Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Reagan was right, and so was Rep. Joe Wilson !

As Ronald Reagan famously once said "The nine most terrifying words in the English language are ' I'm from the government and I'm here to help' ". Well, President Barack Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid are pounding on the door and telling us the government is here to help "reform" health care. Ronald Reagan was right, we should all be "terrified".
Now I'm certainly no expert on the health care industry or the insurance industry that enables most of us to afford that care when we need it. And I do agree it's currently too complex and too costly, but anyone who thinks that allowing the government to essentially take over the health care industry is going to increase its efficiency and reduce the cost needs to stop kidding themselves. That is not "reform". Does anyone honestly believe President Obama's claim that we can extend health care insurance to approximately 30 million uninsured people and "reduce" health care costs at the same time? I don't, and I don't think most taxpayers do either.
Ronald Reagan believed in individualism, entrepreneurialism and the power of the American spirit to solve our countries problems and meet its challenges. He also believed in allowing market forces to drive the demand for new products and services, while encouraging competition among private companies to keep down costs to the consumer, making them affordable to more people. He believed that government should play a very minor role in the marketplace and that its main responsibility was to get out of the way of small businesses so they could grow and prosper. He viewed government as more of an impediment to business than a promoter of it.
Barack Obama, on the other hand, believes in the power of government programs and bureaucrats to solve our problems for us, all funded by the U.S. taxpayer of course. Socialism is defined as "a system of ownership and operation of the means of production and distribution by the society or the community rather than by private individuals, with all members of the society or community sharing in the work and the products."
Barack Obama's plan is government run health care or "socialized medicine". There is no way private health insurance will survive in competition with a "public option", and if it is approved, and President Obama will have gotten the "single-payer" health care system he has said he favors.
This is where "we the people" need to step in and tell our elected representatives in Congress how we feel. We need to research, debate and discuss ideas on real reform, and voice our opinions. We should demand that Congress listen to us and our ideas on reform, not just allow the liberal congressional leadership and the President to take-over our health care.
And as one of my blue-collar co-workers at Ford said to me; If Congress is so confident in the quality of care and cost savings of the "public option" coverage they are advocating for the rest of America, why aren't they willing to give up their current coverage and join us?

There is hope, but much work to be done !

Luckily, Detroit is changing. I honestly believe that the "new leadership" that is emerging, led by Mayor Dave Bing and DPS emergency financial manager Robert Bobb,and City Councilmember Gary Brown have an opportunity to change the direction of the once great city. But first this new leadership must challenge some of the established powerbrokers in the city like the entrenched Democrat party and the powerful unions, primarily the UAW, the MEA and AFSCME.

Unfortunately, the only way for leaders to make the changes necessary is to make some very tough choices. This will require sacrifice by the remaining taxpayers living in Detroit. One way that I've heard suggested to reduce the spending to match the reduced revenue, is to dramatically "shrink" the area that requires city services.This could be done by demolishing abandoned buildings and clearing vacant property within the city to create a "green-belt" running through the city with a bike path and connected urban parks.I heard several intriguing ideas like this recently when I participated in a forum hosted by an organization called "The Center for Michigan" and co-sponsored locally by the Macomb Daily and Macomb Community College. The objective was to brainstorm and come up with a new vision for the state and a "new public agenda".

One theme that also came up repeatedly was to reduce the influence and control that the unions have in the state, so that Michigan's businesses are able to compete nationally and globally. Everyone agrees that in order for our economy to recover, we need to attract businesses and jobs to the state. But with the unions supporting Democrats, and Democrats supporting unions, we are caught in a "death spiral".

We need to completely change our attitudes about how we attract businesses and bring those much needed jobs and the tax revenue they will provide, to Michigan. Taxpayers have made a start in Detroit by running the criminal former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick out of town, but they need to follow the lead of reformers like Robert Bobb to finish the job of eliminating the rampant waste, abuse and corruption that has ruined Detroit and that is threatening all of S.E. Michigan.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Detroit bound flight targeted with explosive device

While Christians were celebrating the birth of Christ and praying for Peace on Earth, a terrorist from Nigeria eerily reminiscent of Richard Reid (the "Shoe Bomber"),and identified by a U.S. government official as 23-year-old Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, was attempting to blow another American airliner filled with innocent passengers out of the sky.
The suspect, identified as a Nigerian national, claimed to have extremist ties and said the explosive device "was acquired in Yemen along with instructions as to when it should be used," said a federal security bulletin.

This is not the first terrorist attack on U.S. soil since Barack Hussein Obama took office.
President Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was Kenyan, has encouraged "dialogue" with countries that have vowed to destroy us. It will be interesting to see his reaction to this attempted terrorist attack here in Detroit, home of the largest Muslim population in the United States.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ford; Rising from the Wreckage

The "Detroit 3" domestic auto makers have all "survived" what was arguably the worst year in their collective history. Chrysler and General Motors declared bankruptcy. Chrysler was basically told by the Obama administration to merge with foreign automaker Fiat. GM now has the Obama administration sitting on their Board and "advising" them how to run their business and telling them what products they can and cannot build.

The only domestic automaker to avoid some level of government control is Ford Motor Company. Ford had the forsight to line up $23.5 billion in private financing in 2006, before the mortgage/banking collapse that dried up commercial credit. While Chrysler and GM tried to avoid bankruptcy by seeking government guaranteed loans, Ford was able to "ride out the storm" and avoid the "pact with the devil" that both GM and Chrysler entered into with the Obama Administration. The downside to Ford not filing bankruptcy is that their 2 domestic competitors were able to shed BILLIONS of dollars in debt that Ford is still carrying and will have to pay off.

The irony for GM and Chrysler was the fact that after accepting the conditional government loans, they had to file for bankruptcy after all, prompting alot of people, including myself, to say "They should have just declared bankruptcy without accepting a dime from the government" They'd be much better off.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Ford: An American Icon

Ford stock rose above $10.00 per share today for the first time in over 4 years ! This is indicative of several positive things that are taking place; First of all, Ford Motor Company is building world class products. Ford has been steadily improving the quality of their vehicles for several years running and the consumers, as well as investors, are taking notice.

Secondly, the credit crunch that was created by the banking/mortgage crisis is easing, allowing more consumers to buy or lease a vehicle. The pent-up demand is bringing consumers back to the showrooms, and many car buyers are opting for the only American car company that did not borrow from the government (read "taxpayers") to survive the economic downturn, Ford Motor Company.

Ford is an American icon, one of the last remaining symbols of the true American entrepeneurial spirit. Undoubtedly some consumers are making a political statement when they pull into a Ford dealership. Not only are they looking for a quality vehicle, they want to send a message to Ford's competitors; I support free market capitalism, not government controlled socialism, and that's what they see at G.M. ("Government Motors")and foreign controlled Chrysler.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Voters want better, more accountable government.

It is a common misconception that voters simply “voted for a ‘change’” when they voted for Barack Obama for President in 2008. I would submit that voters voted for a more accountable government. Voters had actually begun to express their dissatisfaction with our elected officials in Washington much earlier, in the mid-term Congressional elections of 2006, and they continued to express their dissatisfaction with the “status quo” by electing a President of the opposing party in 2008. Barack Obama’s timing just happened to be perfect. He came along with his mantra of "change"”, offering comforting sounding themes, at a time when many voters had become disillusioned with government, fatigued after 7 years of war and nervous about the slowing economy.

His Republican opponent, Senator John McCain, offered “change” in leadership, but to the frustrated and “Bush fatigued” voters, McCain was too much like Bush. As ironic as that may seem considering McCain’s moderate reputation and his “Maverick” history of differing with his party leadership, he still represented “the past” in most voters minds, especially the millions of new voters Obama attracted to the polls. Voters wanted to look to a new future, a future of new ideas, and Barack Obama offered a fundamental change in direction, a “new approach” and hopefully better, not "bigger", government. “Hope” if you will, was summarized by his campaign theme of “Yes we can !”
It is now stunning to see how quickly that "hope” has seemed to fade, ( http://www.abcnews.go.com/PollingUnit/obamas-approval-ratings-low-economy-health-care/story?id=9342510&ros=true ) and Americans have continued to voice their unhappiness, not only with the performance of their elected representatives, but with the direction of the country as a whole. Voters seem to have realized that “change” for change’s sake is not what they wanted, or what America needs ! Last summer, Americans of every political stripe across the country attended townhalls held by their Congressmen and Senators, they rallied at “Tea Parties” to voice their concerns, and they have been speaking out by writing letters to the editor and calling their elected representatives in Lansing and Washington to voice their opinions and concerns.

This, in my opinion, is the “silver-lining” in our current situation. The crisis we have suffered through has the potential to make us a better, stronger country. It has mobilized and energized millions of Americans to vote, speak out and become active in our government at every level.

We are witnessing a historic time in our country. Yes, it is a time of “change”, but the change is not yet finished. In a sense the most important part of the change has just begun, the return of the American people’s participation in their government. The Founding Fathers envisioned a country governed by “We the people …”, and as President Abraham Lincoln reminded us in his Gettysburg Address during our nation’s most trying time, the Civil War, our constitution created a government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people”. I have confidence in the ability of “We the people” to not only survive the current crisis, but for our country to emerge a stronger, better democracy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Is Detroit finally headed in the "right" direction ?

Since the race riots of 1967 and the narrow election of Coleman Young as Mayor in 1973, Detroit has been on a steady downward spiral. The city has had few bright spots, losing most of it's white residents who fled the crime and declining schools, and being recognized as "the murder capitol of America" for much of the last 3 decades.
Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick took the city to new lows in the six-plus years he was the city's self proclaimed "Hip-Hop Mayor". He used his 17 "personal security" detail members to shuttle him around to hip-hop clubs and his girlfriend's condos on the taxpayers dime, and then he fired Deputy Police Chief Gary Brown when Brown initiated an investigation of Kilpatrick's misuse of the police Dept. and taxpayers dollars.

But although Kilpatrick was able to fool the majority of the voters of Detroit and get re-elected to a second term, he wasn't able to fool tough as nails Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. Worthy brought Kilpatrick up on charges for some of the many felonies he had committed while in office, and after assaulting a police officer who was trying to serve a subpoena on his friend and partner in crime Bobby Ferguson, Kilpatrick's reign of criminal and immoral behaviour ended in disgrace as he resigned and served 120 days in jail.

There now seems to be some hope for the city of Detroit. Former City Council President Kenneth Cockrel Jr. served as "interim-mayor" until an election could be held, and then he returned to his position as City Council President after being defeated by Dave Bing, who served the remainder of Kilpatrick's second term. Bing was then elected to a full term in the regularly scheduled election. He, along with Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, who was appointed by Gov. Granholm, and new City Council members, including Gary Brown, finally have a real chance to institute some meaningful reforms in Detroit and begin to turn the city around after over 3 decades of racial division, corruption and decline.

Thanks to the fearless, hard work of Wayne County Prosecutor Worthy, D.P.S. Emergency Financial Manager Bobb, Detroit Police Internal Affairs Chief Brown, Mayor Bing and others, Detroit may at long last be poised to make a "comeback."