In total nearly $7 billion was spent on the 2012 presidential election. In the end, American picked the same guy as last time. I guess roller-coasters always pull back into the same station. The political, economic and social future of America leaves me with many wandering thoughts and unanswered questions. I hope the thoughts below spark an interesting conversation.
I was pleased that this election went smoothly. There was talk leading up to the election that we wouldn’t know the winner for weeks. Of course there are all sort of explanations flying around about what cost Romney the election. Regardless, I believe much can be deciphered about the political future of America from analyzing the voter results themselves.
Apart from the horrible graphics, this Wall Street Journal video does a great job characterizing voter trends. Liberals dominate the minority and women vote. If the Republicans were unsure about their political strategy… when 92% of African-Americans, 69% of Latinos, 70% of Asians, and 60% of women vote Democrat—it’s time for a change. The smart move for Republicans would be to push for more female and minority candidates as the data seemingly shows Caucasians are more willing to vote for a minority candidate then vice versa. With this is mind, I would look for Condoleezza Rice or Marco Rubio to run in 2016 over Chris Christie. 2016 could pin Rice up against Hilary Clinton. That could make for a history election, one that would guarantee the United States’ first female president. This election could force folks to remove race as a determining factor at the polls. If both parties ran women/minority candidates, then the only deciding variable left would be policy.
Strict conservatives shouldn’t be overly concerned with the outcome of Tuesday’s election. Even though the Obama was reelected, Republicans were incredibly successful in state government elections in 2012. This map shows Republican and Democrat control of state governments in 2010. Compare that map this map, which shows 2012 control. It’s clear Republicans are well represented at the state level. This is an extreme advantage for conservatives because this gives them the chance to draw stark contrasts between themselves and Democrat governance. Already, Republican governors can boast significantly lower unemployment in the states they govern. Red states will most likely get stronger as high taxes, rogue unions, terrible public schools, and lush welfare systems push productive citizens and businesses to leave Democrat states and seek much friendlier Republican states.
Politics aside, everyone knows economics was the number one issue of this election. Early indicators point to a rough next for 4 years. The stock market has been on a roller-coaster since Obama was reelected. Wednesday and Thursday the S&P 500 was down 3.56%. Friday the S&P rebounded 0.17% to finish the week down 2.43%. My investment advice for the next 12-36 months would be to increase the weight of precious metals and high grade fixed income in your portfolio.
The Obama administration continues to push an economic policies chalked full of collective thinking. Frankly, this type of thinking leads to dumb socialistic policies. Liberals love entitlement programs like Unemployment Insurance, Food Stamps, Government Subsidized Housing, Welfare/Public Assistance, Medicaid and Student Loans, Pell Grants and many more. To be fair, conservatives, with military spending, are just as guilty. Both parties with Social Security and Medicare. Despite the idiocy of elected officials, one variable remains constant. If the trajectory of our nation’s debt does not change directions, then we are headed towards major economic calamity. I hope more liberals begin to realize that the answer to America’s economic issues is less government not more.
Many of our nation’s economic issues are caused by underlying social issues. There is a growing divide between the “haves” and the “have-nots”. This divide is clear when you see the similarities between voting and food stamps.
This election, not unlike many that came before it, supports the stereotype that most people vote with their wallets. People rarely vote against the hand that is currently feeding them, or for that matter, people don’t vote against the hand that promises to feed them more. On the other side, people rarely vote for the candidate that promises to raise their taxes. Common sense fiscal responsibly in government is less sexy that entitlement spending (similar to conservatives that believe cutting 1 penny of defense spending will “weaken the nation”). Now, not all poor people voted for Obama in the same way not all wealthy people voted for Romney. However, the WSJ video above shows the data is skewed in that general direction. As one of my favorite college professors used to say, “its gravity not destiny.”
If liberals are guilty of collective thinking leading to bad economic policies, then conservatives are certainly guilty of collective reasoning leading to bad social policy. There is a significant portion of the population that seems to believe that their person eternal destiny is determined by whether or not their country forbids certain acts. For example, many conservatives abhor the idea of gay marriage even though it will seemingly have no moral impact on them. Furthermore, why is it up to the government who can get married? Time after time, issue after issue I have come to the conclusion that why is the government involved in this again?
The most interesting social issue in the 2012 election was Washington state and Colorado legalizing recreational marijuana. I haven’t heard, seen or read any real specifics about those pieces of legislation, but my gut is telling me two things.
- Washington and Colorado will become popular spring break locations
- Other states will notice the positive crime rate data generated from these states which will lead to further legalization in other states and perhaps other countries.
However, my fear is the Feds are going to snuff this out before this gets off the ground. I hope more conservatives begin to realize that the answer to America’s social issues is less government not more.
What will the world look like in 50 years? I have no clue. However, I do have hope. Gary Johnson ran the most successful libertarian campaign in history receiving 1,139,562 votes or 0.9% of the popular vote. I hope that is a trend that continues. I want to leave you with a quote from Thomas Paine’s Common Sense
“Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”