"He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left."
Matthew 25:33

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Shape of Things to Come

The headline today is "Chrysler Files for Chapter 11".  It should have been "US President Sweeps Bankruptcy Law Aside".

A view of the extent of interference by the President can be seen here and here. Normally, a bankruptcy judge will balance the interests of the stakeholders in a failed company, and there is quite a body of law that governs who gets what when a company files for chapter 11.

That's what Rule of Law is about.  We have a body of laws that govern our behavior, and everyone - the government included - follows the law.

In this case, the US Government is one of the investors, and is clearly not "just another stakeholder".  It is not politically acceptable to allow the natural events of a Chrysler failure to occur.

The administration is therefore dictating some of the terms, much to the chagrin of some of the bondholders.  Some who thought they had legally binding contracts with Chrysler, and some protection in bankruptcy law, have been swept aside.  The article notes that the President "left no doubt about his anger with some Chrysler creditors who refused to accept a reduced payout".  Think of this as a Presidentially imposed tax on particular bondholders to help pay for his investment in Chrysler.

I challenge anyone to find authority for the administration to do this.

The financial strength of the U.S.A. is in the millions of workers, businessmen, bankers, investors, and risk takers who put their futures on the line with an expectation that they know the rules of the game, and that the game is fair.  They sweat and gamble and strive with the hope that they can win, and their limits are what they can achieve with hard work and inspiration.

When the politicians put their thumbs on the economic scale, the game is no longer fair.  Only a fool plays in a rigged game.  Sweat and hard work no longer count, only political connections do.  Opportunity has lost out to influence.

I wish I could say this was a one-time event, or that we are in unusual times, but history says this is yet another chapter of a repeating story.

Expect a surge in lobbyists' activity.

This is a sad day for the USA.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Minnesota Deficit is Opportunity

On Saturday, April 25th, the Minnesota 4th congressional district GOP held its convention.   It was a great example of the resurgence of the GOP.  The room was alive with enthusiasm and energy.  There were many great speakers, and the room was full of current and future leaders.

One of those speakers was Minnesota house minority leader Marty Siefert.

He spoke, in part, of the Minnesota budget deficit that is the subject of much current debate in St. Paul.  He assured us that Gov. Pawlenty has his veto pen ready, and that the GOP caucus is united, so the veto of the DFL tax increases will not be overridden.

Mr. Siefert described the Minnesota budget battle as an opportunity to actually shrink government.  Rather than simply cave in to those demanding yet more taxes to fund yet more spending,  he said that the Governor's veto will force the legislature to make the hard choices, and live within the revenue stream already extracted from taxpayers.

I am profoundly grateful that men like Mr. Siefert are willing to serve in the legislature.

The contrast between the state and federal governments could not be more stark.

At the state level, the budget must be balanced, and the governor is demanding accountability from the legislature, and enforcing discipline to protect taxpayers.  We will have to set priorities, make choices, and - horror of horrors - say "no" to some things.  If the GOP caucus holds together, Minnesota's government sector will shrink, for the first time in many years.  When it does, Minnesota will learn that life goes on.

At the federal level, budgets are never balanced, and our president is demanding spending rather than accountability.  I don't think discipline is in the lexicon.  It seems that everything is an emergency, and we don't say "no".  The GOP has not held together, so the "mob rule" of the left is set to grow government in massive and dramatic ways.  The federal government leviathan will grow, and with that growth, more of our freedom and independence is lost.

In 2010, we will have an opportunity to send new leadership to Washington.  We need to make sure that that leadership knows about discipline and saying "no".

We have 18 months to prepare.  Let's make the next 18 months count!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bill Jungbauer for State Executive Vice Chair of the 4th Congressional District

Delegates and alternates of the 4th Congressional District. I ask for your vote on Saturday, April 25th, at the 4th District convention, so that I may represent you at the State Executive meetings. On this video I speak of the need to alter our course as a party. Show up and vote or don't complain. See you there!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Smartest men in the world

The US Government would have us believe that those running the Federal Reserve, the US Treasury, and the regulatory agencies are absolutely the smartest people on the planet.  They alone are able to see the future, and to prevent any and all bad things from happening, if only we give them enough money and enough power.

This article has reminded me that this idea is both widespread and absurd.

F. A. Hayek called it the fatal conceit, that of the official who thinks that he can know more, and do better than those who own, run, and are directly responsible for their own affairs.

In fact, it is silly to think that the U.S. President, or anyone in his administration is better equipped to run GM or Chrysler than the management team that currently runs them.  Would GM's board of directors seek Mr. Obama's advice on who to hire for CEO in normal times?  Would GM willingly seek advice from any political official?  No.  A large automobile manufacturer is a complex and delicate organization, and good management takes deep knowledge, expertise, and experience in the industry.  Very few meet the qualifications to take on such a job.

If the GM board, or management were to take the advice of someone like Mr. Geitner on any major issue (absent some legal requirement), the stockholders would be outraged at such bad judgement.  By the same logic, we, the taxpayers should be outraged that our politicians want to take over GM and Chrysler.  Conceit is a good word for it, and that about sums it up.

It is equally false that our government is in a better position to run the nation's banks.  At minimum, political ownership would inject more politics into banking decisions, and if you think this will lead to better financial health for the banks, I have a bridge to sell you.

I find it particularly ironic when Mr. Geitner presses the banks for more transparency.  This from the man who won't tell the taxpayers exactly where the TARP money has gone, or how future money will be spent.

If Mr. Geitner worked for a private corporation, and he refused to tell the stockholders and/or board what he did with stockholder money, he would be fired, and possibly put in jail.  Instead, he is getting a sympathetic ear from Congress to give him more authority to seize, fund, or reorganize more sectors of US Industry.

More government action, regulation and interference will not make anything better, but merely waste taxpayer dollars in a vain attempt to support the status quo.  Authority already granted should be revoked, and the TARP money should be repaid.

The free market economy works.  Let's stop trying to "fix" it.

AFSCME calls state contract proposal ‘unacceptable’

Our state employees union, AFSCME, is in the negotiation process on a new contract. You can read the unions side here, http://www.workdayminnesota.org/index.php?news_6_4010

According to this union website,

Specifically, AFSCME proposes:

  • • Raising revenue through fair taxes
  • • Eliminating pet projects, such as JOBZ, that waste money and don't work
  • • Eliminating outsourcing and other costly corporate giveaways
  • • Eliminating extra layers of management and political appointees

AFSCME said the state’s demands include:

  • • Reduce wages 1.5 percent in the first year
  • • Reduce wages another 1.5 percent in the second year
  • • Eliminate step increases
  • • Force frontline workers to take unpaid leave
  • • Eliminate the employer’s matching contribution to deferred compensation
  • • Restrict payment of shift differentials

The state also is seeking to cut health care benefits through higher premiums, co-pays, deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, the union said.

Less than one fourth of Minnesota's work force is union. But they expect us to pay higher taxes so that they can be better off than the rest of us.

From what I understand, government workers, on average, make $25.00 per hour plus great benefits while public sector workers make $19.00 on average and are lucky to get benefits. Why do they deserve any better than the rest of us? In my opinion they don't. Notice that AFSCME demands, "Raising revenue through fair taxes."

When I ran for state representative last year I was interviewed by the AFL-CIO. During this interview I was asked by AFSCME representatives if I would work to restore previous cuts to local government aid and of course I replied no. I was then lectured on how LGA provides funding for our cities and the employees that keep them running. Example were snow plow drivers, public works employees and personnel necessary to the running of our cities. I replied that I live in West Saint Paul and we do just fine on what we get. My street is plowed before I head out the door each day. I left with the impression that their big concern was to expand their ranks rather than worry about city services.

Here is another one of their demands, "Eliminating outsourcing and other costly corporate giveaways." What do they mean by costly corporate giveaways? I understand the outsourcing, they want it done by their union rank and file rather than anything being done by the public sector through a bidding process which would benefit the taxpayers.

I am an admirer of Teddy Roosevelt. He mediated the United Mine Workers strike and they got a forty hour work week and a ten percent pay raise. He was also the recipient of an assassination attempt for opposing unions such as AFSCME within our government. I have worked for good employers and a few terrible ones in my lifetime. I have seen the need for union representation on occasion and I believe in the rights of the people to form or join a union.

Often times while I am driving across the Lafayette Bridge in the morning heading into St Paul I see a bumper sticker that says, "Living with less in the land of Pawlenty." Those who have such bumper stickers are heading to work at a government building such as the DNR or the PCA.

If AFSCME decides to strike, I will be organizing a counter-strike and urging the governor to privatize the majority of our government. Having been unemployed since the first of the year, I will be the first in line to apply for one of those new openings. Just think about the possibilities, the democrats could take responsibility for it and tell us how many jobs they created!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Cramdown is unwise

Our representatives in Washington, D.C. are feeling pressure to "prevent home foreclosures".  One recent idea being "intensely debated" in the U.S. Senate right now is appropriately called "Cramdown".   A recent news article here.

The idea is that homeowners unwilling or unable to pay their mortgages should have some sort of "help", and the public pressure on Congress to "do something" is intense.

There are only two ways to "help".

The first way is to give the borrower (tax) money so he can pay the loan.  This is not so popular, because it is so hard to determine which borrowers are "worthy" of getting a taxpayer subsidy. How long should the borrower be subsidized? Was the borrower flipping houses?  Was there fraud involved?  Many taxpayers are offended that those of us who have worked hard to make prudent choices should have our money spent to support those who made poor choices and took too many risks.

The second way is to allow the government to modify the terms of the loans.  This is more popular, because it does not spend taxpayer dollars directly.  The trouble with this is that it is basically theft from the lender. Recent news can be seen here.

As you might guess, the lenders, who are facing this idea as upcoming legislation, are not happy about it.  Only a fool would lend money to a borrower knowing that the borrower can ask Uncle Sam to change the loan terms if he has "trouble" paying it back.

The current "cramdown" legislation is theft from the lenders. It is a seizure of some portion of the loan value, to be given to the borrower for political gain.  It is corruption.

The U.S. Constitution recognizes and protects the sanctity of our right to contract. Article I, Section 10 states: "No state shall pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts." Moreover, in the famous case Hale v. Henkel, the U.S. Supreme Court says: "The individual may stand upon his constitutional rights as a citizen. He is entitled to carry on his private business in his own way. His power to contract is unlimited."

Free, responsible citizens pay their debts and keep their word on contracts.

The idea that the federal government has the power to reach out and modify private contracts should frighten us.  This sort of power begs to be abused.  Most of us are borrowers, so this power benefits "us" today, but once power is granted, it is seldom used as intended.  Next time around, we may be the victims.

Bill Jungbauer Speaks at the April 15th Tea Party!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Tax Day Tea Party Was Incredible!

Check out the great video on powerlineblog. I am speaking from 2:10 until 3:27

This is from Kare11

Here is the speech I gave at the Tea Party,

233 years ago, our nation declared its independence from Great Britain. We were subjects of an all powerful king. The King would declare war and raise taxes. The King chose what businesses would succeed and which would fail. He taxed us without our consent.

The colonists wanted the freedom to make an honest living, and to prosper. They resented the Kings power. They wanted to be left alone, and to be free to live their lives.

After the Revolutionary war, our founders gave us the Constitution, designed to protect us from tyranny. The Constitution limits the role of our government and divides our government into three branches, each serving to limit the power of the others. The first 10 amendments further limit our government by declaring areas of our lives that are off limits to the law.

The founders warned us that there would always be those who will want to take our freedom. They will offer us an easy life off the backs of other taxpayers. This is always a sham. We cannot make progress by stealing from one neighbor only to give to another. We cannot defend our own freedom by taking it from others. Our freedom is one of the most precious things we have. Without it, we are no longer free citizens, but slaves on the government plantation.

Today, our freedom is under attack. Those now in power are spending the earnings of our children and grandchildren, while expecting our gratitude.

We are told that there is a crisis, and that to solve the crisis, we must do extraordinary - even normally unwise - things.

I look around me today, and I don't see a crisis. I see free, productive citizens. We neither want nor need the hand of the government to prop us up or ensure our success. We understand that what we need is to be left alone to pursue our dreams. We understand that if we own our success, we own our failures, too.

Our money is more than a bit of green paper, but a symbol of the sweat, capitol, intelligence and inspiration that went into building what it buys.

There is no doubt that TARP, the "stimulus", bloated state and federal budgets will cost a lot of money, and also no doubt that they will enhance state power. Do we really want to trade our freedom and our children's futures for the dubious benefit of these programs?

The US Treasury is running a Ponzi scheme that would put Mr. Madoff to shame. He only stole billions of dollars by paying off early investors with later investor's money.

Our government is running a trillion dollar ponzi scheme where politicians are attempting to buy our votes with our children's money, while robbing us of our independence and freedom.

It is time to demand responsible behavior from our elected representatives and from each other. We cannot be the first generation to sell our children into financial bondage because we are not willing to rise to the challenges of our age.

Several years ago I saw a bumper sticker that said, “The world is run by those who show up.” I have been politically active ever since. Today I am sure there are many here that have shown up for the first time and I commend you. We need you to continue to show up and speak out. Our state, our country, and our children need us all to keep showing up.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

T.E.A. Party T-Shirts for Sale

My Friend Angie is making a run at a T-shirt design for the Tax Day Tea Party this coming Wednesday. She is sending it to print in the morning. It will be distressed white ink on an aged tangerine shirt. (Similar to the American Eagle vintage style.)

They will be for sale at the T.E.A. Party which will be taking place at the Capitol on April 15th from 5:00 till 8:00 pm. You can get one there or let me know if you want one and I will let Angie know.

Anyone interested buying one? =)

Pricing: 1 for $20, 2 for $35
* Special * Sell 5 shirts @ $20ea and get your own for free!

US Debt - excellent video - decisions

There is a new web site http://www.stopspendingourfuture.com, with contests and prizes for videos and letters.  I really like the video with the person jumping off the cliff.  The video alone can be seen here.

There are only three ways to deal with the debt we, as a nation, are piling up.
  • Pay it back.
  • Renounce it.
  • Inflate it away.
 The best way is to pay it back. This is the right way to do this, but it is hard to imagine the US Government saying that they will cut spending and raise taxes to give the Chinese and the Saudis their money back.  We would have to run a Federal surplus of $1 Trillion for roughly 11 years to pay back the current debt. This is the right thing to do.  Are you, as a voter, willing to demand it?

The second way is to simply refuse to pay the debt.  Third world countries do this from time to time, and the results are very ugly.  No one will seriously consider this, nor should they.

The third way is for the US Government to print money, which makes each dollar worth less. (inflation)  That is what we are currently doing.  The US Treasury issues Treasury bonds to finance deficit spending and bailouts. The Federal Reserve is busily buying those US Treasury Bonds with new money that they are creating out of thin air.  Third world countries do this too.  Zimbabwe has been doing this in recent years, and you can read about the results here. There are other examples here and here.  Note that there is really no difference between this and renouncing the debt, but this is less honest.  The Federal Reserve refers to this as "Monetizing the debt".

The Federal Reserve is "independent", and is not accountable to Congress or the President.  It operates largely in secret. Congress has periodically asked for information about Fed activities, and the Fed has refused.  More detail can be found here and here.  Ron Paul has introduced HR 1207 to change this.

What path are we going to take as a nation?  Will we take the honest and difficult path of paying our debt, or will we continue to pretend that it will just go away?  Will we demand that the Federal Government stop passing out goodies that we cannot pay for, or will we continue to destroy our children's futures?

Come to the Tea Party.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Cyber Security act of 2009

Those of you who care about the US dominance of the computer technology industry should take a look at a bill recently introduced in the U.S. Congress.  The "Cyber Security act of 2009" would create a "dizzying array of programs, administered by a variety of agencies".  This link has some good commentary on what the bill would do.

The computer industry is a great example of the free market at work.  There are loads of very, very smart people working their hearts out building amazing things.  There is already a whole industry devoted to computer security.  The standards and "best practices" of the computer security world are evolving constantly, and improving daily.  There is almost nothing that federal agencies can do to make things better.  Instead, this bill will add red tape, add barriers to entry for new entrants to the marketplace, stifle innovation, and generally harm security in the national infrastructure.

This would clearly cede "big brother"-like power to the federal government, and in return, we harm our premier industry, and gain nothing in terms of security.

This is yet another example of well intentioned legislation that is far worse than doing nothing at all.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Press One For English

Here is a great video that my friend Roger K. sent me. It has over ten million hits on YouTube and is very popular. Few people know it, but I spent a year as an English as a Second Language tutor with the Minnesota Literacy Council at Lincoln Center in South Saint Paul. The immigrants I had the pleasure to help had enough of a hard work ethic to realize that they could go further in this country by learning the language of this land, English. Enjoy the video!

Friday, April 3, 2009

April 15th Tax Day Tea Party at the Minnesota State Capitol!

It's time for us all to unite and show up at the Capitol on tax day. If you really care about the direction our state and country are headed, you and I and everyone we know must show up! I don't care if you bring a torch or a pitchfork! We can no longer allow these people to keep raising our taxes.

Tea Parties will be held all over our nation on April 15th. The people are rising up to protest the total lack of any budgetary creativity in the minds of our elected officials. We need intelligent people at the Capitol who are capable of saying something other than, "Duh, lets just raise taxes." Please checkout this website and see if you want to sign up to bring a case of bottled water or volunteer in some other way. Be there or quit complaining!