The Latest Federal Government Shut-down

E-Newsletter No. 51 _____ March 2018

We were originally going use this month’s newsletter to discuss the cost/benefit analysis that every person performs each day, when they decide whether they should get out of bed and go to work. However, we are deferring that newsletter, and will instead use this month’s newsletter to give you another update on our federal government’s lack of fiscal responsibility.

As you are probably aware, the federal government was shut down last month for about 7 hours in the wee morning hours of Friday, February 9th. However, through the heroic efforts of our elected officials in Washington DC, this latest government shut-down was cut short by Congress when they passed legislation that will add over $400 billion to the federal government’s credit card balance. By passing this legislation, our elected officials put each citizen – every man, woman and child – on the hook for over $1,000 each. Every dollar that is added to the federal government’s debt represents one additional dollar of future taxes that will need to be paid by our country’s citizens.

And that’s not the worst aspect of last month’s legislation – – the real travesty is that the bill only funded the federal government though March 23rd, so we are going to have yet another last-minute fire drill later this month.

Here are some of the quotes regarding this latest act of fiscal irresponsibility –

Senator Rand Paul – – “I ran for office because I was very critical of President Obama’s trillion-dollar deficits. Now we have Republicans hand in hand with Democrats offering us trillion-dollar deficits. I can’t in honesty look the other way.” [ He voted No ].

Rep. John Yarmuth – – “We’re not going to get DACA as part of this. So, if we can negotiate a deal like I think we’ve gotten, that essentially meets every other one of our priorities, then I think that’s where a lot of the Democrats are.” [ He voted Yes ].

Senator Jeff Flake – – “I love bipartisanship… But the problem is the only time we discover bipartisanship is when we spend more money.” [He voted No ].

Maya MacGuineas (the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget) – – “No one voting for this bill can claim to care about the debt and deficits – in fact, it is fiscal malpractice. Congress just ordered everything on the menu (and then some) and then sent the bill over to the kids’ table.”

And…. from the Foundation to Promote Personal Responsibility – – “This is not only fiscal malpractice, the federal government’s growing debt problem and its effect on future generations is immoral.”

Our Editorial Board believes that the time has come for 34 states to come forward and call a Convention of States to propose amendments to the US Constitution that would impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress.

US Debt Clock – – February 1st – $63,044 per citizen / March 1st – $63,450

Ranking the Seven Deadly Sins

E-Newsletter No. 50 ______ February 2018

So, what could be more pertinent to the discussion about Personal Responsibility, other than a review of the Seven Deadly Sins? As we pondered that question, our Editorial Board does agree with the list of the Seven sins, but we have determined that most of them do have certain positive aspects. We also took a shot at ranking them from “worst” to “least worst”.

Gluttony – OK, it’s hard to find any positive aspects about this one. As we discussed in our Conversation Piece entitled Healthcare Re-Visited, we make the case that healthcare is simply and primarily a Personal Responsibility. And we take issue with the Left’s tactic of trying to make a case that healthcare is somehow a “right” instead of a Personal Responsibility. The political debate is really about who should pay for whose health insurance policy.

Envy – We have run across references where Envy is oftentimes ranked as being the “most deadly” of the Seven Deadly Sins. We generally agree. It was a close contest, but this one doesn’t top Gluttony, because there is at least one redeeming aspect. Maybe Envy can spur someone into action to take Personal Responsibility to improve their own lot in life (rather than simply be envious).

Sloth – OK, so Sloth is another one that doesn’t seem to have very many redeeming qualities. But sometimes it’s OK to just sit back and chill out. Plus, this one is generally a “victimless crime”. But maybe sometimes a person just doesn’t want to work, and so they engage in Disability Fraud.

Wrath – This one is in the top part of the list, because it can lead to all kinds of violence (i.e., Antifa) and other kinds of deadly actions / sins. But Wrath is potentially useful if it leads to moral outrage, which can then be channeled to positive purposes.

Lust – Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, Al Franken, Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Roy Moore…. So, are we all disgusted enough yet, or should we try to finish the rest of this list? This deadly sin isn’t specific to any particular industry or political party. It should also be noted that Lust is not exclusively “gender specific” either. And [ this might be a bit of a stretch ] maybe Lust is needed to help perpetuate the species.

Greed – The Left is probably going to go nuts with this ranking. Shouldn’t this one be at the very top of the list? Our Editorial Board agrees that Greed belongs among the Seven sins, especially when it leads to either thievery or corruption. However, “Greed is good” according to Gordon Gekko in the 1987 film Wall Street. Plus, it’s an interesting debate as to what has been a better driver of civilization’s progress – – Is it “altruism” or “greed” / entrepreneurialism?

Pride – Wikipedia points out that Pride carries two antithetical meanings. Pride is one of the Seven sins if it leads to a foolish sense of one’s personal value or status. But this one is at the bottom of the list, because everyone should take Pride in their work and accomplishments.

US Debt Clock – – January 1st – $62,996 per citizen / February 1st – $63,044

The Federal Government’s “Debt Ceiling”

E-Newsletter No. 48 _____ December 2017

In September, the US House of Representatives and US Senate failed to address the federal government’s growing debt problem, as they postponed any action on the “debt ceiling” until December 8th. Our Editorial Board does not anticipate that any meaningful debt ceiling / limitation will be established this month.

As we mentioned in our Conversation Piece entitled Other Musings, the lack of fiscal responsibility by our federal government represents a complete and unequivocal failure of our country’s leadership (in both political parties). The Left has generally ignored many of the warnings that were laid out in the Federalist Papers and in Thomas Paine’s pamphlet entitled Common Sense.

Our Editorial Board does not believe that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the way the US Constitution was written. Unfortunately, the liberal/progressive movement continues to try to “fundamentally transform” the federal government and, therefore, the relationship between We-The-People and our government.

Fortunately, our country’s Founders provided us with a means to work around an out-of-control government, and we believe the time has come to amend the US Constitution and implement Term Limits for members of the House of Representatives and Senate. Under Article V of the Constitution, 34 of the 50 states need to pass legislation to call for a Convention of States. Such a convention would then be able to draft proposed amendments to the US Constitution, such as establishing fiscal restraints on the federal government, limiting the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limiting the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress. You can go to to learn more.
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Please note that we have posted an eBook version of The 2020 Initiative on our website –

We encourage you to forward this link to your representatives in Congress (along with their Legislative Directors) and we encourage you to continue to deliver the message that “enough is enough”.

US Debt Clock on December 1st – – $20.5 trillion / / $63,044 per citizen

Other Musings

E-Newsletter No. 47 ______ November 2017

One year ago, our country’s citizens decided that we do not want a bigger, more intrusive federal government. Unfortunately, the Socialists of the Left are not going to go away quietly. This month, we are providing a link to another new Conversation Piece on our Foundation’s website entitled Other Musings

The federal government’s cumulative debt amount continues to rise. The members of our Foundation need to stay engaged in this conversation with our elected officials, and need to continue to deliver the message that “enough is enough”. Our elected officials need to either deliver a solution, or they will be voted out of office.

We close this month’s newsletter with another one of our favorite Forrest Gump quotes. Whenever Forrest was finished articulating yet another self-evident truth, he would sum it all up by saying “That’s all I have to say about that.”

Other Thoughts on Personal Responsibility

E-Newsletter No. 46 _______ October 2017

Just a short newsletter this month – we are providing the following link to another new Conversation Piece on our Foundation’s website entitled Other Thoughts on Personal Responsibility –

In addition to promoting the concept of personal responsibility, our Editorial Board also believes in the concepts of Opportunity for All and Favoritism to None. This is where the federal government’s focus should be.

Unfortunately, the Left supports Big Government and intrusive regulations that diminish Opportunities for All. The Socialists of the Left condemn corporations (along with successful, wealthy individuals) as being the source of all evil in society. But here is a fundamental question – – If corporations and other businesses are not the means by which our citizens receive goods and services, who is going to provide the jobs (and opportunities) that people need in order to have a meaningful purpose in life? Of course, the Socialists’ default answer is “Big (more) Government”. But history has shown that Socialism doesn’t work – a government does not and cannot create wealth – it can only re-distribute wealth.

Having said that…. It is very true that a very significant problem exists – – Corruption occurs under “crony capitalism”. However, this corruption is oftentimes due to collusion between career politicians and special interest groups, and this collusion violates the concept of “Favoritism to None.”

The federal government was established to militarily defend the country as a whole, and to protect our citizen’s rights. Period. (Please re-read the Tenth Amendment). When the federal government attempts to expand beyond this limited role, bad things begin to happen. Forrest Gump (and his mom) were fond of saying “Stupid is as stupid does”. Unfortunately, the federal government is currently doing a lot of stupid things.

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We close this month’s newsletter with a sobering piece of news, which should come as no surprise to the members of our Foundation. Our federal government’s finances are on an unsustainable path, and unfortunately this past month, our country passed a new threshold. The federal government’s cumulative debt now stands in excess of $20 trillion (and continues to rise)…

US Debt Clock – – September 1st – $61,330 per citizen / October 1st – $61,981

Welfare Reform Re-Visited

E-Newsletter No. 45 _______ September 2017

Fair warning to all readers who might have “Democratic Socialism” tendencies… Continue reading at your own risk. On our website, we have added a new Conversation Piece entitled Welfare Reform Re-Visited

In this Conversation Piece, we provide our thoughts on how to repeal and replace the federal government’s counter-productive welfare programs. Our country needs to face a sobering fact – – our federal government has lost its “War on Poverty”. History and events have proven that LBJ’s Great Society welfare programs have been an abject failure. We have spent over $22 trillion on welfare programs since the 1960s, and the percentage of people who live in poverty has remained virtually unchanged.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, while expecting to achieve a different result. We need to fundamentally transform welfare (which is simply the delivery of goods and services to citizens who need assistance). With this Conversation Piece, our Editorial Board is launching our own war on the War on Poverty. The welfare programs sponsored by our federal government cannot solve the problem of poverty (contrary to how these programs have been “marketed” to the public in the past). Instead, these welfare programs have only served to foster a growing sense of entitlement among our country’s citizens and have increased the level of dependency on the federal government.

Our Editorial Board’s alternative is to promote the concept of Personal Responsibility, rather than Socialism. An individual who is in poverty should look to assistance from civil society for the solution to their problem(s), rather than a government program. History has proven without a doubt that the federal government’s programs cannot accomplish the objective of reducing poverty.

LBJ’s Great Society programs were a drastic over-reach by the federal government. The federal government was not established by the States to deliver welfare to individual citizens. It was set up to protect our country’s citizens’ lives and liberties, and our ability to pursue happiness. The General Welfare clause in the Constitution refers to policies and programs that promote the General Welfare of the country as a whole, and does not refer to providing welfare benefits to individual citizens.

Having said that… Compassionate citizens of all political persuasions recognize that some individuals are going to need some assistance during some period of time in their life. The poor have always lived among us, and this has been true going all the way back to pre-biblical times. As we noted in The 2020 Initiative, the real solution to the problem of poverty is to help the poor become “unpoor”. However, one of the first steps that needs to happen is for each individual to develop a game plan to take Personal Responsibility for their own life. A sense of Personal Responsibility (instead of a sense of “vicitimization”) combined with the assistance available from civil society (families, supported by local community groups, charities, and social service agencies) is the only means by which a person will become unpoor. For those on the Left who are brave enough, please launch the link to the Conversation Piece entitled Welfare Reform Re-Visited.

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As many of us recall, on October 30, 2015, legislation was passed to suspend the federal government’s debt limit to March 2017. Since then, the Treasury department has employed “extraordinary measures” to continue meeting federal obligations without issuing new debt, and the amount of the federal government’s debt has been stalled at approximately $19.97 trillion since July. However, these extraordinary measures will become depleted some time later this month. Unfortunately, the incremental costs that have been incurred for these extraordinary measures total approximately $2.5 billion. Although this is a “big number”, this amount is “miniscule” when you consider the fact that the annual deficit for this year is going to be around $600 billion.

US Debt Clock – – August 1st – $61,344 per citizen / September 1st – $61,330

Personal Responsibility – Your Savings for Your Retirement Years

E-Newsletter No. 44 ______August 2017

It has been a few months since we last discussed Social Security, so our Editorial Board thought that this would be a good month to re-visit this issue. We do this for three reasons.

Our elected representatives will soon be returning to Washington DC from their August break, to vote on increasing the federal government’s so-called “debt limit” (which has become a farce that is increasingly irrelevant and meaningless).

They will also be trying to put the finishing touches on our federal government’s fiscal 2018 budget for the year that begins on October 1st. All of the projections show that this budget will not “balance”, and therefore over the course of the upcoming year, there will continue to be an increase in the total debt of the federal government.

But most importantly, we want to point out the fact that very few of our elected representatives are brave enough to address the issue of entitlement reform. They do not want to come forward with a solution to this problem, because they are worried about what effect this would have on their next re-election. Currently, approximately 70% of the federal government’s spending is on automatic pilot for “mandatory” spending…. Mandatory?? How did we ever get into this mess? The answer is very simple – – Many years ago “progressive” politicians (including FDR) decided that retirement funds should become the responsibility of the federal government (instead of being a Personal Responsibility). And then in the 1960s, another career politician (LBJ) along with other Socialists of the Left added Medicare, Medicaid and various welfare programs to the list.

In The 2020 Initiative, our Editorial Board puts forward our thoughts on how Social Security can be transformed over a multi-year transition period into a means-tested welfare benefit. As we have noted previously, there is no money in the Social Security “Trust” (which is another misleading federal government charade). But even though we believe it is immoral for the federal government to continue to steal funds from future generations to make Social Security payments to other people, we are “somewhat OK” with the idea of a means-tested welfare benefit for an elderly retired citizen who is in need of financial assistance. We acknowledge the possibility that due to an individual’s facts and circumstances, they might not have been able to personally save enough funds that would have allowed them to cover their own needs over the course of their retirement years. In that type of situation, our first choice would normally be to have civil society (families, supported by Not For Profit charities and other local social services agencies) provide this kind of assistance to such an individual, but maybe it’s OK for the federal government to provide for such a means-tested welfare benefit.

Having said that…. Our country’s citizens need to begin to acknowledge that even this kind of means-tested welfare benefit is not a proper role of the federal government. And unfortunately, the payments that are currently being made under this program do not make any sense – – the vast majority of these “unfunded pension benefits” are being paid to retirees who are probably already financially secure, and only minimal monthly amounts are being paid to retirees who probably need to receive a Social Security benefit (see the July 2015 letter to Senator Bernie Sanders on our Foundation’s website).

In its current form, this government program is unsustainable. As the program’s Trustees have reported for the past several years, “Lawmakers should address the projected trust fund shortfalls in a timely way in order to phase in necessary changes gradually and give workers and beneficiaries time to adjust to them.” Congress, are you listening? We are extremely disappointed that we hear this “standard” wording in the Trustees’ report year after year after year. Maybe (soon?) our elected officials will finally take the steps that are needed to fundamentally transform this failing government program. Our proposed transition plan would not change any benefits to retirees who are currently receiving Social Security payments. It would also allow current workers to get their personal contributions back out of the Social Security program, plus interest. But after that, the federal government would no longer be able to coercively tax future generations for unfunded promises that were made in the past. Unless these fundamental changes occur (soon), it is going to be extremely difficult for future generations to save for their own retirement years.

US Debt Clock – – July 1st – $61,368 per citizen / August 1st – $61,344

Personal Responsibility – Food and Housing

E-Newsletter No. 43 ______ July 2017

In our newsletters the past few months, we have tried to promote the concept that education and healthcare are personal responsibilities. However, the Socialists of the Left want to change our citizens’ mindset by re-labeling these aspects of daily life as being new “rights” that give rise to new “entitlements”. This is simply part of the Left’s “progressive” agenda to increase the size and scope of the federal government. Unfortunately, if the Socialists are successful in regards to education and healthcare, the same thinking can then be applied to the concept of an “entitlement” to food and housing. And after that…. Who knows?

Compassionate conservatives recognize the fact that food and housing are “needs”. Conservatives agree that there is no reason why a citizen in our country of plenty should go hungry or homeless, and also acknowledge that some of our country’s citizens require assistance to have their needs met. Where Conservatives and Socialists disagree is in regards to the methods to make this happen. The Socialists believe in the coercive powers of the federal government, which they try to sell to the public as being “federal government benevolence”. The federal government was not set up to be benevolent. (See Thomas Paine’s Common Sense comments about government). Conservatives believe in personal responsibility and families and Not For Profit charities – this is a far better method of taking care of our citizens’ needs, rather than relying on yet another inefficient, counter-productive government program.

Our Editorial Board believes that the waste, inefficiency, and corruption of the federal government prevents it from effectively accomplishing any of its stated welfare goals. In The 2020 Initiative, our Editorial Board proposes a fundamental change to the US tax code for personal income taxes, whereby a charitable contribution to a Not For Profit charity will result in a tax credit against an individual’s / family’s federal income tax obligation that would otherwise be paid into the swamp. The federal government needs to be starved of these funds, so that it no longer intrudes into the marketplace for education, healthcare, food, housing, or any other aspect of daily life. Its focus should be on the federal government’s responsibilities that are specifically listed in the US Constitution.

In The 2020 Initiative, we recommend that four independent national Not For Profit “clearing-house” charities be established for food, housing, healthcare and education. The sole purpose of these national charities would be to collect funds from citizens, and then (based on stringent, objective criteria that quantifies each state’s needs) disburse that charity’s funds to the applicable state-level charitable organization in each state.

As we will discuss in our upcoming Conversation Piece on Welfare Reform Re-Visited, the real solution to the issue of poverty is to help those less fortunate become “unpoor”. The Socialists’ “default solution” to any issue is to have the federal government simply provide cash to people who need assistance. But this approach only serves to increase the sense of entitlement among our country’s citizens, and increases the recipient’s dependency on the federal government, while only marginally and temporarily helping the recipient become “somewhat less poor”. The better solution is to provide financial support to local community-based social services agencies (local job training programs, food banks, habitat for humanity groups, public health clinics, etc.) so that civil society can help citizens assume personal responsibility for their own lives, lift themselves out of poverty, and become unpoor.

US Debt Clock – – June 1st – $61,297 per citizen / July 1st – $61,368

Healthcare Re-Visited

E-Newsletter No. 42_______June 2017

On our website, we have an October 2013 Conversation Piece entitled Medicare and Universal Health Care Coverage. One of the main planks of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign was to repeal and replace the (Un)Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), which has proven to be a disastrous over-reach by the federal government into our country’s healthcare system. Unfortunately, the House of Representatives bundled the repeal initiative with the replacement initiative (which should have been dealt with separately in a second step). Fortunately, a second, better version of the American Health Care Act was passed by the House, and is now in the process of being re-written by the Senate. Hopefully, the final version of this legislation will serve to eliminate the fundamental flaws of Obamacare.

On our website, we have posted a new Conversation Piece entitled Healthcare Re-Visited

In this posting, we distinguish between two separate issues – – “healthcare” (which is a personal responsibility) and acquiring a health insurance policy (which is also a personal responsibility). Unfortunately, the Socialists of the Left continue to link these two issues together in their ongoing attempts to further expand the size and scope of the federal government. By proclaiming that healthcare is a “right”, they attempt to make the case that people should no longer be responsible for their own healthcare, because healthcare should be administered by the federal government.

We also provide a little history on employer group health insurance plans, and we discuss the similarities and difference between health insurance and other types of insurance, like auto insurance. We also put forward our recommendations on how each of our country’s citizens can acquire a health insurance policy that meets their own individual needs, and we address the issues regarding what can be done on behalf of those citizens who need financial assistance to acquire a health insurance policy.

US Debt Clock – – May 1st – $61,220 per citizen / June 1st – $61,297