FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #78: “It’s a dishonest politician that sneaks sneaky legislation into a bill.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - August 9th, 2011

The Devil is in the Details and the Sneakiness is in the Fine Print

You know what they say.  Buyer beware.  Because they’re out to get you with their sneaky advertising.  Which you need to read closely.  Because the devil is in the details.  And the sneakiness is in the fine print.  That print that no one reads.  Like credit cards that send you those checks. 

They may offer 0% interest for six months when you write yourself a check for $5,000.  Wow.  Sounds great.  But if you don’t pay that off in that 6 month period look out.  Through the miracle of compound interest, that $5,000 debt will grow.  And that growing starts the moment you cash that check.  Because in the fine print the credit card company notes that after the 6-month period they will begin charging interest at 27.24% APR.  Starting on day one of the 6-month period.

People may wonder how credit cards can make any money if they don’t charge interest.  Well that’s the secret of the zero-interest offers.  They don’t expect you to pay it off within in that 6-month period.  And the second that 6-month period ends they book $720.84 of interest income on that $5,000 they loaned you.  That’s a short-term loan that yields 14.42%.  And there ain’t any 6-month investment out there that can match this yield.  But it doesn’t end there.  The yields on the credit card loan will continue to grow.  If you owe that $5,000 for 1 year, that yield rises to 30.91%.  And instead of owing $5,000 you now owe $6,545.59.

A zero-interest offer seems to be good to be true.  That’s because they are too good to be true.  Which you’ll see when you read the fine print.  If you read the fine print.

You have to be Sneaky to get People to Agree to Things that will Hurt Them in the Long Run

Now it’s obvious why they do this.  Be sneaky.  Because they can make a lot of money by doing this.  And the more people that take them up on these zero-interest offers the more money they can make.  So they put the things that would sour most people on using these checks in the fine print.   In hopes few will read it.  And few do.

You see, you have to be sneaky to get people to agree to things that will hurt them in the long run.  You just can’t be honest.  They can’t tell you that this loan will cost you nothing at 11:59 PM on the last day of the 6-month period.  And that it will cost you $720.84 one minute later.  Worse, your minimum monthly payment will jump about $125 as they calculate this loan into your payment.  And compound interest will make that credit card balance swell like a beached whale to the point that you’ll never be able to pay it off. 

You’ll lose sleep as your minimum monthly payments grow.  You’ll struggle to get that balance to go down.  Of course it never will.  And the more those minimum payments grow the less money you have for groceries and gas.  So then you’ll start paying less than the minimum due so you can put food on the table and drive to work.  Then the collection calls start.  It’ll get to the point that your stomach turns every time you hear the phone ring.

So you can see why they put this kind of stuff into the fine print.  I mean, if they advertise that they are going to ruin your life, are you going to use one of those checks?  Probably not.

The Founding Fathers hated Democracy with a Passion

So you really have to be sneaky and devious to get people to voluntarily destroy their lives.  And speaking of politics, politicians are the worst.  For a credit card company may try to get as much money from you as possible.  But that’s just business.  And they don’t swear oaths to protect you.

Thomas Jefferson hated bankers and merchants.  Partly because he was forever in debt.  But mostly because they can buy themselves favors.  And the seller of favors is, of course, government.  Jefferson was a well read man.  He knew history.  And he saw how combining money and government led to bad things.  Corruption.  Patronage.  Privilege.  War.  Money gave government power to do its worse.  And allowed a ruling minority to oppress the people for personal gain.  Now even though America was founded on the principle that all men are created equal, Jefferson knew that money could, and would, change that.  This is one of the reasons why the nation’s capital was located on a swamp a long, long way from the nation’s financial center.  New York.

This is also a reason why the nation is a republic.  And not a democracy.  We have representative government.  Not direct participation.  For the Founding Fathers hated democracy with a passion.  Why?  Because all democracies fail.  Once the people learn they can vote themselves whatever they want.  That’s why the Founding Fathers put enlightened/educated representatives between the treasury and the people.  Who will be rational and logical.  And not give in to base desires.

But the Founding Fathers were a special breed.  Who came along at just the right time and place.  And they created something perfect as far as governments go.  But as they passed from memory, the ways of the Old World became hard to resist. 

You have to let Others Steal from the Treasury if You want to Steal from the Treasury

As the nation grew so did its tax base.  More people meant more tax revenue.  First through import tariffs.  Then the income tax.  And other various taxes.  A little bit of tax from a huge population meant a lot of money for politicians to play with.  And play they did.  With the power to control these vast sums of money, they played God.  Just as Jefferson warned.  Money and government created a ruling minority.  Or a Ruling Class.  Much like the Founding Fathers fought so long and hard to end in the New World.

Of course, people won’t willingly support a Ruling Class that oppresses them.  So they have to be sneaky.  And hide much of what they do from the general public.  By burying it deep in pages of legislation.  Pork barrel spending we call it.  To get a part of the population to support you by promising them free stuff.  Then you honor that pledge by attaching a rider to a bill to house and feed orphans, for example.  When the final bill gets passed into law not only do we house and feed orphans (which everyone supports), but we also shower select constituencies with federal dollars for their help in getting out the vote during the last election (which only those select constituencies support).

Of course you know how this plays out.  If you oppose the excess spending in this bill you hate orphans.  And who wants to be labeled an orphan hater?  Probably not many.  But chances are few will oppose it.  Because to get pork you have to give pork.  You have to let others steal from the treasury if you want to steal from the treasury.  And this is why representatives and senators vote to pass thousand page bills without reading them.  They know they’re full of shameless pork barrel spending.   But as long as they include their pork they don’t care.

Short-Term Gratification with Long-Term Consequences

Politicians are a lot like those credit card companies.  Promising great short-term gratification.  With long-term consequences that will be a bitch.  They both want our money.  The credit card companies want us to go on a spending orgy so they can book fat profits on the interest they charge us.  Politicians just want to go on a spending orgy with our money.

So who’s worse?  The politicians, of course.  They’re supposed to be looking out for us.  Besides, when the credit card companies are screwing us, at least we get to enjoy the ride before the crash.  Taxpayers don’t.  Because their money typically goes to people who don’t pay income taxes.  So they don’t get to enjoy the ride.  They just suffer the crash.

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FUNDAMENTAL TRUTH #44: “Liberal Democrats have to lie because there are more taxpayers than tax consumers.” -Old Pithy

Posted by PITHOCRATES - December 14th, 2010

Tax and Spend and Do as I Say

Liberal Democrats like to tax and spend.  And they are also so full of themselves that they like to tell other people how to live their lives.  Because they think they are smarter than us.  And know what’s best for us.

Funny thing.  A lot of these liberal Democrats are rich.  Like Nancy Pelosi and her San Francisco constituents (you need to be rich to live in her neighborhood).  Though they’re rich they prefer to spend other people’s money.  And spend a lot of it.  They take the concept of ‘redistribution of wealth’ to new heights.  As long it’s other people’s wealth, that is.

Not many agree with them.  Liberal Democrats make up about 20% of the electorate.  So theirs is a minority opinion.  Which can be a problem when you want to tax and spend.  Because that other 80% tend to have real jobs.  Which means they pay the taxes that liberals like to spend.  And they’re none too keen on giving up their hard-earned money so a bunch of rich liberals can assuage their guilt for being rich.

Democracy Ruined the Good Old Days for the Privileged Classes

Being a 20% minority has its problems.  Especially when you want to tell how the other 80% should live.  They lament that we live in a democracy.  Where people have the right to vote.  Unlike in the good old days.  Where your blood determined rank and privilege.  There were no questions asked.  You did what you want.  Because you could.  And there was no voting.  No silly inconvenience of elections.  No, back then the rich and privileged classes knew how to live.  And the suffering masses knew their place.

But, alas, the miserable Founding Fathers had to go and muck all of that up.  Liberty.  The biggest pain in the ass the entitled classes ever had to deal with.  Nowadays, the privileged just can’t do what they want.   You need to win elections.  They need to get others to vote their way.  They need others to agree that their living the good life is in the best interest of the country.  And how do they do that?  They lie, of course.  And make as many people as possible dependent on their generosity.  Their generosity with other people’s money, that is.

Of course, it wasn’t always other people’s money.  It used to be their food.  In the 1790s, things were getting pretty bad in France.  For the suffering masses, that is.  The ‘Third Estate’.  Things were going pretty darn well for Estates 1 & 2.  The rich nobles.  And the rich clergy.  And we know how all that ended up.  Bad.  For Estates 1 & 2.  The Third Estate (i.e., the poor suffering masses) grew tired of going hungry and suffering famine.  So they stormed the Bastille and kicked off the bloody French Revolution.  Because they were hungry.  And the rich and privileged were not.  But I digress.

Using Class Warfare to Demonize their Political Opponents

Sadly, for the rich and privileged, the American and French Revolutions changed things.  The ruling minority could no longer rule as they pleased.  They had to consider the majority.  There would now be taxation with representation.  Like in Great Britain.  People paying the taxes would have a say in how the politicians spent those taxes.

Merde.  Pardon my French.  Or so said the rich and privileged classes.  Who now had a problem.  If the rich and privileged were no longer entitled to a better life, how could they then live a better life?  I mean, let’s face it, these people aren’t exactly busting with ability.  Most couldn’t find their way out of a wet paper bag.  So what does one do with no ability?  Scheme deviously.

And one of the most devious and effective tools?  Class warfare.  You attack the people with ability who have earned their wealth.  Something that few liberal Democrats can do.  Because they have no ability.  So they demonize those that do.  Business owners.  Corporate America.  And you tell the poor masses that the only reason that they’re poor is because the rich business class is exploiting them.  And that they, the liberal Democrats, will rectify that situation.

Lying to Independents and Moderates

So they give them stuff.  They tax the rich.  And give stuff to the poor.  Which makes the poor grateful.  And dependent on the government.  Grateful and dependent, of course, equals votes.  This giving of other people’s money isn’t limited to the poor, though.  They make the not-so-poor special interests even less poor with this same generosity.  This generosity of other people’s money.

It’s a full-proof deviousness.  When the rich and privileged classes shower the poor and special interests with other people’s money, they get their votes.  And it’s a lot more than 20% of the electorate.  But it’s not quite a majority, though.  So they have to lie to another group of people to push them into the majority.  And who are these people?  Moderates and independents.

These people, though, are a problem.  They have honest jobs.  They don’t stand to prosper by voting liberal Democrat.  And they’re not likely to respond well to a campaign slogan that says we want to raise your taxes so others can live better without working as hard as you do.  People just don’t choose to pay more.  So others can have more.  While they go with less.  It’s why some people will drive 5 miles to save 2 cents per gallon of gas.  People choose to pay as little as possible.

Liberals Hate Ronald Reagan.  But they Campaign like him to Win.

So how do you get people who won’t benefit by voting for you to vote for you?  By demonizing your opponent.  The Left destroyed Newt Gingrich because he wanted senior citizens to ‘wither on the vine’.  Or so they said.  He never said that (he said Medicare would wither on the vine after enough people took proposed government subsidies to move into private insurance policies).  But all moderates and independents heard was that he wanted to kill senior citizens.  And that was enough.  His approval ratings plummeted.  To save his party, he resigned.

This is the only way liberal Democrats can win elections.  By lying.  They never run openly.  They never say they want to raise your taxes.  Far from it.  Because people don’t want to pay more taxes.  Few can even afford to.  No, when they campaign, they try to sound like the great conservative, Ronald Reagan.  Why?  Because the majority of Americans approved of his policies.  So they hide their true selves during the elections.  And hope and pray (figuratively, of course) that the moderates and Independents have short memories.

They have to do this because of one very inconvenient fact.  There are more taxpayers than tax consumers.  Which is a double-edged sword for liberal Democrats.  On one hand, more taxpayers mean more tax money.  But, on the other hand, because of Democracy, it also means more people they have to successfully lie to.  Merde.

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2010 Midterm Election: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Posted by PITHOCRATES - November 3rd, 2010

Big Cities, Big Union and Big Government

If you look at a map of the House election results (provided by The Washington Post), you can see the two Americas.  What you see is a red map with small dabs of blue.  And where are those blue areas?  The Big Cities, the big colleges, the big unions and the big urban concentrations of poor and minorities.  And, of course, the liberal elite in and around the Big Cities.  In other words, where you find Big Union (manufacturing, trade unions, school teachers and government employees) and Big Government.  And it’s the dynamic between Big Union and Big Government that empower the liberal elite.   Big Union provides campaign money and foot soldiers for Big Government.  And Big Government rewards Big Union by favoring their small minority over the majority of Americans.  It’s a throwback to before our Founding when kings and nobles ruled nations.  Political power is devolving into fewer and fewer hands. Into those little dabs of blue.

To get a perspective of how bad and how oppressive this ruling minority elite has gotten, consider two races.  Two people nationally despised won their reelections.  Barney Frank, who is largely responsible for giving us the subprime mortgage crisis, won in liberal Massachusetts.  And Nancy Pelosi, who forced her liberal agenda on the American people against their wishes, won by a whopping 80% in San Francisco.  This is what the Founding Fathers meant when they spoke of the tyranny of the minority.  These two have caused great harm to the American people.  Yet they represent such a sliver of minority thought in this nation.  They could not win a national vote.  Yet they can destroy a nation by winning their local vote.

But it’s not all bad.  If you look at the map, you see a lot of red in once dominate blue areas.  New England is not completely blue anymore.  New York State isn’t as blue as New York City.  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Michigan are red outside of the Big Cities.  Chicago, in fact, is a small pocket of blue adrift in a sea of red.  And in Washington, Oregon and California, if you move in from the Big Money coast, you see mostly red.  More importantly, if you click on the governors tab in the map, you see change, too.  New York and California are blue, yes, but there’s more red than blue overall on that map.  Which gives one hope that the republic the Founding Fathers gave us is not yet dead.  It will be hard to gerrymander those congressional districts around the Big Cities to give such little, elitist, local voices a large national voice anymore.

It’s the Economy, Stupid.  Was, and still is.

So, outside of the blue Big Cities, what do we know?  Well, the exit polling told us what we already knew.  It’s the economy, stupid.  We’ve lost too many jobs.  And that’s what we want.  Jobs (see Exit poll: Economy the big dog for worried voters by Connie Cass, Associated Press, posted on Yahoo!

About a third of voters said their household suffered a job loss in the past two years.

And as we lost our jobs, we lost our homes (see Homeownership at lowest level in a decade by Alan Zibel, AP Real Estate Writer, posted on Yahoo! News). 

The nation’s homeownership rate is at the lowest level in more than a decade, hampered by a rise in foreclosures and weak demand for housing.

And while we lose our jobs and our homes, what is the president doing?  Going on vacation to an exclusive 5-star resort.  And it’s going to cost the American taxpayer a pretty penny (see US to spend $200 mn a day on Obama’s Mumbai visit posted by Press Trust of India. 

The US would be spending a whopping $200 million (Rs. 900 crore approx) per day on President Barack Obama’s visit to the city.

Does the royal family feel our pain?

Not only do they govern against our will, but they flaunt it in our faces.  We struggle because of the likes of Barack Obama, Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi.  We lose our jobs and our homes (which is ironic considering we’re in this mess to begin with because of Washington’s policy to provide affordable housing to those who could not afford to buy a house).  And what does the ‘royal’ family do?  Go on vacation that will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars per day.  I guess they can’t feel our pain.  Or that they just don’t care.  So think back to last summer when you spent your family vacation in your backyard because money was tight.  And that team Obama will probably raise your taxes come January 1 to be ‘responsible’ to pay for their irresponsible spending.  Take solace in the fact that at least he could live large on your dime.  Even if you had to spend summer ‘staycation’ in your backyard.

As we proceed from the 2010 midterm elections, do not forget the dynamic between Big Government and Big Union.  It won’t be easy, but they’ll continue to try to help fund those under-funded union pension plans.  And they will point to the Republicans as obstructionists.  That they need to compromise.  Put partisanship behind us.  Especially now.  Since they lost the House of Representatives, the Left can’t be partisan anymore.  Like they have been the last two years.

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