Real Texas Freedom

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Gerrymandering - Not Supposed To Be

May 16, 2003 - Not Supposed to Be: During the 1950's, the intellectual elite wrote papers, taught government classes in colleges, made speeches and generally promoted the idea that gerry-mandering was wrong. As a young student at the University of Texas in Austin, I disagreed. It was clear to me that rural areas were in power and that area representation was just as important as representation for greater numbers of people. I found that rural people were more sophisticated. I never knew a Red Neck from the country. They were all from the city working in factories or warehouses or whatever. Urbanites banded together like birds of a feather with no real understanding of why they needed to get together. Rural people were diverse, knowledgeable, and full of wisdom. I hated to see all the efforts being made to deal with the gerrymandering problem. Well, most of the family farms are gone. Small businesses continue to perish on a daily basis and the country has become the suburbs with Red Neck city folks taking over everything. Our congressional districts snake around like a sidewinder rattler. Both political parties continue to abuse the system and dish out blame for what each is responsible for. Politics can be fun as well as dangerous but until our leaders get off the polarization mindset, we will never solve the representation problems created by gerrymandering. All efforts to fix the problem have failed.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Congressional Insight - Written March 9, 2005

To: Lamar Smith
I just got a notice that your message might be junk mail and I had to check a spot saying it wasn't. I hope I'm right!!!!!!!!!!! I think you are on a committee that can do something about the overreaction to spam and other unwanted E-mail. I have no problems and just delete what I don't want.
Regarding SS, it's protected as long as over 12 percent of the better part of the national payroll is paid to eligible beneficiaries every year. It becomes problematical when SSI enters the picture.
Did you consider that Baby Boomers will be dead in 30 years? Not all Baby Boomers are eligible now. I'm all for helping the elderly whether they're eligible for SS or not. I'm too old to care where my money comes from, Welfare or SS, but I think most SS recipients want what they paid for and the young folks don't want to set up a welfare program for themselves.
Investing SS money in the stock market makes no sense. You can use compound interest, simple interest, dog pound interest, pound cake interest, sledge hammer interest or credit card interest and SS beats'em all. I paid in a total of $15,000, most of it paid in the last few years before retirement. I have received more than $67, 000 in benefits. I am 68 years old and receive $875 per month SS and a small private pension. I would receive more if the SS program paid out what it is supposed to pay out. If employers want to project low wages in the future, or outsourcing most of the better jobs, (the SS administration could never do that. could they?), then the whole economy will turn sour and not just SS recipients will be short changed. We'll do just fine if we get what we're supposed to get every year. The idea of a "trust fund" was never in the cards from the getgo.
If you really want to protect SS, do something for the American working man. Big Business has a way of squeezing out the little guy every time they write legislation for you guys in Congress.

Sam Houston

Circulating around the Texas History crowd at UT back in the 50's, was a story about Sam Houston that may or may not have been true. I heard it first from a Texas History professor in the classroom. He didn't tell the story in a flattering way but the rift between Stephen F. Austin and Houston was alive and well then and the teacher was for Austin.
It seems that Houston was sitting with a bottle of whiskey, drunk at the curb in front of the Governor's Mansion, when somebody scolded him for his behavior. Houston replied, "Since when is it against the law to be drunk on the streets of Austin?"
There were other stories about his use of opium and how the battle of San Jacinto and the capture of Santa Anna, resulting in the establishment of the country and eventual statehood of Texas, was due to his use of opium. Of course, all great minds have always needed something under stress, even wine. I think of Sam Houston every morning here in the mountains of New Mexico when the ravens, his Indian name was Raven, start fussing and screeching at each other.
New Mexico's Governor, Bill Richardson, who has been running for President of the U.S. for years, has managed to tax cigarettes and liquor to pay for everything and proudly brags that he didn't have to raise state income taxes and was able to do away with the sales tax on food, New Mexico being one of the few states to tax food. The State Health Department puts out TV commercials with Richardson dressed as a cowboy ordering milk in a saloon. The slogan, "You drink, you drive, you lose," ridiculed by the national media, continues daily on TV in a variety of constitutional defying situations while wasting tax dollars. Health Department lies about the dangers of second hand tobacco smoke, the only way the government can constitutionally control tobacco, flood the media.
I don't know what Richardson thinks would happen to the government and the economy if everybody quit smoking and drinking but I'm sure of one thing, his intellect is not of presidential caliber. I just wish there were some Sam Houstons around.


More entitlement B.S. The article is certainly right about the Medicare drug plan but entitlement lies with the involvement of the drug companies and their massive profits, not with the recipients who pay both the government and the companies. Hell, I can't even get a card from my provider and can't contact them either. Nothing but recordings. They want me to pay for the medicine and get reimbursed, it seems. I also get calls all the time about adding to my coverage for a few more dollars but the callers can't believe I don't even have a card. I don't see all the shortcomings of the Canadian system, that provides complete medical coverage and drugs free of charge for everybody. There's certainly no problem there about the entitlement program endangering the Canadian economy and coverage is complete and entitled. Of course, they don't use insurance companies, which cuts the cost in half. I just use over the counter stuff when needed.
Granted, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that 11 babies are born every minute in the U.S. while only 8 deaths occur, which indicates problems for the future but also lots of workers. If the population surge ever levels off, there will be more retirees than workers but prices will adjust to spending or businesses will go broke. So, there is no entitlement danger possible, only profit levels for Big Business. They will just have to go for volume instead of immediate unfair pricing and that won't be for another 100 years or so, unless they are properly regulated before then.
My only entitlement is Social Security, which I paid for with the governmental contract that I would receive my share of whatever is collected every year. 12 and a half per cent of most of the national payroll is plenty, regardless of what's happening. If it isn't, the American economy is doomed and no amount of conservative preservation of Big Business control can change anything.

Sam Nettles -
Real Texas Freedom -
RTF Blog -

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Monday, March 05, 2007 9:58 AM
The Coming Entitlement Meltdown
March 5, 2007 David Walker, Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office, appeared on the show “60 Minutes” last evening to discuss the federal budget outlook. If you saw the show, you know that he painted a very sobering picture regarding the federal government’s ability to meet its future obligations.
If you didn’t see the show, Mr. Walker’s theme was simple: government entitlement spending is like a runaway freight train headed straight at American taxpayers. He singled out the Medicare prescription drug bill, passed by Congress at the end of 2003, as “probably the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”
When it comes to Social Security and Medicare, the federal government simply won’t be able to keep its promises in the future. That is the reality every American should get used to, despite the grand promises of Washington reformers. Our entitlement system can’t be reformed- it’s too late. And the Medicare prescription drug bill is the final nail in the coffin.
The financial impact of the drug bill cannot be overstated. Government projections that the program would cost $400 billion over the next decade were a joke, as everyone in Congress knew even as they voted for the bill. The real cost will be at least $1 trillion in the first decade alone, and much more in following decades as the American population grows older.
The Medicare “trust fund” is already badly in the red, and the only solution will be a dramatic increase in payroll taxes for younger workers. The National Taxpayers Union reports that Medicare will consume nearly 40% of the nation’s GDP after several decades because of the new drug benefit. That’s not 40% of federal revenues, or 40% of federal spending, but rather 40 % of the nation’s entire private sector output! The politicians who get reelected by passing such incredibly shortsighted legislation will never have to answer to future generations saddled with huge federal deficits. Those generations are the real victims, as they cannot object to the debts being incurred today in their names.
The official national debt figure, now approaching $9 trillion, reflects only what the federal government owes in current debts on money already borrowed. It does not reflect what the federal government has promised to pay millions of Americans in entitlement benefits down the road. Those future obligations put our real debt figure at roughly fifty trillion dollars- a staggering sum that is about as large as the total household net worth of the entire United States. Your share of this fifty trillion amounts to about $175,000.
Don’t believe for a second that we can grow our way out of the problem through a prosperous economy that yields higher future tax revenues. If present trends continue, by 2040 the entire federal budget will be consumed by Social Security and Medicare alone. The only options for balancing the budget would be cutting total federal spending by about 60%, or doubling federal taxes. To close the long-term entitlement gap, the U.S. economy would have to grow by double digits every year for the next 75 years.
The answer to these critical financial realities is simple, but not easy: We must rethink the very role of government in our society. Anything less, any tinkering or “reform,” won’t cut it. A good start would be for Congress to repeal the Medicare prescription drug bill.