William Thien

Archive for July 2014

If a company is going to receive a tax break for outsourcing production to overseas facilities or those facilities merely just outside of our borders, and companies do receive such tax breaks, then I believe those products made overseas should not be allowed to be sold in The United States. Those products should only be for sale outside the borders of The United States. Or, if companies and corporations wish to sell products in The United States that are produced overseas, then any related tax breaks should be removed.

American tax payers should not have to provide a corporate tax break for companies making products somewhere else. American tax payers should not have to pay to undermine their own economic condition.

There may be substantial benefits as some companies claim to using overseas production facilities, and that is quite likely, but I can assure you that undermining the American workforce is not one of those benefits. Even if companies outsource component parts for their products to overseas facilities, they should not receive tax breaks if those products are sold in The United States.

From the perspective of the federal government and income tax revenue, it is a no brainer. Why is the federal government foregoing potentially huge income tax revenue and on top of that throwing away more revenue to corporations in the form of tax breaks for setting up overseas production. The clarion call from the corporate world when such tax breaks became commonplace was “what was good for business was good for America.” But what is bad for the American worker is bad for America. Outsourcing production is bad for the American worker. And outsourcing directly affects income tax revenue.

In a world with a global economy we cannot prevent companies from outsourcing, that would be unfair. But what we can do is see to it that companies eligible for tax breaks operating in that global economy don’t use those tax breaks to destroy our own economy by undermining our own workforce.

Either products made overseas by companies receiving tax breaks for overseas production should not be sold here in The United States, to include components of larger products, or those companies should not receive tax breaks for outsourcing.

There is nothing wrong really with buying products made overseas from time to time by foreign companies or American ones for that matter. Often you don’t really have a choice because we don’t make all products in The United States. But it is one thing to buy something that is made in The United States and it is another thing entirely to buy something that through clever marketing appears to be made in The United States but is in fact almost completely composed of foreign-made products. I recall looking at a T-Shirt in the bargain bin at one of my favorite sporting goods stores. On the front was an American Flag with the word AMERICA! printed boldly on it just like that. When I checked the care label I noticed the country of origin was China. Somebody probably got a tax break for that, too.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Being a veteran I am acutely aware of the staffing shortage some of the VA Hospitals have been facing and the problems with scheduling that have been brought to the fore recently, scheduling problems resulting in delays that then resulted in the deaths of veterans.

I think the solution to the problem is rather simple. Instead of forcing veterans to attend a Veterans Administration Hospital for treatment, we as a country should pay for veterans to obtain treatment on the open market at a local hospital in their community instead of having to travel to a V.A. Hospital.

Paying for veterans to obtain medical care on the open market makes huge financial sense, for one thing. Some veterans have to be transported great lengths to receive treatment since they live hundreds of miles from the nearest VA Hospital. When scheduling exceeds capability to provide medical care, give the veteran the option of visiting another medical facility on the open market. Why let a medical problem exacerbate itself and become more expensive because we are making the veteran wait for care? Medical issues generally become more expensive to treat the longer into the condition or malady, any doctor will tell you that. Since we use tax payer dollars to pay for the treatment, why make it more expensive?

Our elderly who have not offered up their lives for their country or served in the military are eligible for free medical care and we do not make them go to a special hospitals for “the elderly” like we make our veterans attend VA Medical facilities. Could you imagine what would happen if we made our elderly visit special hospitals for the elderly? Could you imagine the political cacophony of screams coming from the retired? They are making us go to “death hospitals!” It is a valid fear really. So why do we force our veterans to do just that, visit special, overcrowded hospitals?

Let me add that I am not saying we should dismantle the current VA Hospital system, quite the contrary. We should enhance it. Certain war related catastrophic wounds are best treated by specialists who see that type of injury all of the time. But not all such battlefield injuries require those types of specialists. Therefore, I believe we can fund enhancements to our VA Hospital system through properly managing care for our veterans by providing choices.

My local VA hospital is an excellent facility and has not had any of the problems we have been hearing about in the news. But veterans who live in the northern part of the state have to travel hundreds of miles to receive advanced medical care and their families often have to stay several nights away from their homes when there are local hospitals right there in their own community offering the same care. Why do we put them through that? Again, could you imagine the raucous cries if we made the elderly do that, travel half way across the country for care? And most of them haven’t even served in the military.

I think this is a better way of dealing with the problem of overburdened VA facilities. Use of the facilities is slated to increase as The US draws down in Afghanistan completely so the problems are likely to get worse.

It’s time to give our veterans a choice option when it comes to care.

It is an indication of the failure of our country’s entitlement culture when we pay for our elderly to use whatever hospital they choose and they have not even served in the military while we force our veterans, many of them elderly themselves in to crowded VA Hospitals. It is just plain wrong. Veterans pay taxes too AND have served their country. So why are they being treated like second class citizens?

It’s time to give veterans a choice when it comes to receiving medical care. Not only is it the right thing to do, it makes huge financial sense.

Contact your Senators and Congressmen and tell them you think veterans should have a choice to receive care on the open market by clicking here Find Your Elected Representatives and send them an email.

You will be doing every veteran in America a big favor and saving yourself some money at the same time. And that’s what America is really all about. It ain’t about entitlements.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Respect for the law and obedience to the law are two different states of being in the larger social context of “community.” Respect for the law comes out of a belief that what the law does for the community is generally good. Obedience to the law arises out of a fear of the consequences of not obeying the law. Though both respect for and obedience to the law may achieve the same result, clearly one, a societal respect for the law, is better.

Respect for the law is better in that members of society will actively participate in maintaining the law and living by the code of the law and the larger effect of that is that perpetuating the law is much less expensive to the public because policing and enforcement of the law are much less costly when the population is actively and willingly involved in those tasks.

Getting a population to adhere to the law when they feel it is not in their best interest, when they feel the law is unfair is always more expensive, substantially more expensive and always results in a substantially larger tax levy to cover the cost of law enforcement.

When you examine what is happening in Chicago with regard to the massive shootings almost every year (two years ago The National Guard was brought in) you must conclude that clearly there is little respect for the law or obedience to it for that matter. At 82 wounded and 15 dead over the 4th of July weekend, those casualty rates are higher than in Afghanistan during the height of the conflict. Only it’s not Afghanistan, it’s Chicago. Stop what you are doing, set whatever you have in your hands down, and think about it. Really. Take a moment and think about it.

Now, I do not reside in Chicago. It’s a remarkable city and I enjoy visiting it every chance I get. The people are wonderful. But the cost of policing the kind of behavior as was witnessed this last July 4th weekend surely must be supplemented with Federal Dollars. All of the funds going to support that beleaguered police department are not arising from local tax dollars, all of our dollars as well from around the country are flowing in for sure. ALL urban police departments receive substantial federal tax subsidy.

Why? Is it merely that urban populations are suffering from economic blight and they are warring for sustenance? Hardly. Is it because there is substantial political discord among the urban masses? Very unlikely because most urban areas tend to vote as a solid block. Is even asking all of these questions in an attempt to determine a reason for such behavior after what is possibly decades of such activity even justified following so many attempts to adjust social norms, fund certain behaviors through entitlement programs, even change numerous times the lexicon with which we speak? Of course not.

Then what is it? It is the law. It is the laws. It is the combination of various socialist/communist laws coupled with a variety of laws governing consensual behavior that has created this poisonous soup once called The American Melting Pot.

It is the legislated cabal of entitlements that fertilize all sorts of what I call “sex for money” programs that reward women for having children out-of-wedlock, for example. It is the laws that govern adult consensual behaviors, the prohibition of certain activities that society finds acceptable behavior behind closed doors but fears what will happen when the laws governing such behavior loosen, because the system is telling them general pandemonium will ensue (look what there is now, is that not general pandemonium?). In that last circumstance, organized criminal activity takes control due to the profitability of the circumstances and you begin to see various forms of “street justice” being meted out and with that a general breakdown in respect for the law. What we are witnessing today is merely an amplification of that disrespect for the law which results from the combination of social programs and laws governing the behavior of adults. In a way, it is not unlike the period of alcohol prohibition, only worse because then, such massive and expensive social programs did not exist. Today, the problem is many times worse than during the prohibition of alcohol as it is exacerbated by heavy and expensive social burdens placed on the ordinary citizen.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what is happening in Chicago today. I’m convinced. Certain. And it is that general breakdown in respect for the law that makes law enforcement so very, very expensive, both in dollars and the lives of those who offer up their lives to enforce the laws.

We must not fear changing the law to prevent bankrupting our society, both economically and socially. Because that’s exactly what is happening now. When there is no peace, when travel is restricted, when taxation for maintaining the general peace and well-being of our society grows so astronomically, as it has, the law must change. It must. There is no other solution.

Failure to adjust the laws to social norms, failure to require those who cannot control their personal interactions or to pay for the result of those interactions, is bankrupting our country. Look at the national debt! It’s no accident it is so huge. If we refuse to address the matter legislatively we can only blame ourselves. The government keeps trying to hide the surmounting debt!

When will the economy reconcile itself with the realities of our country’s debt and socio-economic condition? How far off is the next Black Friday? Who is to say if our government continues spending like it does and enabling behavior like that?

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Anti-gun advocates like to quote statistics and make generalizations about the behavior of gun owners in order to stake their position. Gun rights advocates like to do the same. The problem is often such pseudo-scientific methods don’t tell the whole story. Reality sets in. The government would like very much to restrict firearms ownership in The United States. We hear of it with each change of leadership. The media make it an issue. Law enforcement predicts pandemonium.

Perhaps you get what is happening in Chicago when they do restrict firearms ownership, where there are the strictest gun laws in the nation? You get situations like the small war going on right here inside of our borders, right in Chicago. Just more proof restrictive guns laws don’t work, law enforcement is probably overstaffed and yet unable to address the problem and may in fact be suffering an obvious defeat in the eyes of the public and at massive, huge taxpayer expense, and there is a large cultural cross-section of society, particularly in urban areas, that has been handling their problems the way they say fit for some time now regardless of what the government says or does. The laws only really have any effect on law-abiding citizens. Kind of makes everyone else look like patsies. That, ladies and gentlemen, is bad law and as you can see, it makes this country a lawless place to a huge extent in certain circumstances. The law and enforcement of those laws are making our country a lawless place in a way.

Consider alcohol prohibition, only the criminals really profited from it. And often so did law enforcement. The rest of the population suffered. I think we have to ask ourselves, is that what is happening today with guns? I’d say the answer is fairly obvious. Just take a look at Chicago.

Receipt

William Thien

Eight-two shot, fourteen dead in Chicago, IL this 4th of July weekend. Those numbers would not belie much if it were not for the fact that Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country. Read this story from The Chicago Tribune. Chicago Shootings

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Eighty-two shot, fourteen dead in Chicago, IL this 4th of July weekend. Those numbers would not belie much if it were not for the fact that Chicago has the toughest gun laws in the country. Read this story from The Chicago Tribune. Chicago Shootings


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