William Thien

Posts Tagged ‘Revolutionary War

One thing socialists and communists don’t want the public to know about socialism and communism is that the social programs they derive make things more expensive for those who are taxed to pay for the programs.

Let’s take rent assistance, for example. If you skim tax dollars off of the middle class (that’s where the money comes from) to redistribute it to pay for single women having children out-of-wedlock (nearly half of all babies born last year were born to single mothers), single mothers who need to stay home and take care of their babies, what is effectively happening is that an increase in the demand for rental housing is taking place and there is a corresponding supply of money, rent assistance dollars, to satisfy that demand. The socialists are using your money, tax dollars, to pay for that rent assistance. You are thinking, “Awe, isn’t that nice, I’m helping someone keep a roof over their heads.” But that’s only a small portion of it really, the good part.

The social programs put more money into the rental economy and thereby enable landowners to increase their rents. If all people don’t have enough money to pay the rent, landlords have to lower the rents. When demand is high, when money is available as in the form of rent assistance, prices are kept high, artificially high. The key word is “artificially” high. When demand is low, prices go down.

Now there is nothing wrong with landowners getting paid for renting their property, but social programs such as rent assistance are a double whammy to you and your dollar in that they totally undermine your very own housing dollar by working against it, driving the price of housing up for you and also taxing you for the dollars to do it! That’s what the socialists and communists don’t want you to know! They are forcing you to screw yourself right out of your very own place!

The same holds true for most major social programs and entitlements, Medicare, Medicaid, you name it. If you examine the cost of health care since the implementation of those two programs, what has happened? Recognize a pattern, yet?

Shhhhhh! Don’t tell anyone. They don’t want you to know, either. I’m not supposed to say anything, or else!, they say.

The media doesn’t tell you, do they? No, they want people sitting at home in front of the television or making more babies on the rug in front of it. If people are working, they can’t watch TV. Only those who ascribe to the socialist system can stay at home and watch TV all the time because they get the check, the assistance, and the food stamps. And many do. One in six Americans now receives food stamps, almost fifteen percent of the population. How many of them are working?

Corporate media actually likes the socialist system because it creates a large audience of viewers that they can market their products to in order to get the money from the food stamps and assistance checks. Is it big business? No, ladies and gentlemen, it’s huge!

How about food stamps? We’ve been talking about that lately. As I’ve described, when you throw a bunch of money in to any market, prices go up. It’s basic economic theory. If the supply remains constant and demand increases, prices go up. When you put $74 billion dollars into the market economy demand increases and so prices go up. And prices have gone up, haven’t they?

There were some questions sent to me asking about how such assistance programs drive up the prices of things and as you can see, not only do social programs drive up the price of things you buy, they use your money to do it. That’s what the socialists and communists in the government don’t want you to know.

Well, what’s in it for the socialists and communists in the government, you ask? A job, a job helping you screw yourself it appears, and judging from the size and scope of social programs in the US in comparison to the 1950’s, apparently they take great pleasure in seeing to it. Maybe Senator McCarthy from Wisconsin was right. Yes, I suppose he was.

Shhh! I shouldn’t be telling you all of this, any of it.

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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I blogged recently about what I believe is happening with regard to The NSA’s program to surveil the telephone records of all Americans. I concluded that due to the success of the 9/11 attackers and that of The Boston Bombers, even though our intelligence analysts had advanced information on both events, the fact that both attacks were still successful indicated that the focus of the surveillance (collection of telephone records) by The NSA on all Americans may not be couched entirely in a desire to prevent further terrorist activity. Such flags as a heads up from a foreign intelligence agency (from Russia on The Boston Bombers) or the report about a pilot not wanting to learn how to land a jetliner (regarding the 9/11 attackers) only to fly the jetliner, such reports and information are the holy grail of the intelligence business. If someone looked the other way it was because they were told to do so. When you discover something like that while working in the intelligence business, it often merits a promotion. There are accolades and back slapping. And why not? Look what can be prevented with such knowledge? But more importantly in those cases, look what wasn’t.

Now, let me add that I have worked for The NSA (See my “About Page”) while on assignment from The US Army. In my experience, The NSA doesn’t simply just start collecting information on particular targets and the thought that they should start wiretapping or collecting information on all US Citizens on their own accord is absurd. These along with all of the other recent developments, The I.R.S. scandal, all have political origins, I am certain.

In fact my experience with such matters leads me to recall a situation where a number of us, all analysts, were asked if we should re-direct the focus of a multi-capability surveillance satellite over the country’s border to collect information on drug activity of a particular type. Of the ten or so of us sitting in the secure facility, all said we should not do so. With the technology we had at the command of what was basically a joystick, we could have easily done so, I must tell you. There were members of all US Armed forces present and members of several agencies as well. Not one person voted to turn the satellite in the direction of The United States. That tells you something about the very highest caliber of members of The US Armed Forces, then. This was in the early nineties. Instead, the information about the targets was given to the state police of said state and forwarded to domestic agencies.

That sentiment, that we should not surveil our own country due to the charter of The NSA may have changed since 9/11. But I doubt it. Why? The screening process to become an employee of The NSA or work in my capacity at the time in The US Army on assignment there at an NSA post is very thorough and involves numerous and lengthy questionnaires with cross-referenced questions, often a series of polygraph examinations with members of The Department of Defense visiting your neighbors, former employers, and going to schools you attended. The process frequently takes months, sometimes more than a year. My Top Secret SCSI Clearance took seven or eight months to complete. The older you are, the longer it takes because there is more footwork for the investigators to do.

Getting back to the point though, I believe that there is a political component to The NSA’s surveillance of all US Telephone records. I believe this because information obtained by said surveillance is transferred to local authorities. The federal government can’t be everywhere in a physical sense if it can in fact be everywhere in an electronic sense, which is what all of the databases, the telephone records, the credit card transaction records, the internet activity records, it is what all of the records allow, a sort of electronic omniscience. But since the federal government can’t be everywhere, they must utilize local resources to accomplish certain activities. Whoa! Where are you going with this?

The answer to the question that is forming in your minds is a definite, “yes.”

What is happening at a certain level is that the federal government is tasking local authorities with the responsibility to collect information on your physical activities if you make “the list” you could say.

But even more importantly, The Patriot Act, that legislation which authorized the expansion of wiretapping and such activities as you have now become aware of, also allows something much more insidious, the “sneak-and-peek” (entry) of your residence, with a warrant but unannounced (they do it when you are not there). Who knows when they will decide to tell you or how often they enter? In other words, someone deemed to be suitable to the task (may even be someone who is duly deputized due to a certain skill set such as a locksmith), someone deemed suitable is authorized to enter your dwelling in your absence and search it. But does it stop there? Do they sabotage your things during the search? Do they take things? You will never know unless you notice something yourself, because The Patriot Act authorizes such governmental intrusion.

The real problem in my estimation with such activity though is that anyone with a badge or any type of governmental authority can probably get away with doing what I’ve just described and you would never know and with no authority from the federal government. Your neighbors may even be aware, and you wouldn’t have a clue if they didn’t tell you. Things get bumped during such searches. Perhaps you noticed something was disturbed. Do your neighbors have a key to your apartment? What is happening here?! See what I’m talking about? I’ve blogged in the past about putting an end to The Patriot Act. Why? Not only does the Patriot Act undermine The Constitution (which may have been temporarily necessary, but that is unlikely), The Patriot Act also undermines the social well being of the country.

Just as importantly, The Patriot Act makes no real distinction between foreign and domestic terrorism and that is the catch (Read the link I’ve included from The ACLU further on).

Are you an outspoken conservative that wants to downsize government (maybe you went on the “possible terrorist” list)? 2nd Amendment Activist (possible terrorist)? Who knows how long the list is and who or what defines it? Did you recently buy some ammunition online? How about a firearm? Do you blog as I do? Do you like to read blogs like mine? Do you write to your elected officials with your suggestions (this is a crucial one because it immediately becomes a national security matter, almost certainly if you express any disgruntlement and dissatisfaction with their performance)? Isn’t everyone disgruntled about the performance of the government? Hold it, isn’t just about everyone disgruntled?

Lo and behold, suddenly we discover we are all under surveillance.

Enough said.

But don’t take my word for it. And I’m not the greatest fan of these people, but read this http://www.aclu.org/national-security/surveillance-under-usa-patriot-act

Note: the only other reason I can offer for the oversight which missed the obvious regarding The Boston Bombers is that now that the US Government has tasked intelligence agencies to monitor all of our activities, search old ladies and children at the airport, what have you, there is so much information coming in that the intelligence agencies are overwhelmed with a sort of white noise of information and unable to completely function or focus on certain threats. There is essentially information overload at the intelligence agencies. But to me the prior scenario seems more likely. Nevertheless, our intelligence agencies don’t just start spying (as our elected would have us believe), they don’t just start spying on us en masse without direction from our elected, Congress in particular. And this is why I’ve written to the effect that we should once again start profiling and leads to the title of that essay on profiling, Welcome to Post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States. An Argument for Profiling.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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The problem with Modern American Politics is that it is offered up to the American Public in the form of a machine language. Modern American Politics is binary thought in its purest form. Modern American Politics is to a greater extent comprised of two parties, two powerful media wielding, media cajoling, dissent stifling parties. Modern American Politics is Democrat vs. Republican. It is yes or no. Like a machine, Modern American Politics is ‘on or off’. It is ‘us vs. them’. It is ‘good vs. evil’. Like a computer’s binary thought, Modern American Poltics is 0 or 1. In its current form Modern American Politics is a machine language. You are either for us, or you are against us. Particularly divisive, if we continue down this path the country will suffer.

Seemingly extreme at both ends, one party or the other, Modern American Politics offers little middle ground and as a result those in the middle classes suffer the most as both sides tug at middle, tug at the middle for taxes, tug at the middle for political ground, yank the middle to the limit.

One can see evidence of division in the elections with close presidential race after close presidential race as voters go to the ballot box to make a choice of what is often referred to as “the lesser of two evils.” There it is again. Yes or no. On or off. 0 or 1. Two choices. Machine language.

Is this part of the design of our political system or is there something going on behind the scenes, something preventing general consent?

Given the circumstances, why hasn’t a third party begun to take hold in a significant way? Is it due to the massive amounts of money the two major parties have? Why hasn’t the media helped bring the country out of this condition? Is the media a whore and at the same time the Judas to be bought by the two major parties with the intent of stifling upstarts? Should the media have conditional right such as free speech?

The media certainly love this perpetual campaign advertising season the country seems to have been in for the last several years with recall after recall and contentious battle after contentious campaign battle. Where is campaign finance reform? You don’t hear the media asking that question, do you? No, they are making too much loot. At our expense, I should add. Does the media really deserve free speech, then?

It may not be time for a third party. But the country is divided. And it is time to see to things. Before somebody flips the switch, flips the switch on the freedom to do something about it that is.

Copyright © William Thien 2012

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First of all, before I begin this commentary, let me say that I believe in conspiracy theories. Anytime two people are involved in murder, the charges when they are caught are often called “Conspiracy to Commit Murder.” And that’s only two people. What happens when you have hundreds? Furthermore, war is by definition a form of a conspiracy, though often it is not defined as a crime.

And let me add that in the capture and neutralization of Osama Bin Laden our military has shown exemplary performance that perhaps this country has never seen before.

With that said…

If I recall correctly a co-worker told me someone had just telephoned him to tell him a plane hit the World Trade Centers and it was on TV. We were painting the lines on a football field at the time. Let’s go inside and watch the news, he said.

Just as we entered the office the second plane hit the second tower.

Now, for the last ten years, the country has been held hostage by a war designed to catch Osama Bin Laden, the supposed mastermind of the attack. Our civil liberties have suffered incredibly during this time. Blanket, warrant less searches are the norm now. We have shed many basic freedoms. As a country we have less, much less. Our babies and elderly women, you know the ladies that like to wear those flowery dresses that look like billowy sheets are being patted down and strip searched at the airport.

And if I recall correctly, the country was at the time of the attacks in a very introspective yet positive mood politically. There was, due to the advent of the internet, great and open political discussion that was gaining traction in the real political world. People were excited. There was a certain mood of political self-realization and hope for the disenfranchised and those not traditionally part of the country’s vast political landscape. The status quo was changing. And fast!

You may already know where I am going with this. You may already know I am going to suggest that Osama Bin Laden and the terrorists didn’t quite act alone, if you know what I mean. But why? What’s the motive? Stay with me.

Due to the newly discovered openness of the internet en masse there was a great political momentum that I believe our government and the various political apparatuses didn’t understand. And they were afraid. They were afraid of what the internet could do to the political makeup of the country. They had never seen anything like such online electronic gathering, discussion, and organization. And they were losing control. What before was a stifled populace was suddenly speaking out in organized, effective ways on email lists and open online forums about any and everything that needed change. Things were going to change, it was clear.

Enter Osama Bin Laden. Now, I can only speculate about this, but having worked on assignment from The US Army to The National Security Agency I have always believed it is unlikely Osama Bin Laden would have been successful with the attack given the structure of the US Intelligence apparatus at the time I was employed as an analyst. When the story came to light about the World Trade Center attacks I immediately concluded that he had help from within, you could say. I am probably wrong, but Osama Bin Laden was once employed rather directly by The United States in another capacity. Why not twice? He did quite well in his first role.

And if he is not still alive in some holding cell somewhere or living well somewhere secretly in comfort, I have seen nothing to indicate my meager theory is incorrect. And the fact that he was killed as reported recently and his body buried at sea seems, I say “seems” like our government was attempting to get rid of the evidence, that more than anything they were concerned about revelations of collusion. Maybe that was Osama’s next big attack! The revelation that The US hired him as it had in the past. Maybe his terrorist days were over but he still wanted to be a big man on the world terrorist scene. Maybe that is why after having known for some time where he was we suddenly decided to act. Osama was going public.

And I can debunk my own theories by simply recalling the Blind Cleric Omar Abdel-Rahman, known as “The Blind Sheikh” who was implicated in the first World Trade Center Bombings in 1993 by simply stating that The World Trade Centers have been a target of radical Muslim fundamentalists long before 9/11.

Who really knows? But does it really matter? Not in the context of this discussion. And personally, I’m not certain there are enough rogue personnel in the American Intelligence business to enable something so vast as what occurred on 9/11. True, evidence, obvious evidence acquired by our own internal security mechanism, The FBI, seems to have been overlooked that could have prevented the attacks. And this is in itself sufficient reason to raise a question about the origination of the event. But it is not sufficient evidence to implicate anyone in The US.

What is important is that new software run by super computers was suddenly brought online to skim all of the talk on the internet in the so-called search for terrorists. People’s emails were checked by such programs as Predator for possible terrorist activity. It would seem it was as if THE INTERNET ITSELF were the target. Our credit cards are now all monitored and profiled. This supposed protective posture actually stifled open political discussion overnight. The silent majority suddenly doubled. Open political discussion was suddenly stifled as this new war redefined the world. Who wants to be labeled “a terrorist?” The World Trade Center attacks put a sudden stop to what was incredible about the internet and what was miraculous about the time in the history of our country, that you didn’t have to be in the same room to discuss something in front of lots of people or even be there at the same time. You could do it on the internet.

So, if there is one thing that is significant about the demise of Osama Bin Laden it is that we should no longer let the war on terror divert us as it did whether accidentally or by design from our goals as countrymen who found this new age, the internet age, to our liking and to our benefit as a way to make this country a better place to live in.

We have work to do. I’m sure you will agree, perhaps now more than ever. I think you all know what I mean.

Let’s dig up those old discussions we were having when the World Trade Center attacks happened. Let’s get those old emails out! Let’s get back to where we were and carry on.

Most importantly, let us not be afraid to move forward. Because more than anything, I believe that is what they want for us to be, they want for us to be afraid. Fear, it would seem, has all along been their grip. Let me, let us, loosen the hold.

Copyright © William Thien 2011

The dictionary on my desk defines a Police State as “A state in which the government exercises rigid and repressive controls, especially by means of a secret police force.” But it is a small pocket dictionary and does not offer a very comprehensive perspective of what a police state might be in my estimation.

And admittedly I am more concerned in this discourse with the most blatant symptoms of what a modern police state might be in such a country as The United States. First, for those of us unfamiliar with the term “police state” and to remove any logical false conclusion from the discussion which might get under foot, let me explain that a police state is not a state where only police reside. And I am not discussing the local municipal police in your community, though they do participate in the activities I describe here from time to time in an ancillary way. We can all appreciate the services of the local police. It may seem simple to you and I, but it is necessary to make those statements omitting such a potential misunderstanding in order to proceed with this argument. Now that we have that out of the way, we can get to the obvious.

The most obvious and blatant symptom of the police state in which we now reside, “The United States of Police States” it could be called, is the groping of elderly American women and men at the airport by The Transportation Security Administration and Homeland Security. It is first and foremost a position by our government that everyone is suspect. It is an absolute condition of the state to which there is little or no variance. It is a “rigid and repressive” form of control as described in my dictionary’s definition of a “Police State.” This to me is the most obvious indication that we are living in a police state, although a modern form of a police state, one not clearly defined by the little pocket dictionary within reach on my desk.

One might say, well in order to be as comprehensive as possible, everyone boarding a plane must be searched. Nonsense! She’s ninety years old. Get your hands off of her you imbecile! Someone else might say, we are doing that in order not to discriminate against any other social cross-section of society; we do not want to profile. Again, nonsense! And a complete waste of tax dollars and resources. We are fighting a war and clearly losing it by those standards then, even though the declared enemy has a small, minute fraction of our forces. No, something else is going on here. This isn’t about a war against terrorism. This is about the desire for a complete and total authoritarian repression of the American public. You know this because the law extends and is exercised even upon the most vulnerable and fragile, the most cherished and harmless of us, our elderly, as if even they are the enemy. If certain segments of society were not subject to such searches, it would mean then that complete and total authoritarian control was not in effect. Simple as that. Such things don’t always seem so obvious on the surface of things. And we can’t let our fear of getting on some list or catching the attention of “the authorities” prevent us from speaking up about such behaviors by our government. That’s how it all starts. That’s how it gets out of hand. That is why we are having this discussion today.

Americans travel. We have freedom of movement here in The United States. We are a society that travels. All of the terrorists during 9/11 were of a particular social persuasion. They were not elderly American men and women. In fact, they were the furthest removed! Instead, we are searching the victims as if they were the terrorists! Such nonsense must not be allowed to persist or it will sneak up on us as a country in the future in some other form.

Our government, or some portion of our government, or perhaps a foreign or a conglomerated concern deftly manipulating our government (the most frightening aspect of this discussion indeed and fuel for another essay on the matter, I’m sure), is simply using the war on terrorism to further its war on Americans. And the groping of elderly women at the airport, whether it be by a human, or a machine, is the most obvious indication. And if it is not a war on Americans, that is the net effect of what is happening, an inwardly directed form of repression. Americans are the ones having to endure the conditions.

Often the most obvious indications are not the most insidious, the most dangerous to us and to our freedoms, however shocking to our sentiments they may be.

From my perspective, the most dangerous aspect of allowing such warrant less searches of our elderly is the mere fact that someone is probably saying, well if they will let us get away with that, we can probably do just about anything we want to them. The groping of elderly women at the airport is then a symptom, an indication of something coming, a disease of a waning, sick, once free state, now a “Police State” where more pernicious activities are sure to follow as time advances and transgressions against the citizenry become progressively worse. This to me is the most dangerous aspect of the current situation.

Welcome to post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States.

So what are my conclusions? First, what has happened essentially is that our government has labeled everyone “a suspect.” They have done this not to catch terrorists or to prevent terrorism, it is perhaps to place themselves above us in order to maintain their perception of control. They are after all the experts on security. Right? Secondly, our government has labeled everyone “a suspect” to justify their existence. Without the so-called necessity to search everyone, even our most elderly, World War Veterans, you name it (our government does), there would be no need for such massive blanket, warrant less searches. In other words, if they only have to search a small fraction or a segment of our society, we don’t need them. And as a result, if we don’t need them, we also don’t need the massive expenditures involved.

Here is what we must do:

We must start profiling once again. Why, if profiling is racist? Because searching elderly women and men at the airport is worse, it is indecent, it is un-American, and it is just as if not more importantly, inefficient. We search them regardless of the race or denomination, by the way. So, as a matter of such profiling being racist, the point is invalid.

You might say, well how would you like it if they profiled you? They probably already do. The government at every level has never liked my rhetoric. If you think I wouldn’t know what I’m talking about, read my “About” page. You might add, aren’t you afraid someone will play the “race card” and accuse you of racism? No. I’m not afraid of “the race card.” And we cannot make security policy based on fear of one social group or another screaming racism if it opens up a defensive hole to us all as a country, as a society to which a terrorist can pass through. What is the greater danger? Everyone is already searched anyway. I’d be more than willing to endure a search at the airport to relieve others of it if the profile was “white males,” but it isn’t. That’s all. If it were males of another race I should hope they would have the intestinal fortitude to accept such profiling instead of dragging the rest of us into the organized chaos within which we reside today.

Secondly, the cost to the taxpayer of such blanketed searches is tremendous and counterproductive. What do you mean it is counterproductive?

If one fights a war, one does not concentrate all of its resources on non-combatives. That is the surest way to lose the war. But that is exactly what is happening. 99.9999999999 percent of people who pass through security at an airport, for example, are not terrorists and have no such inclinations. But all are searched. This is nonsense. The government knows these people are not planning on blowing up the plane. But the government concentrates massive expenditure and effort to search these people. No, there is something else going on. As paranoid as it sounds, Americans are being sized up for something to come. This is perhaps a test, a test to see if they can soon be at our door and we shall not be able to stop them. They will be in our bank accounts only to withdraw. They already collect all of our credit card transactions using systems such as LexisNexis and then run them through profiling software to see if our monetary activities indicate potential terrorist behaviors (As an aside some media outlets have this access as well, and I don’t know why. It should be illegal. That is definitely an abuse of the constitution). If they are profiling all of our monetary activities, then why not selectively profile at airports?

If we allow such behaviors by our government to persist, if we do not screen the most criminal and stop wasting our resources on the most benign, we will surely pay as a country, and not just in terms of the massive tax expenditures to perpetuate the “Police State.” We may not have a catastrophic terrorist event. But the greater catastrophe is that we will be left without the country we once had. Or, isn’t that what has already happened?

Welcome to post 9/11 America: The United States of Police States.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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Workers in The United States and other established industrial countries tend to earn higher wages than in third world countries or the far east. It’s a fact. We all hear stories about large corporations moving their production lines to the far east and Central America and the low wages those workers are paid. We may have seen stories on the news about the appalling working conditions and long hours those workers endure. But is that really why American companies are moving production overseas? I believe there are other more subtle forces at work that unless we examine them over a period of time, we will not recognize them.

What is significant to us is that products can frequently be made overseas for much less than in America. This of course creates a price gap between goods made here in The U.S. and those made overseas. Some countries can even buy the raw materials from us and ship them overseas, fabricate a quality product, and then ship it back to us for less than we can produce it here because the wages they pay their workers are so much lower. Labor is often the largest part of the production cost equation. But as you shall see, there is something more subtle at work as well and it has nothing to do with American workers being paid a living wage.

What is the result of all of these forces, those obvious and the invisible? Industry, particularly small industry and business, that which employs the greatest number of Americans has suffered in The U.S. for the last thirty or forty years. What does small business have to do with what I describe? Small business and industry manufacture consumer goods, small ticket items. It may not seem like it, but small business and industry are the bread and butter of the economy and it is this market into which foreign manufacturers have made particularly substantial forays into our economy. One could view what is happening to small business and industry in The United States as a form of warfare, economic warfare, because it undermines our economy in such a strategically effective way that somehow it could not be by accident. But as you shall see, we have a saboteur in our midst which is of no foreign origin whatsoever, someone in an entirely deceptive set of threads for which we pay and supply, as you shall see — for which we pay and supply dearly.

When a consumer goes to the store, they are most often spending what is called “discretionary income.” They are on a budget and very “cost conscious.” They have particular needs and only so much money to spend. But they spend that money more often, weekly perhaps, and it is that flow of money into the economy that brings necessary economic sustenance to the entire country. Without it, a country such as ours which is based on industrial and agricultural production will eventually suffer hard times, some believe much worse than current conditions. Bread, as the saying goes, is the staff of life. So too then is small business, that which manufactures consumer goods, the staff of life to our economy.

As I’ve stated, low wages paid to overseas workers and appalling work environments overseas in juxtaposition to working conditions here and higher wages are not the only factors that have contributed to the deconstruction of industry in the United States. I believe our government has had a direct hand in it as well. Please read on.

When a consumer goes to the store with a number of purchases in mind, retailers like to have several items available at differing prices, or price points, to allow the consumer to make a purchasing decision. It’s part of the psychology of retail. The consumer doesn’t feel like they are getting something shoved down their throat because there is only one choice, and the retailer or store owner can offer a variety of items from inexpensive to expensive items with the hopes of taking in more income by selling what is more expensive. For the sake of this discussion you could call the difference in prices from low to high on the same type of product as a price spread or gap in price.

Prior to going to the store the consumer has to earn some money, though.

Enter the income tax. When income taxes increase as they have for the last sixty years (In 1952 a family of four paid less than 2% of their income in taxes) consumers are able to buy fewer products made here in The United States because, as I mentioned previously, products made in other countries can often be made for less, much less. U.S. income taxes then shrink or decrease the spread or the gap, the choices based on price of available products an American consumer can purchase.

Income taxes don’t just decrease purchasing power in The United States, income taxes hack at the consumer’s purchasing power as with the lopping stroke of a rusty axe. Today, some of us pay over twenty percent in income taxes. That is an eighteen percent decrease in purchasing power in comparison to the family in 1952 that paid only 2 percent of their income in taxes to the federal government. And when you add all of the social programs we pay into that are not classified as taxes but are deductions to your pay nevertheless, what is withdrawn from your pay can easily exceed forty percent for some before your paycheck is even in your hands. That forty percent is more often than not the difference in price between the products made in The. U.S. and those made overseas. In fact, that very fact is incorporated into the price structure of products made overseas. Products are priced at an amount equivalent to the average income tax rate less than those made in The United States. Products manufactured overseas are priced at a level which brings them in line with your real wages, that which is left after taxes and other deductions. Clever, isn’t it.

Taxpayers have been struck with such excessive taxation in The U.S. since the 1950’s on an increasing, sliding scale. Why? There were great excesses after World War II and nobody thought about the future. There was a melding of political ideals across the globe with some of them heavily socialist/communist which frequently remain today and are enormously expensive to maintain even though they have proven false in communist countries. And finally, people became busier with the woman leaving the house to go to work and they didn’t see it coming.

Now, strapped with high income taxes, on a heavy sliding scale for some, coupled with sales taxes that creep up every few years, real wages, or the net people take home for working the same amount of time and producing the same and frequently more, has been halved in many places. People are working into the middle of the week before they begin earning. Less and less is there any difference between what a person makes in wages in The U.S. in comparison to what a worker makes in the countries where there are such appalling work conditions. But it is not the industrialist or the small business person that is to blame, not the employee whether they be union or not.

It is our own government who frequently seems to pit the employee against the employer to redirect the focus away from the government’s desire to tax more and more. Our own government is working to break up industrial productivity simply to perpetuate its own existence. They understand the economics at work here. Yet, they let the employer and the employee work at each other as if they were enemies. Income taxes also create discord in our industrial economy. Income taxes are divisive. High income taxes are treacherous. A point could be made that high income taxes are treasonous because they undermine a country’s ability to perpetuate itself through its own industrial production and economic self-reliance.

So, the effect of such heavy taxation is to drive the American consumer down to the lower priced products since they have effectively less to spend. And where are the lower priced products often made? All too often it is overseas. Income and sales taxes actually force the consumer to purchase products that are manufactured overseas by hacking away at the choices they can afford. Therein, ladies and gentlemen, lies the saboteur, income taxes, the hacking, slashing serial killer of the blood spattered American Dream. With each week, with each paycheck comes another fall of the axe. “Kill! Kill! Kill!” The shadowy face growls.

If we want to make it possible for industry to flourish here, even just to function here in The U.S., we need to attack income and sales taxes with the goal of making it possible for Americans to buy American made.

Because our taxes are literally cutting us right out of the market.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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One of the problems Germany had prior to World War II is the desire to print money to solve its economic problems. The measure was counterintuitive to the belief that it would help the economy at the time. More money?! Well, we should be able to buy more things and pay more bills. Eventually, a wheelbarrow of Deutschmarks was required to buy a loaf of bread. The effect was a devaluing of the currency to mere worthlessness. Fuel for the furnace. Of course if you have had a World History course you know that the method was horribly unsuccessful.

Recently The United States Federal Reserve Chairman, Mr. Ben Bernanke, announced that the Fed would make more money available for lenders to stimulate the economy. They are essentially printing money much like Germany did. They don’t really have any more money. But through manipulations of the value of the dollar and some other tricks, more money is made available. It is not like there is a big pile of money in the basement at the Fed and somebody says, “Get the shovel!”

The “stated” hope (I say “stated” to mark the notion for reference later on in this post) is that the measure will hopefully lower interest rates and make it possible for automakers and real estate brokers to sell more. In general, the method is to be ‘stimulative.’

I hope this will be the net effect. Because we recently saw the same method used by Alan Greenspan during the Clinton and Bush administrations and it resulted in the real estate bubble and a substantial stock market correction, what some are now calling a crash in slow motion because it didn’t happen all in one month. Homes that were mere shacks suddenly were priced like the proverbial mansion because it was so easy to come by a home loan. But the result was that a working stiff could no longer afford to buy a decent home, nor maintain it for that matter. Demand increases price.

Everyone knows that wages and salaries do not and have never really kept pace with inflation. And generally, for some reason the government’s forecasts and readings of inflation don’t seem to coincide with the truths of the free market. When the government talks about things, they always seem to come out a bit rosier than the dandelions which populate the lawn.

So, if the government (The Fed) wants to make more money available for loans, which is great really (unless you know it will drive inflation up), and the same method used within the last decade no less caused the worst recession in The United States since The Great Depression, then why are we doing it again so soon? What really is behind the repeat performance?

I think I may have at least a partial answer. Taxes.

If interest rates are lowered, people can afford to buy more house and more people, theoretically, can afford to buy their first home. The problem is that the artificial demand created by a Fed manipulated market drives up the prices of the homes. Greater demand increases price. Basic economics.

So why do it? Why drive up the prices of products? Why not let the market work itself out? Is not that what the government is supposed to do in The United States? Protect the free market? Not manipulate it? If they could manipulate it for everyone’s benefit (and let us hope this latest measure will do so) that would be great. But many believe they rarely do so. Yet, again, within the last decade, the constant tinkering with interest rates by Alan Greenspan and the Fed brought about a current economic downturn that even the Fed thinks will take years from which to crawl out of.

So what is going on? A surreptitious increase in taxes. But why? The economy is bad. Sales are down. Fewer sales, less taxes. Sounds devious beyond the scope of the government, right? Why not let the market correct itself? Why not let the price of cars come more in line with what the American public can afford? It is after all a free market, is it not? Let’s find out. Read on.

If you drive up the price of a home, the sales and other taxes are concurrently driven up as well. If you make a car more expensive, you increase your tax levy on that car automatically. In effect, you raise taxes without legislating an increase in taxes, something nobody will go for today. It’s tricky. Real tricky.

The stock market does well also when interest rates are lowered. The problem is when things return to normal, the market corrects itself. I would say that would be fine, but the problem is that so many organizations, both government and private have all of their pension funds wrapped up in the market that when the market corrects itself, people who have been working for five or six decades suddenly find themselves unable to retire because all of their pension funds have mysteriously vanished. That is tricky as well. Perhaps even trickier than the loose monetary policies themselves that bring about the problems in the first place. The problem with driving up the value of the stock market by lowering interest rates and making more money available is that not everybody has the time or the ability for that matter to watch the market and to be prepared when it does correct itself. Since most government pensions are the result of taxation, I think it is incumbent upon our elected officials to install some form of regulation upon the market to address such corrections on behalf of the pensioners, or to ensure that the Federal Reserve is not so liberal with its monetary policies, whether they be to stimulate the economy or to increase taxes as I’ve described, indirectly.

In this anti-big government environment we are currently in nobody wants to say “I’m going to increase taxes.” I have not seen a single political ad (and we are swimming in them right now) that is endorsed by any politician, even the most left-wing, that has said “Elect me. I’ll raise your taxes.” If you are going to say that, you may as well commit political suicide because as they say, “you ain’t gettin’ my vote.”

I believe in fact that the reason Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates so much was exactly that. To raise sales taxes. It’s much easier than legislating higher taxes, making them law, and most people do not really know what is going on when it is done in such a slick manner.

I think it’s great that The Fed is making more money available to lenders to make loans more available to the market.

But let’s not make the same mistake again, so soon, particularly since we are not out of the hole they dug for the country like, what, was it yesterday?

And what repeats itself, again?

That, ladies and gentlemen, is what is behind the latest measures at the Fed. The government is looking out for its bottom line. Which, by the way, is right about at your neck level. And from what I can tell, you have had it up to here!

By the way, the best time to shop for cars is on Sunday morning.

Copyright © William Thien 2010

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