Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The Keynesian Economic Theory Is Out of Date With A Modern Global Society

            We all know how hard it is to admit you were wrong about something.  Right? 

Now, let’s say you spent a lot of time studying and researching a subject, perhaps for a
PhD thesis or even a book.  Here’s an example.  About 15 years ago a veterinary
graduate student wrote his PhD thesis on the premise that dogs and cats didn’t have
strokes (cerebrovascular accidents).  He believed only humans suffered from strokes,
and other animals had what he called “vestibular syndrome,” a problem with the middle
ear apparatus that created all the central nervous system signs normally attributed to a
stroke.  Now, hold that thought while I discuss John Maynard Keynes.
            The study of economics is relatively new, primarily developing in the late 19th and
20th centuries.  British economist John Maynard Keynes published his conclusions on
the subject in 1936, entitled, “The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.” 
It soon became one of the most controversial and variously interpreted theories of its
time, and has influenced governments’ attempts to control their economies ever since. 
In fact, the current administration is putting all its eggs in Keynes’ basket right now.  Or,
rather, our President is putting all OUR eggs into that basket.
            The Federal Reserve System was set up in 1913 to “maintain the stability of the
financial system and contain systemic risk that may arise in financial markets,” among
other things, yet is has never been able to do so.  It didn’t prevent or control the Great
Depression, and it hasn’t prevented or solved any of the subsequent recessions,
including the one we are in now.  Likewise, Mr. Keynes’ theory was used by President
Roosevelt to end the Great Depression, but it failed miserably.  The massive industrial
mobilization of World War II is what brought us out of the Depression, not any economic
            So now we have what we call a “global economy,” and a subsequent Modern
Global Society.”  I’ve argued that we have had a global economy ever since the first
wooden ship left shore with a cargo to trade; it’s just that this is done faster and on a
much bigger level today.  So why should Keynes’ economic theory work any better
today than it did before?  President Obama believes that President Roosevelt simply
didn’t spend enough money.
            Here’s Mr. Keynes’ theory in a nutshell.  First, he believed that we should spend
all the money we make, or total spending in the economy, termed “aggregate demand.” 
Now, that’s hard to take.  It reminds me of the fable about the grasshopper and the ant. 
Next, he thought that aggressive government action could stabilize the economy.  This
is based on his belief that large fluctuations in the economy significantly reduce well-
being, and that the government is wise and capable enough to improve on the free
market.  I guess that means we should trust in the knowledgeable judgment of our
elected officials, like House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-
            Keynes’ solution to a recession or depression is to stimulate the economy by
reducing interest rates and having government invest in infrastructure.  This is
supposed to have a “domino effect” by funding income, which leads to more spending in
the general economy, thereby stimulating more production and investment.  This is
supposed to repeat over and over, so that the end result is a multiple of the initial
government investment.  Times have changed significantly, however, from the 1930s.
            I’ve had this copy of Fortune¹ in my office for many years.  I think I bought it
because it is from the war years, and I’m very interested in World War II.  Inside this
December 1942 issue was the third in a series of reports “on potential courses for
democratic action” after the war was over.  They were assuming at the time that it would
be over in another year or two.  Part III is “The Domestic Economy.”  Now, here are two
paragraphs from page 6 that I want to read to you.  It’s headed, “Fallacies of debt.”
            “The commonest objection to a policy of government spending arises from the
fear of public debt.  To some extent this fear is grounded in a theoretical
misapprehension: that public debt is like private debt, and that if the government
continually spends more than its income it will go broke or cause inflation.
            “This analogy is false so long as the productive capacity of the nation is
maintained, the debt is internally held, and the government retains its taxing power.  For
with production flowing, since the interest on the debt is paid to residents of the country,
the government can always recover an equivalent sum in taxes, no matter how huge.”
            Has the productive capacity of our nation been maintained?  No, it has mostly
gone to China.  Is our debt internally held?  No, thirty percent of our national debt is
foreign-held, with nearly half of that (48%) held by China, Hong Kong, and Japan.  Has
our government retained its taxing power?  Yes, but one out of three isn’t good enough.
            This report goes on to state on page 8 that some economists urged “a fairly
drastic redistribution of income from the saving to the consuming class.  The ‘propensity
to consume’ is highest in the lowest income groups; therefore, for the sake of stability,
let us tax the rich and subsidize the poor.”  Sound familiar?
            We see all around the country signs of our President’s stimulus plan at work. 
(Show photo of “Project Funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act sign
by highway)  Each of these signs, by the way, costs us $900 to make and erect.  He
believes that Roosevelt’s application of Keynes’ theory didn’t work because he didn’t
spend enough money.  Obviously, he’s taken care of that.  Roosevelt thought in millions
and billions.  Mr. Obama is calling on trillions to do the job.  Do you think it will work
            The assumption of a static economy seems to underlie Keynes’ entire work.  I
don’t believe he ever ran a business himself, and had no experience with the “human
factor” of the economy.  He really didn’t take into account an important ingredient: public
trust and confidence.  The only people who truly believe that government  has all the
answers and should run everything are the liberal-socialists.  The rest of society, if they
know any history at all (by the way, for several decades our children have become
ignorant of the lessons of history), realize that socialism is horrible.  As Winston
Churchill said, “The vice of capitalism is that it stands for the unequal sharing of
blessings; whereas the virtue of socialism is that it stands for the equal sharing of
            So, yes, I believe that the Keynesian economic theory is out of date with a
modern global society.  It is out of date with any society outside the halls of academia,
and has proven so whenever it was used to solve a recession or depression.  Why do
some think it will work now?
            Remember the theory of “vestibular syndrome?”  Well, about ten years ago a
group of pathologists, after studying over a thousand post-mortem examinations of dog
and cat brains, discovered that animals other than man do, in fact, have strokes. 
Nevertheless, a whole generation of veterinarians is still telling pet owners that their pet
did not suffer a stroke, but instead has vestibular syndrome.  Many veterinary colleges
continue to promote the theory to this day.  And a funny thing – the treatment we’ve
always used for a stroke, anti-inflammatories, antihistamine, and time to heal, seems to
cure the problem no matter what you call it.
            Even though you’ve proven a theory to be wrong or ineffective, it inevitably
persists.  Nobody likes to admit they were wrong.


¹  “The United States In A New World – A series of reports on potential courses for democratic action.  Prepared under the auspices of the Editors of Fortune.  III: The Domestic Economy.”  Fortune 26, no. 6, December 1942

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Be Prepared: The Motto of the Boy Scouts of America

Our long-time friend, who is a CPA in Columbus, just sent me an e-mail (Dec. 2010), and this was his last paragraph.  I followed with my reply.

"On another note, I would like to compare notes/ pick your brain a little - Ruta and I are beginning work on a comprehensive contingency plan for what we think is going to be best case long drawn out " ground war" in our economy to worst case another depression /melt down that would involve riots/violence etc.  I think the next event is going to be currency bubble or a massive default in the muni-bond market.  We are thinking about putting together a comprehensive plan that involves 1) preparedness 2) protection 3) financial 4) education.  I think it is just prudent given how things are so fragile right now and like I said best case we will be in this ground war for a while.  Let me know when you have few minutes, I would be interested in your thoughts."


I have a Mormon friend who told me that his church recommends keeping a one-year supply of food on hand at all times.  He keeps a three-month supply, which is a lot for anyone.  There are places on the internet that specialize in disaster preparedness, and will sell you a year’s supply of food to store away.  This spring I checked prices at Sam’s Club on basics, like rice, flour, sugar, salt, beans, etc.  I checked again in November.  Rice is up 12%, sugar is up 29%, and wheat flour is up 21.5%, and our government is telling us that inflation is at normal levels.  You can’t put a trillion into a 7 trillion economy and not have inflation.  It will get worse.

Glenn Beck has an article on food storage (I think he’s a Mormon, too) that is a good start. http://www.glennbeck.com/content/articles/article/198/48306/   It’s good to know how to make bread from scratch and how to boil beans.  Those are basics.  I live near a small lake and can get water from there (I have several filter systems), but I also have a Water BOB (www.waterbob.com) that stores water in your bathtub.  Providing you have warning that water will be shut off, that’s fine.  Emergency water is also available in your water heater tank and in the toilet tanks.

I went to Lowe’s and bought a dozen of their gray 5-gal plastic buckets with sealable lids.  Then got oxygen absorber packets from USA Emergency Supply to put in them. https://www.usaemergencysupply.com/emergency_supplies/oxygen_absorbers.htm   Next I went to Sam’s for the flour, salt, rice, beans, baking soda, freeze-dried coffee, etc.  One bucket will hold a 50-lb bag or two 25-pounders.  Label the lid, date, drop in the oxygen packs and seal.  I have them on two roll-around dollies in my basement.  You might also get one of the cooking with home storage cookbooks from this site.  The easy way is to just by the 1-, 6-, or 12-month supply of food from them.

I’ve also put together two “bug-out bags” that are filled with basic survival gear.  If we have to evacuate or run for our lives, these are two backpacks that I will grab first, then the guns and ammo, then food.  We have a couple cases of military MREs, too.  Google “bug-out bag” for a list of essentials.  Remember, if the electric grid goes down, you won’t be able to go to the gas station for gas (no power for the pumps).  I bought a Honda generator two years ago to power a freezer or refrigerator.  I have a 55-gal drum of gasoline in the shed and maybe 15 gallons of kerosene.  Get yourself a Petromax kerosene lantern.  They are essential http://www.britelyt.com/.  I have two Swiss military 250s and a 500 that we use when we go to Cook Forest.  You can also cook on them.  Know how to start a fire without matches; there are many ways.


Find a reputable gun shop near you.  Preferably one recommended by friends.  Ask about a concealed carry permit instruction course and sign both of you up for it ASAP.  They will usually provide a gun if you don’t have one.  This is the store where you will go to for advice, ammunition, holsters, etc.  I have two in the area that I use, and both know me well.

I bought most of my guns from gun shops, however, I buy most of my ammunition online.  Cheaperthandirt.com now offers ANY gun you might want for sale.  You just have to have it delivered to a licensed gun dealer near you to pick it up.  Some stores charge you a fee for this, and you should first ask if they will match the online price(s).  Often they will, except for ammo.  I would recommend a .45-caliber pistol, semi-automatic, because .45 ammo will always be available, as it has been around for over a century.  You can still buy WWII ammo in a sealed can!  I’ve also bought ammo from Sportsman’s Guide (www.sportsmansguide.com) and found they have the best price on bulk ammunition.

How much is enough?  I told a friend of mine who has full-auto rifles and even a Thompson submachine gun (special BATF license required) that I had 3,000 rounds of ammunition.  He chuckled and said he wouldn’t feel safe with that.  I now have 16,000, most in .22 (.22 rifles will be gold, and so will the ammo to hunt small game), but 4,500 in .223 (for a Colt AR-15), and 3,600 in 5.7mm (I bought a FN Five-Seven pistol and FN PS-90 rifle this year.  Pistol holds 30 rounds, rifle 50.)  Buy a lot, usually in 500-round or 1,000-round batches for best prices.  Join Sportsman’s Guide Membership for further discount.

It’s best to stay with one or two calibers to simplify your ammunition purchasing and confusion.  I have .22, .223 (5.56mm), 5.7mm, .32 H&R, .380, .38, .44 Mag., .45 ACP, and .45 Colt.  It can get confusing if you are not fully aware of what they are and in which gun they go.  I will soon add 12-gauge shotgun to the list.

Gun brand is personal preference.  In .45 semi-auto pistols there are HK, Glock, SIG, Colt, and many others.  Glocks are pretty durable and dependable.  I have an HK USP Compact .45 for traveling, and usually carry a SIG P238 .380.  Paula keeps a Glock 21 .45.  I used to carry a Walther PPK/S .380, but the SIG is much lighter.  I have an inside the waistband/belt holster that rides just ahead of my right hip.  A lot of people carry in the small of their back either inside or outside in a belt holster.  I just find it harder to reach back there.

Glocks have an integral safety set in the trigger, so there is no lever to look for to flip off (especially good for people who are unfamiliar).  You don’t put your finger on ANY trigger until you are ready to fire, so that is one of the first things you learn.  You’ll get yelled at in the Concealed Carry course for having your finger on that trigger.  With the Glock, when you put your finger on the trigger you first depress a lever in the trigger, then begin to pull the trigger itself, so there is no other safety lever to flick off, like on nearly all the other semi-autos.

If I have to choose a minimum defense package, I’d probably go with the two FNs (pistol and assault rifle) and a 12-gauge shotgun.  The pistol is to buy time to get to your rifle, and nothing impresses an intruder more than a shotgun.  But I’ll have a .45, too!


If you remember your history, when inflation takes off your paper money will soon be worthless.  Gold and silver will be the only true currency, other than barter.  Read “One Second After” by William R. Fortschen or “Alas, Babylon” by Pat Frank for examples of what life might be like.  Pretty lawless.  Also watch “The Road” and "Book of Eli."

I’ve just bought bouillon, no collector coins.  If you are buying things you will only get what the gold or silver is actually worth, not what someone thinks it is worth.  Juni Banico at Bowers and Merena Galleries jbanico@bowersandmerena.com lets me know when  he has Krugerrands, Maple Leafs, and other bouillon coins for sale.  I’ve bought silver coins through him, too.  Right now I’m waiting on a shipment of silver 1 oz. rounds from Northwest Territorial Mint http://bullion.nwtmint.com/silver_stagecoach.php that are pre-scribed to break or cut into quarters.  Shipment has been delayed twice and I’m looking at mid-January.  You just have to compare commissions and markup to find the best buy.  Volume brings the percentage down.  I’ve also bought from Lakota Bank http://www.freelakotabank.com/accounts.php, but paid more.   Nevertheless, the way things are going, I’m making money every day.


I’ve had a lot of basic survival education through the Air Force, but you never have enough.  I took a winter survival course at YSU in their ROTC curriculum, so you might see what’s available near you.  There is also unlimited information online.  When you find a site, look at their links for more.  Again, learn how to make fire several different ways.  Many people will die just because they can’t.  Twenty-five percent will be gone the first year, by most estimates.  Not from a bomb, but from survival of the strongest.  If you’re diabetic, make a will.  Those on dialysis will be gone in a week.

You might be referring to home schooling, too.  Again go online for information, but you might put together an “essential” library of your own; something of an investment anyway.  It might even be something to pass down to your grandkids.  You can choose the titles, and even get out of print copies through Advanced Book Exchange http://www.abebooks.com.  This is a huge co-op of book stores around the world.  It would be the best way to put together a library at minimum cost.


If the SHTF, trying to survive by yourself with just your family will be tough.  If you have good friends, a group is more likely to survive roaming bands than a single family in a house.  We live on a cul-de-sac that I am looking at for defending.  It has Mill Creek Park wrapped around it with just one road behind us and then the lake – natural obstacle.  But we need maybe a dozen adults to protect it.  I’m talking 24/7 guard duty.  It would be great to have our two Dobermans again, too.  Dogs are better than any alarm system (remember, no power, no alarm system).  You have to feed them, too, but you can also eat them if need be!  (Yes, I would have a hard time doing that.)

Monday, November 29, 2010

R / D / R / D / R / D / R / D

Time for an “I” or keep turning the coin?

1.    No president has sealed our southern border

2.    No president since Eisenhower has deported all illegal aliens

3.    Every president since Nixon has increased trade with China and encouraged US businesses to move there, losing jobs at home

4.    Every president for nearly 100 years has maintained the Federal Reserve system

5.    Every president for nearly 100 years has maintained Federal Income Tax

6.    No president since the creation of the Department of Energy has made us independent of foreign oil

7.    No president since the creation of the Department of Education has improved overall education levels in this country

8.    No president has eliminated the need for a welfare system since its creation 75 years ago

9.    Every president for over 100 years has been picked by the party, its core voters, and the press, NOT by we the people; the winner is ruled by his party

10. Presidents are influenced more by the Council on Foreign Relations than by what is best for America and Americans

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Am I A Sinophobe?

            In 1968, while I was stationed at Mactan AB, Republic of the Philippines with the Air Force, I travelled to Hong Kong for a week’s vacation.  I was not allowed to purchase or bring home ANYTHING from Communist China.  I wanted a Chairman Mao lapel button as a souvenir, but I could have been brought up on charges if I had one in my stuff.  Now, 42 years later, I have to be diligent to avoid buying things from China here at home.  I wish it was 1968 again.

            Communist China put a man in space two years ago using technology gleaned from the USA (and Russia) and paid for with US dollars.  Yes, Wal-Mart indirectly paid for their space program.  A month ago China announced that it has the fastest computer in the world.  Ever notice all the Chinese grad students at our engineering colleges?  Now, it appears that a Chinese nuclear ballistic missile submarine fired a missile in international waters off Los Angeles Nov. 8 in a show of military strength (http://www.infowars.com/wayne-madsen-china-fired-missile-seen-in-southern-california/).  The sub apparently took a southern course to evade our Navy.  Japan took a northern course sixty-nine years ago to do the same.

Thank Congress, all recent Presidents, and the naivety of Americans for building up and enriching our greatest enemy in the world today.  Why do I consider Communist China our greatest enemy?  Because they consider us their greatest enemy! 

            Corporate America repeatedly said Communist China is a huge emerging market for American products, and a fast-growing economy that will overtake us.  They said the Communist Chinese want to be our friends, and we should embrace the global economy.  Just think of a billion Chinese buying our products.  Well, the top 20% of Chinese workers have an average annual income of $3,600.  The lowest 20% have an average income of $890, and the overall average income is $2,025.  What can they afford to buy that says, “Made in the USA”?  (Several sources, including USDA: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err32/err32b.pdf)

            Communist China has had “Most Favored Nation” trading status with us since 1979, when President Carter opened the door to, essentially, carte blanche trade.  The balance of trade shifted, and grew tremendously during the Reagan years.  In 1985 our trade deficit with Red China was $6.0 million.  By 1989 it increased a thousand-fold to $6,234.3 million, and is now $226,877 million (http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html).  Red China now refuses to buy our treasury bonds, holding enough of them already to collapse our economy.  Hence Quantitative Easing 2, the $600 billion purchase of our own bonds with our own newly-printed money.  Is Mr. Bernanke a genius, or what? Now we are passing the debt to our great-grandchildren!  Massive inflation is here.

            It’s time to stop the hemorrhage.  No matter what pull Wal-Mart lobbyists have with Congress, we need to pull MFN trade status from Communist China.  They have consistently violated rules of trade, from allowing copyright and patent infringement to outright theft of proprietary manufacturing secrets.  To the government of Communist China, the end justifies ANY means, and they are using every means available to propel their country to world hegemony.  Their greatest national accomplishment will be bringing the USA to its knees.  We need a kick-ass president, not an eloquent apologist.  When we refer to “China,” make sure we call it “Communist China,” so that we never again delude ourselves into thinking they are colleagues in this great, big world.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

The New Law of Diminishing Returns

            Economists throughout the world are still clinging to the flawed theory of John Maynard Keynes regarding “stimulating the economy” with huge infusions of money (our money) by the government.  It is flawed in that it never took into account human nature to save and preserve whatever money people have in savings, rather than spend it to induce production.  People aren’t going to blow every penny they have tucked away when times are bad unless they are absolutely sure the light at the end of the tunnel isn’t a train heading their way.

            But I digress, somewhat.  This is about a new law of diminishing returns.

            During the past two decades China has been touted as a huge new “emerging” economy, one which will grow incredibly in the near future.  China also offered extremely low labor costs, which would increase the profit margins of just about any manufacturing company you can name.  In the infinite wisdom of previous presidents and Congresses, the doors to American commerce were thrown open to China, allowing US companies to build factories there.  “Most Favored Nation” status was given to China, allowing virtually unchecked importation of Chinese goods to this country.  Wal-Mart was ecstatic.  CEOs were rubbing their palms with dreams of huge bonuses and returns to stockholders.

            But, wait, something is happening.  Americans are discovering that much of what we’ve been buying with the gold “Made in China” sticker just isn’t holding up like the products we used to have.  Here are two cases in point:

            From 1980, when I bought my first Hathaway shirts (Maine, USA) on sale, until the factory closed down because of uncompetitiveness, I was truly pleased with their product.  Never lost a button (trademark 3-hole), never had a flaw, and wore them until they were truly “worn out.”  Shopping for a replacement, the men’s-wear salesman said, “I’m sure you will like Eagle® shirts, they are really good quality.”  So, I bought three, then several months later, four more, and four more, etc.  Now, three years later, I’m finding that the buttons are disintegrating, the collar buttonhole is tearing, and the button-down collar buttons are actually coming off with a piece of the fabric it’s sewn to.  The fabric is also yellowing.  I’m unhappy with this Chinese product and will not buy any more.

            I’m a veterinarian, and I operate on pets nearly every day.  The first instrument I usually use is a scalpel blade.  For decades I bought blades made in England and Germany.  Now, supply houses offer a much “less expensive” blade under a variety of names, made in China.  I’ve gone through a few hundred of them, and today decided not to buy them anymore.  The one today cut like a dull hacksaw blade, roughly dividing the skin and requiring a second and third pass.  I ignored this problem many times before with these blades.  They have a high percentage of poor quality sharpening jobs.  I’ll pay more for a good product, and ordered my staff to find better quality.  Same goes for gut suture material on reels, skin staples, catheters and needles.  No more.  I’ll gladly pay triple for German Braun® suture that I can trust wasn’t actually made from cat gut.

            I’m sure mechanics across our country are experiencing the same problem with tools, as are carpenters and others who work with their hands and tools.  The tools are less expensive, but in the long run, need to be replaced much more often.  Heritage tools that are passed down from generation to generation will soon become a thing of the past, because now we are buying throw-away tools, since that’s just about all you can find in the stores.  Unless you become very selective.  I had six or seven different brands of hammer to choose from at my local big box supply store.  I picked Estwing®, made in my hometown of Rockford, IL.

            So, for all you CEOs out there, please take notice.  Your decision to put all your eggs in a Chinese basket were short-sighted.  You have reaped the benefits of cheap labor at the cost of millions of jobs lost here at home.  Our manufacturing base has been pared down to bare bones.  You have experienced increased profit margins from low-cost labor, but will see sales begin to decline due to unemployment and experience with inferior products.  Let’s call this the “Human Factor of Diminishing Returns.”  This applies to a wide range of products, from canned fruit to frozen seafood, electric toothbrush heads to jewelry, and hand tools to automobiles.  Time to rethink your decisions, and that goes for Congress, too.

            Throughout my lifetime we Americans have enjoyed being able to buy the finest products in the world, and we produced most of those things right here at home.  Great timepieces, like Hamilton®, Elgin®, and Waltham® were respected around the world, but died when equal and superior accuracy was achieved for less money in other countries.  High quality for fewer dollars won the marketplace.  American clothing prospered, like those Hathaway® shirts, and we could trust all the food produced in the USA.  Poor quality and marginal quality products were soon rejected by American buyers because we had dozens of other choices, and the nature of free market enterprise eventually weeded out the junk.  That will continue to be our ace in the hole, as long as we have alternative choices and are knowledgeable about what we are buying.

            So, American consumers, be aware of what you are spending your money on.  Do you want it to last, or pay less and have to replace it later?  What would be the end cost of this buying habit?  It will usually be more expensive in the long run.  We have been  fooled into believing that we are getting the same thing for less money.  Sometimes that’s true, but today it’s usually false.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Two Sides, Same Coin

            Now that we have begun swinging the other way with the political pendulum, we must wait to see what our newly-elected members of Congress will do for our country.  I’m not holding my breath to see if we secure our border(s), initiate nuclear power plant construction, begin drilling in ANWR, or pass The Fair Tax bill.  I really don’t expect any substantive change.

            So, here’s a thought for 2012.  If the Republicans and Democrats continue to avoid making important decisions for the betterment of our country, then why don’t the many tea party organizations across the land unite to promote their own candidate for president?  No, not necessarily Sarah Palin.  Along with this would be a requirement for the candidate to sign a legally-binding contract with the American people to ACT, without delay, on a list of issues critical to our future.  Here is an example:

Under A Legally-Binding Contract With Voters, the Tea Party Candidate for President Will, Without Delay:

Secure our border(s).
Order the Navy Seabees and Army Corps of Engineers to work from the coasts inland to erect a secure fence with secure crossing points, establish Coast Guard patrols, guard border with National Guard.

Revoke Most Favored Nation trading status from China.
            China has not complied with rules governing trade

Remove punitive powers from OSHA and EPA.
            Make OSHA and EPA advisory agencies; only states should prosecute.  Revoke
            their ability to impose monetary fines.

Close the Departments of Energy and Education.
            They have never achieved their purposes, but have become bloated
bureaucracies full of patronage workers.

Sign into law The Fair Tax, with repeal of the 16th Amendment.
            Congress should never have taken the power to tax our incomes.

Abandon Federal Minimum Wage law.
            Allow states to set their own minimum wage if they choose to do so.  Let a job
            pay what it is worth.

Revoke one-term pension from Congress.
Nobody else in this country gets a pension for working two years (except some executives by contract).

Will NOT convey executive pardon on any prior administration workers or presidents for

Make “Loser Pays” the national standard for tort reform.

Order that Congress shall make no law that applies to the citizens of the United States
            that does not apply equally to the Senators and/or Representatives, and
            Congress shall make no law that apples to the Senators and/or Representatives
            that does not apply equally to the citizens of the United States.

Drill for oil now in the USA in ANWR, offshore, etc.  Increase domestic production to
            eliminate need for foreign oil.  Initiate construction of nuclear power plants.

Expand existing petroleum refineries and build at least three more, with one specializing
            in diesel fuel.

Stop all government subsidy of corn ethanol production.
            The corn ethanol industry has increased cost of food in the US.  We can buy
            ethanol from other countries for far less than it costs us to make it.

Invoke 12-year, cumulative term limits for Congress. 
            If you’ve been in Congress longer than 10 years, you are no longer working for
            the people you represent, but for yourself.  If it takes longer than 6 months to
            learn your job, you are not competent to hold that job.  For some, common sense
            is too hard.

Declare English our national language.

            Now, of course, this list must be agreed upon by the tea parties, and can be extensive.  It would legally require that, if elected, the President would do what his/her contract requires, all within the four-year term, and some ASAP.  Yes, I’m aware that he/she needs Congressional cooperation to do many of these things (except ordering the military construction of the border fence), but without the parties’ conflicting actions, perhaps an independent could get more done?

            Time to begin planning is now, unless you’re still “hoping” for “change.”

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Heritage Tools? Not Any More

           I remember when I was growing up that my best friend’s dad was a machinist who worked in middle management of a big machine tool company.  He had a beautiful wooden chest on his workbench in the basement at home with fine measuring instruments in it – calipers, gauges, and fascinating special tools.  These were tools that would last several lifetimes and became family heirlooms, of sorts.  They were made of the finest metals and were relatively expensive.

            Most boys eventually put together a set of tools, and later build on that to sometimes fill a toolbox that they use as adults.  I’ve got a Craftsman® multi-drawer tool chest on rollers that holds a collection of various tools I accumulated over the years.  I always tried to get tools in the mid-price range that would last and serve me well.  Sears was always the place to go, but local hardware stores also carried a variety of well-known American tools like Stanley®, Estwing®, Channellock®, Vise-Grip®, and others.

            One day in the 1980s I broke a metric socket while working on a car.  I was in a hurry to get the job done, so I went to a new store that carried all kinds of tools.  Many carried the brand name Buffalo®, and that sounded like a good American company, and the price for a whole set of metric sockets was really cheap, so I bought it.  The original socket held up for decades before it succumbed to my overpowering abuse.  The new one lasted a month, and then I looked more closely to discover the “Made in China” imprint.  This was a new wave of throw-away tools that truly aren’t made to last, but will get the job done.  And if it breaks, it won’t cost much to buy another.  Of course, this keeps production going on the other end of the chain, too.

            Once these tools became entrenched in our retail landscape, the superior-quality American tool sales slipped and slid downward.  These great companies, like Black & Decker®, Skil®, Briggs & Stratton®, began looking for ways to lower their costs to become more competitive.  No way, said the unions.  Our state and federal governments also made more rules, regulations, restrictions, fees, taxes, etc. that simply increased the cost of production, which must be passed on to the consumer.  Their only recourse was to build factories where these problems don’t exist.  So now, when you look for those American brands that you grew up with, be sure to look at the packaging to see where the product is made now.  You shouldn’t be surprised.  Here’s a list:

            Channellock®                      USA
            Crescent®                            USA
            Wiss®                                   USA
            Nicholson®                           USA
            Estwing®                              USA (Rockford, IL, my hometown)
            Johnson®                             USA & China
            Vise-Grip®                           China
            Weller®                                 Mexico
            Irwin®                                    China
            Plumb®                                 China
            Porter-Cable®                      China & Mexico
            Great Neck®                         China
            DeWalt®                                Mexico
            Milwaukee®                          China
            Ridgid®                                 China
            Vermont American®            China !!
            So, if you want to buy someone a gift of a tool this Christmas, birthday, or for whatever reason, get them something that’s still made in this country, regardless of how nice the packaging and tool itself looks.  Check the back of the package and see where it is made. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Campaign of Deception

            Throughout his campaign for Congress, Bill Johnson has been deceptive.  All of 2009 he campaigned and raised money in the 17th District, where he lives.  Then in January 2010 he decided that the challenge to beat Tim Ryan was too great, so he became a carpetbagger and jumped down to the 6th, angering a lot of his campaign donors and county chairmen.  Didn’t matter to him, he wants to win.

            Before the primary ballot, he told all of the 6th’s Republican chairmen that he had raised over $106.000.00, making him the only “qualified” candidate.  His Federal Election Commission report states that he raised $96,000.00.  He stretches the truth for his benefit.

            He doesn’t say who he works for.  His campaign literature and website states, “a global manufacturer of highly electronic components for the transportation industry.”  What’s the reason for not saying who he works for?  What’s the deception there?  (He works for Stonebridge http://www.stonebridge.com/)

            According to Vote Smart, “Bill Johnson refused to tell citizens where he stands on any of the issues addressed in the 2010 Political Courage Test, despite repeated requests from Vote Smart, national media, and prominent political leaders.”

            Hard to tell what his political affiliation is.  He doesn’t like to use the word “Republican” in any of his campaign material.  Who’s he trying to fool?  He told the editorial board of the Youngstown Vindicator that it would take $2 million to defeat Charlie Wilson and that he could raise it.  Really?

            If you want to vote for the candidate who most agrees with your beliefs, try going to www.votesmart.org and click on their “vote easy” button.  It’s a great interactive questionnaire that shows who you should support, if what you believe in is truly important to you.  If not, just vote D or R like you’ve always done and expect different results (see Albert Einstein’s quote on insanity).

Biggest Friend of Chinese Workers

            What American company is responsible for more jobs shipped to China than any other?  Wal-Mart!  Yes, this corporation has grown so huge, and has become so greedy that it has dictated the prices it will pay for products for many years.  If an American manufacturer wouldn’t reduce its wholesale prices to meet Wal-Mart’s demands, Wal-Mart would tell them to start manufacturing in China, so that production costs would come down and they could meet their prices.  Or, sell their products through someone else.

            Needless to say, as the biggest retail chain in the world, nearly everyone did as Wal-Mart told them to do.  American factories shut down and production moved to the sweat shops over there.  No more EPA or OSHA to worry about, no more restrictions, rules, unions, fees, permits, fines, inspections, worker’s compensation, Social Security, retirement plans, paid vacations, sick days, insurance, and other perks and benefits paid to American workers.

            So, yes, you are able to buy things cheaply at Wal-Mart.  But what is the real cost to all of us and our country?  Spread your purchasing to other companies, like Target, K-Mart, Sears, Penney’s, and others.  Don’t do all your shopping at a store that has become un-American.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

More Berries In Your Cereal!

Berries In Your Cereal – From Where?

By Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM

            I’m a raspberry-aholic.  I admit it.  There is nothing finer in life to eat than raspberries, unless it is raspberries with dark chocolate.  So, imagine my delight when I saw breakfast cereals with “more berries” and more varieties, like blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, etc.  But, wait, with today’s food crises occurring more often, I wondered where these freeze-dried berries were coming from.  Are they from the USA, Mexico, or South America?  Guess again.

            My first call was to Kellogg’s, and I asked if they were buying their freeze-dried strawberries from China.  The answer was, “We do not buy any finished product from China.”  Hmmm.  What does “finished product” mean?  Is it not “finished” until it is in the box, ready to be sold?  A follow-up e-mail stated, “Kellogg sources vitamins from a number of countries, including a small amount from China. Because of the Quality Assurance programs we have in place, we are confident of the safety of these ingredients.”  Did you know that the PRC forbids foreign inspection of farms?

I contacted Post also and got a denial that they were buying ingredients from China.  “Please be assured that none of the ingredients used in the manufacturing of Post General are from China.”

            Next I contacted the biggest strawberry producer in Florida and asked about freeze-dried strawberries.  The CEO answered, saying that no freeze-drying was performed in Florida, but that he believed freeze-drying was being done in California.  Finally I e-mailed the California Strawberry Commission and here’s their answer:  Thank you for contacting the California Strawberry Commission with your question.  The origin of the freeze-dried strawberries used as ingredients in many cereals is difficult to determine.  There is no public source of information regarding origin, imports, exports and usage of freeze-dried strawberries as an ingredient. Our industry does not directly manufacture freeze-dried strawberries, but frozen strawberries from California are often used to manufacture freeze-dried strawberries.  Much of the world’s freeze-drying production capacity is in China and in some cases frozen strawberries produced in California are shipped to China, dried, and then returned to the US for ingredient use.  However, production of strawberries in China has increased over the last few years and may now exceed US strawberry production, so it is likely that much of their domestic production is used to manufacture frozen and freeze-dried strawberry ingredients.”

            Thank you, Congress, for first allowing more and more food products and ingredients from China and other “developing” countries, and secondly for allowing US companies to hide that fact from the public.  This is just one more negative effect of moving toward a “one world” or “global economy.”  I guess I’ll just have to buy my fruits and vegetables locally, or raise them myself.


Donald K. Allen, MS, DVM
4501 Market St.
Youngstown, OH 44512
330 727-4240 cell
330 782-7333 off