Blue Monday for a reason: Obama sworn in for second term

130120124035-07-inauguration-0120-horizontal-large-galleryThe third Monday of January is often labeled “Blue Monday” to supposedly denote the most depressing day of the year.  Although widely considered to be pseudoscience, Barack Obama’s inauguration to officially begin his second term as president might just give the phrase a new truthful meaning.

Why so depressing?  Barack Obama’s average job approval rating during his first term as president was 49% according to Gallupamong the worst of any post-World War II president.  Only Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford saw lower approval ratings through their first terms in office.

During Obama’s first term, the national debt increased by nearly $6 trillion dollars, or $50,521 per American household according to numbers published by the Census Bureau.  This number exceeds the combined debt increases from George Washington through Bill Clinton.  Today, the national debt sits at $16.4 trillion.

During Obama’s first term, food stamp recipients skyrocketed nearly $16 million, bringing the number of Americans who receive food stamps up to more than 47.5 million.  According to the Department of Agriculture, that amounts to an additional 11,133 participants everyday.

During Obama’s first term, the number of Americans receiving disability insurance increased nearly 1.4 million, bringing the total up to 8,827,795.  Today, one out of every 13 people working full-time is on disability and receiving taxpayer funded government checks.

Unemployment went nowhere during Obama’s first term – percentage-wise, it’s exactly the same (7.9%).  654 new bills were signed into law.  The president spent 72 days at Camp David, went golfing 113 times and addressed the nation on 8 different occasions.  The president made 22 pardons, visited 44 states and held 58 town hall meetings.

As Obamacare slowly becomes enforced during Obama’s second term, taxes for nearly all productive Americans will increase.  January 1st of 2013 ushered in the first set of increases, mainly for more wealthy Americans and the healthcare industry in general (read: increasing the cost of healthcare for everybody).  New taxes on medical devices and the elimination of several health-related deductions will hit companies beginning this year.

The maximum income tax rate is set to go up on Americans, bringing the new percentage to 39.6% (up from 35% in 2012).  Capital gains tax rates will increase from 15% to 20% along with a new Medicare wage tax of 0.9%.  A slew of other tax increases will hit all Americans during Obama’s second term, such as the payroll tax, gift tax, estate tax and GST (Generation-skipping Transfer) tax.

There is good reason to be blue.

Obama declares himself king of the gun grabbers

gunIn his usual theatrical style, on Wednesday on live television, President Barack Obama revealed his plans to implement his administration’s agenda for a new gun control policy that includes assault weapons bans, more thorough background checks of gun buyers, limited ammunition magazines, and government access to mental health records of potential gun buyers.

“In just one afternoon, the man who is suspected of okaying the smuggling of guns into the hands of the Mexican drug cartels — known as Fast and Furious — has ‘outed’ himself as the king of the gun grabbers. He’s also implementing the strategy of his former chief of staff, Rahm Emanual, by not allowing ‘a good crisis to go to waste,’” said police detective Jose Santos.

Obama’s proposal are allegedly the result of a rushed review process spearheaded by Vice President Joe Biden, that addressed law enforcement, dangerous firearms and ammunition, school and campus security, and keeping firearms out of the hands of the mentally ill.

Surrounded by children and their parents who support Obama’s gun-control agenda, the president recommended requiring criminal background checks for all gun sales; a tougher and more far-reaching assault weapons ban; limiting ammo magazines to 10-rounds; eliminating armor-piercing bullets, also known as cop-killer bullets; hiring more police officers; and instituting a federal gun trafficking statute.

The cost of the package, senior officials estimated, would be roughly $500 million, some of which could come from already budgeted funds.

“Ironically, the price tag for Obama’s gun crime agenda is the same amount lost in the Solyndra scandal by the Obama administration,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist.

“I intend to use whatever weight this office holds to make them a reality,” said the president. “If there’s even one life that can be saved, then we’ve got an obligation to try.”

The National Rifle Association, anticipating Obama’s overreach and disregard for the U.S. Constitution, released a television advertisement accusing the president of hypocrisy. In the commercial, viewers are reminded that Obama’s daughters are protected by a detail of armed bodyguards when they attend school, but Obama denies that same right to American parents and children by his opposition to arming individuals who work in government schools.

“It is unfortunate that this administration continues to insist on pushing failed solutions to our nation’s most pressing problems,” the NRA said after meeting with Biden last week. “We will not allow law-abiding gun owners to be blamed for the acts of criminals and madmen.”

As part of its policy recommendations, the White House called on Congress to act on an old administration proposal to spend $4 billion to keep 15,000 cops on the streets. In addition, the president is proposing a new initiative that would incentivize police departments to hire more school resource officers and encourage schools to hire more mental health professionals. The president’s plan also calls on Congress to allocate resources to help schools, other educational institutions and houses of worship develop emergency management plans.

The White House proposals, even officials there admit, are not a cure-all for mass shootings. Among the suggested recommendations on the gun-policy front, only the ban on high-capacity magazines could have had a tangible impact on the shooting in Newtown, and it’s unclear what, exactly, the effect would have been.

Moreover, the administration claims it is pointedly not going after those weapons and ammunition clips that are currently and lawfully owned. The proposal would instead affect the future production and sale of military-style weapons or high-capacity magazines.

“We are not going to go after existing stock of weapons or magazines,” said a senior administration official. “We are going to limit it to the manufacturing of assault weapons and clips going forward.”

The White House nevertheless insists that its package of proposals has teeth. It would provide law enforcement with the mechanisms needed to go after the illegal transfer of weapons and help prevent those weapons from falling into the wrong hands. It would also stem the use of military-style weapons — the White House says its proposal would improve on the 1994 Assault Weapons Ban, which was riddled with loopholes — and give schools and communities resources to address violence when it occurs.

“Gun-grabbing media, political and business interests are bad news. They use murderous acts of a few to generate opposition to the rights of the many. They mislead public opinion against the civil right to keep and bear arms,” stated John Snyder, an advisory board member of the National Association of Chiefs of Police.

Despite further gun control, Obama signs lifetime armed protection

Obama_s640x427President Obama signed into law Thursday a bill that allows presidents to enjoy armed Secret Service protection for the remainder of their lives, and their children up to the age of 16.  Previously, Secret Service protection ended 10-years after the president’s last term.

“The bill had sailed through Congress with bipartisan support—it cleared the House of Representatives by voice vote in early December, and then it zipped through the Senate unopposed,” wrote Yahoo News.

The irony runs thick in this one: as our government and president discuss ways to further disarm the American populace and restrict their 2nd amendment protection, the president signed into law a bill that gives HIM, and all future presidents, just that – for a lifetime.

The irony does not stop with the president.  California Senator Diane Feinstein, despite admitting in 1995 to owning carrying a concealed weapon to protect herself against terrorists, has introduced a bill in her state that would essentially gut the 2nd amendment and outlaw most guns, including hand guns with magazines that hold over 10 rounds (you do not need more than 10 rounds to kill a deer, right?).  Countless other political figures have called for restrictive gun control despite enjoying taxpayer-funded armed protection.

In recent days, the White House once again threatened to use executive order to implement gun restrictions on the American people rather than utilizing the legislative process to pass draining regulations on Americans.  Obama has already used this “presidential decree” earlier in his presidency with the passage of a so-called immigration reform bill.

In the wake of the Sandy Hook tragedy, the president promised to “use whatever power this office holds” to stop the next school massacre.  Evidently, the massacre that the president is more concerned about at the moment is one that would involve him.

Our government fights on a daily basis to disarm the American people while giving their leader lifelong armed protection.  The dangers associated with this precedent is truly frightening.  A disarmed society has no chance against a heavily armed and well-funded government.  We are quickly becoming sitting ducks.

Soon, pellet guns will be the approved level of protection afforded to the American people by your federal government.

Obama demands tax hikes on rich before any compromises

Days after the re-election of Barack Obama, the president said that any compromise from his office on the issue of taxes and the national debt will hinge on the inclusion of tax increases for wealthier Americans in an fruitless effort to slow our nation’s rising debt and limit the ensuing economic calamity.

“I’m committed to solving our fiscal challenges, but I refuse to accept any approach that isn’t balanced,” the president said.  Apparently to Mr. Obama, “balanced” means nothing more than offsetting any spending cuts with further tax revenue from this country’s job providers.

Obama insists on raising taxes on those who make more than $250,000 a year, although hard numbers on how much of a rise remains unknown.  According to Obama, a majority of Americans also believe this nation’s punitive tax system should be strengthened for those who are considered “wealthy”.

“I just want to point out, this was a central question during the election. It was debated over and over again. And on Tuesday night, we found out that the majority of Americans agree with my approach,” he said.

This news comes at a time when deficits remain at all time highs.  October, the first fiscal year in 2013, has already seen a massive increase in budget deficits — $6 billion above the estimated $114 billion.

After billions spent, elections net no positive change

Barack Obama was re-elected as president of the United States.  There are few things in this world that puzzle me more than the decision-making abilities of the American people.  I based my utter disbelief on numbers and reality, and I fail at getting the math to work out correctly.

Poll after poll clearly indicates frustration from the American people over our government.  Without exception, Americans do not trust the government to run their daily lives or the economy.  Most do not believe we’re headed in the right direction, and we probably won’t be able to avoid running clear off of the fiscal cliff.  Investor confidence continues to slide, and this includes the sharp nose dive the markets took yesterday.

In response to these worries and frustrations, the American people took decisive action by not only re-electing Barack Obama as president of the United States, but largely keeping the same power structure in Congress.  The Democrats continue to hold the majority in the Senate and Republicans have held onto their majority in the House.

After billions of dollars were spent in the 2012 election cycle, nothing changed, and if Americans continue down this path, nothing ever will.  Congress remains largely the same.  Barack Obama is still the president.  And, if polled, I am sure that the American people are still frustrated with their government – but, in reality, without a leg to stand on.

I, however, am frustrated with Americans.

French gov’t to suffer consequences of socialism

According to British newspaper The Telegraph, socialist-lead France is fast approaching a “full-blown hurricane” as punishing tax rates and disastrous government policies are forcing French businesses and investors scrambling to avoid the legalized confiscation of their wealth.

French bankruptcies have skyrocketed over the summer and, according to Laurence Parisot of the MEDEF group in France, consumer confidence in the economy is quickly dwindling.  Worse, the French government does not appear concerned, or even aware, of the gravity of the looming crisis.

A message to the U.S. government: learn from the mistakes of other nations.  Big government destroys incentives to invest and succeed and punishing taxes provide little in the way of long-term economic success for virtually any economy, especially one built  upon the principles of capitalism.

Forget “Get out the vote”; if you don’t care, don’t vote

Popular wisdom seems to suggest that “democracy” in this country is somehow assisted when more of the population robotically get themselves to the voting booths each election cycle and pull the lever for [generally] one of two political parties.  The more people who vote, they say, the better off our country will be.

But that’s fundamentally wrong on virtually every level.  Encouraging more people to vote – for the sake of increasing voting numbers – contributes nothing positive to this nation or our way of government.  In fact, I would argue that it is downright harmful.

People who are informed enough about the current state of our nation and our system of government do not require convincing when it comes to making their voices heard through our electoral process.  When people care, votes naturally follow.  In the absence of a genuine desire to participate in our voting system, all that is left is a breathing carbon-based entity who’s vote is no more meaningful than that of a monkey’s.

I hold no innate ill will towards those who choose not to exercise their right to vote.  In fact, I personally respect the notion of not swaying the results of the election by placing an ill-informed vote for a politician of any party.  If you cannot be bothered to pay attention, that is fine, to each their own.

But, when those people are encouraged to vote under the presumed nonsensical guise that somehow an uninformed vote helps our Republic flourish, it directly effects our nation’s future and helps support the idea that voting is an act that need not be taken seriously.  Just vote for somebody, right?.  This turns our electoral process into a mockery.

Want to help improve our nation’s future?  Forget voting.  Instead, focus on getting more people to actually care about the future of their children, their grandchildren and our nation.  Easier said than done, no doubt.  Convincing people to put down their game console remotes, or unbury their faces from their cell phones long enough to observe their environment and reflect on how our government influences their lives, is a monumental undertaking.  But, it’s one that needs to be taken, for this is how true reform is achieved.  Throwing votes around does nothing.  Paying attention to our government, however, contributes to something real.

Let’s start a “Put your phone down and pay attention” initiative instead.  Focus on providing the resources and incentives necessary to build a more informed population first before approaching the issue of voting.  Once we have an informed populace, I can guarantee you that an increase in voter turnout will follow soon after.  We will get that for free.