Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Real Life Horror

Hey my fellow young people! Summer time is a great time for getting your pants scared off. I mean, campfire ghost stories, horror movie marathons, and who can forget that Nightmare on Elm Street is still in theaters with another thriller Splice on the way? In salute of our generation's love of all things horrifying, stupefying, and downright scary I went and found the scariest reality facts I could.

You ready for this?

Check out and look at the red numbers.

If that didn't scare you (or you were too lazy to check it out), just keep reading.

Our national debt (that's money we do not have but spend anyway) just topped $13 trillion. Absolutely terrifying, no?


Let's put that into perspective, then, shall we? Our current GDP (Gross Domestic Product, aka the dollar worth of every man, woman, child, company, and service in America for the past year) is only $14 trillion. To further simplify, this means the government currently owes about 90-93% of what our country makes in a year to outside sources (*cough* China *cough*). The fun doesn't stop there.

The fed currently only takes in about $2 trillion in tax revenue. So if we freeze all spending, and the recession doesn't get any worse, it will take about seven years to pay off all of our debt. Both of those events are highly unlikely, however. Just yesterday congress opened talks on another multi-billion dollar "stimulus" bill (remember how well the last one worked?) and the unemployment rate is currently just under 10% (and going up every day). So who knows how long it will take. Probably more than a decade or two at the rate the current administration is spending. But you know, they could always raise taxes.

Oh taxes. Since most of us in the "millenial" generation either don't pay those yet period, or don't actually own anything the government would want to tax (ie, homes, investments, cars, etc), we tend to not think about these things. I mean, taxes only affect our parents, or "rich people". Au contraire. Let's personalize this.

At the very moment of writing, every citizen (man, woman, or child) owes $42,028 in debt. Every taxpayer, however, owes $117,987 and some change. That's more than most people make in a year. We 18-25 year olds are rapidly entering the taxpayer bracket, especially college students and grads who hope to reach about $50-100 thousand per year in the next five years.

Now that $117,987 and some change does not even account for the fact that not only do 46% of taxpayers not actually pay anything, but at least half of those who do not pay taxes actually get money from the government when they file their tax forms as well. So that means the 54% who do pay taxes owe a lot more than $117,987. I'm not an accountant, but I would put the actual debt as near $200,000. (psst. Guess where most of us college students and grads end up on the divide?)

So what does this mean? Again, pretending the national debt and tax rates hold steady, let's examine this. Supposing you do fairly well in your start-up, entry level job upon leaving college you make $60,000+ a year. (That's single income, no kids. Not bad, eh?) You would have to work almost two full years just to work off your fair portion of the debt and about three to pay off what you actually owe as one of the unlucky few who actually pay taxes. That's with no other expenses. I mean none. No cable (or dish), no food, no electricity, housing, water, car, or even college debts. Add just the basic necessities in (food, water, house, electricity, clothes, and heck, even a car to get to work in) and devote every other penny to paying off the federal debt, you're looking at about five to ten years of your life spent working for the federal government. Again, this assumes a total spending freeze.

That is five years (at least) of your life devoted to paying for things like medicaid/medicare, social security, and federal pensions (the top three spenders) that do not help you out one bit. You get no video games, no movies, no vacations, no social security, no medicaid/medicare and definitely no pension, let alone a federal one. Just the basics and the federal debt.

Except, there is no spending freeze. The tax rate will go up (unless you don't want to make money, in which case none of this affects you anyway, you lazy bum). Basically, the fed will keep spending more than we earn so the amount we have to pay each year will go up. More and more of our lives will be spent paying off the cost of the decisions made today. And probably not just our lives, but our children's and grandchildren's as well. We will spend our entire life paying for this. Not the government (whose pensions we provide as well) or the "rich" (which I was really looking forward to joining some day), but us.

Like I said, the scariest thing I could find. And unlike A Nightmare on Elm Street, this is all true.

I dare you to prove me wrong on this.

(ps. Dear readers, could you help out my challenge by telling your liberal acquaintances about me? Unlike our current leaders, I do not like to argue in an echo chamber.)

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Red Flag Waving

There's something wrong with this country when the PC police get you for wearing an American flag t-shirt to school.

From (San Francisco, go figure):
On any other day at Live Oak High School in Morgan Hill, Daniel Galli and his four friends would not even be noticed for wearing T-shirts with the American flag. But Cinco de Mayo is not any typical day especially on a campus with a large Mexican American student population.

Galli says he and his friends were sitting at a table during brunch break when the vice principal asked two of the boys to remove American flag bandannas that they wearing on their heads and for the others to turn their American flag T-shirts inside out. When they refused, the boys were ordered to go to the principal's office.

"They said we could wear it on any other day," Daniel Galli said, "but today is sensitive to Mexican-Americans because it's supposed to be their holiday so we were not allowed to wear it today."

I came really close to making a scene in the dining hall when I read this. I'm sorry, did AMERICAN kids in an AMERICAN classrooom get in trouble for wearing an AMERICAN flag during a MEXICAN holiday? Yes, yes they did. In fact, the students ended up having to go home in order to avoid being suspended for non-compliance.

Other students defended the school's decision.

"I think they should apologize cause it is a Mexican Heritage Day," Annicia Nunez, a Live Oak High student, said. "We don't deserve to be get disrespected like that. We wouldn't do that on Fourth of July."

So, so many things wrong with that quote, I don't even know where to start. In fact, I think I may even need to pull out the bullet points for this one, little sentence.

  • Cinco de Mayo is not a nationally recognized holiday, unlike Independence Day. In fact, I'm pretty sure it was imported, not to celebrate "Mexican Heritage" but as a reason to get wasted on Tequila midway through the week. I have many non-hispanic friends and relatives who celebrate this day with more gusto than any hispanic I've ever met.
  • It is not "disrespectful" to wear a flag on a non-national heritage holiday. Is anyone disrespecting the Irish when they wear an American Flag on St. Patrick's day? Last I heard, that was considered an important celebration of Irish heritage. What if you wear an American flag shirt during Oktoberfest (a German cultural holiday giving everyone an excuse to drink a ton of beer in the middle of the week)? Hmm? I'm German. I demand everyone wear lederhosen during Oktoberfest. If not, you're disrespecting me and I don't deserve that. You don't see me wearing lederhosen during the Fourth of July, do you?
  • Are you in Mexico, or America?
I have more, but I think I can sum up my last point with a little comparison. The principal's excuse for threatening the kids was that their shirts could be incendiary and start a fight. So, let's say a guy wears a Yankees shirt into a Red Sox bar. It's likely that some overzealous Red Sox fan gets offended and punches the Yankees fan in the face. For argument's sake, let's say it turns into a full on bar brawl. When the police come to break up the fight, who will they blame for it? The Yankees fan for his shirt? Or the Red Sox fan for throwing the first punch?
Anyone? Anyone at all?

They blame the guy who threw the punch.

You see, it was stupid to wear the Yankees shirt into that bar. Not illegal, just stupid. But nobody begrudges the guy the right to wear his shirt (except the guy who punched him, but he's going to jail now. See how that works out?).

That's the same thing here. Except in this case, the principal thought he could stem potential violence by punishing the would-be victims beforehand. He was going to suspend them for wearing a t-shirt with an American Flag. It wasn't like they were insulting Mexicans, or hispanics, or calling them names, or refusing to let them wear their heritage(?) flag. They were celebrating what they saw as their heritage on a day that, if you're not Mexican or a drinker, really doesn't mean anything. And obviously these kids weren't Mexican (or drinking) or there probably wouldn't have been a problem. As it stands, they were punished for not celebrating a day that doesn't mean anything to them.

That's what Political Correctness does. It punishes victims for non-crimes. Oh how far we've come when "freedom of speech" really means "freedom from speech". You don't deserve to be disrespected so some greater authority should have the power to dictate even what you wear so something non-offensive might not offend you later.

On a positive note, the school district has both apologized and distanced itself from the school's decision. The boys are back at school today, complete with American flags. Of course, today is one of the 364 days when it's not offensive. Except for St. Patrick's Day. And Oktoberfest. And ...

Usual challenge stands. Show me how the Liberal point of view on this one is somehow correct. Try and change my mind.