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Archive for _current events – Page 3

Don’t Touch Charity

sworn enemies 05-01-08In a recent teleconference, Barack Obama said that he would greatly reduce the amount of charitable tax deductions individuals and businesses who make over $250K can make on their tax returns in order to help pay for his health care plan. What a horribly conceived idea. This move will cripple many nonprofits across the nation.

Let’s examine why. Yes, the Bible does say give so that your left hand doesn’t know what your right hand is doing, but the truth of the matter is, that’s not how most individuals or corporations choose to operate. When you remove the tax incentive from them, they simply will stop giving. This is unfortunate, because, as one who worked for a nonprofit for three years knows, most charities subsist on the large corporate donations. While the small $25 widow’s mites are genuinely appreciated and coveted, they do not add up enough to cover the overwhelming costs of BOTH running a small corporation as well as doling out resources like food, medicine and education, to those who need it. Most nonprofits work on skeleton budgets as it is already, with much of the staff accepting lower pay than their for-profit counterparts might receive. A lot of the fundraising efforts are spent to find the big donors who are looking for a nice tax write off. While this motivation may not be “ideal,” there is nothing government can or should do to change that.

Barack Obama must know this (or be grossly naive), so why would he propose such an idea? I have my theories.

First, charitable writeoffs take away tax dollars from what otherwise could be used by the government agencies that perform the same services. In essence, private charity is in competition with government for the same dollar, to be used, in theory, for the same purpose. If Obama removes the incentive to give to charity, that money gets funneled into the government instead, so that the government programs end up having a competitive edge over the charities. I find it interesting that when given a choice, most donors would prefer private charities to handle the problems of homelessness, sickness, feeding the hungry, providing after school programs for troubled youth. By removing the writeoffs, government puts restrictions on that choice, meaning if one wants to give to the private charity, they have to do so in addition to giving to the government programs.

The problem with government programs is the lack of competition. We all have heard of corruption occurring within various private charities through the years. The advantage, however, is that if you find an issue with one private charity, simply pull your funds and give to another that does the same job. There are countless of watchdog agencies that do their best to investigate all the various nonprofits, so that one can be an informed giver. Corruption exists because humans exist.

Government lacks that kind of oversight. When corruption occurs, one cannot choose to stop paying taxes. Even when corruption is exposed by various media groups, change is very slow to take place.

The other possible motivation for this (and I’m not saying this is Obama’s motivation, although I’m sure it certainly belongs to a few who support this legislation) is that the greatest source of nonprofits are Christian agencies. I know that there has been a concentrated effort to extinguish Christianity by lobbyists and some in congress. What is the best way to shut down any organization? Remove their source of revenue. This proposal will do just that, forcing many Christian agencies to close their doors.

Thus, I vehemently oppose this idea.

Sweeping Conservative Victories in Europe

When Democrats won sweeping victories in 2006 and 2008, constantly we were bombarded with stories in the media asking, “is this the end of conservatism? Is this the end of the Reagan era?” “The Republican party is now an endangered species, conservatism is dead!” was the conclusion made by some.

I find it interesting, now that the European elections indicate a swing to the right, there is scant coverage of it in our presses. I haven’t found a single story questioning whether Democratic Socialism is now dead in Europe. In fact, I had to dig deep just to find the election results themselves!

For conservatives, the results are a promising sign. America is usually a few years behind the European trend (I’m still waiting for European style jeans to show up at my local Kohl’s). What is boggling my mind now is why on earth is the Republican party shifting left? Polls indicate that America is still a center-right nation, and some Democrats have won victories by campaigning to the right of their Republican counterparts. With Europe moving right and America remaining to the right, the Republican party must either love losing, or they are power hungry, sacrificing principle for what they believe will be the quick vote.

My hope is that true conservatives will run solid campaigns on what conservatives hold dear: limited government, more individual freedom and responsibility (like the freedom to choose which kind of lightbulb I want to use) and fiscal responsibility. My next hope is that they keep their promises once in office.

Politicians that keep their promises? Now that would be news.

Graduation Day

“The old system no longer works.” That’s a paraphrase of recent comments uttered by Obama in a graduation speech. Indeed, it seems a lot of colleges teach you a skill, and then show how you can find a company and climb the ladder. Follow that formula, rise to the top, raise your family, have 2.5 children… you get the picture. It’s a great model. It’s the American dream. And these days, it seems that model is no longer working.

I am noticing a very peculiar thing happening in this economic crisis. As people continue to fail to find jobs, they are deciding that the best thing they could do is create their own work by starting their own businesses. We started as a society of entrepreneurs. However, the 19th century ushered in the age of the major corporation and Americans forgot how to fend for themselves. We became complacent in our “secure” jobs. Now that the security blanket has been removed, many of us are doing what made this country so great in the first place. We are improvising. We are inventing. We are creating. The best thing that government can do right now is to step out of the way and let it happen! Don’t coddle us when we are down. Don’t spend a gazillion dollars trying to keep crippling big businesses alive. Let us be Americans!

One quick final note. This cartoon is not intended to be a slam on college graduates. I’ve known many college grads who started great businesses. I’ve also known many who didn’t attend college who started great businesses, and are doing very well for themselves. I just know from my experience, many of my college educated friends, including myself, were never taught how to be entrepreneurs. I always found it pretty funny, that some of us with our so-called serious education didn’t have a lick of street smarts on graduation day. But through time, experience and a few hard knocks, we’ve learned, and so can any capable person who really puts their mind to it.

The Elephant in the Room

My purpose in doing these cartoons and commentary is to get you, the readers, to just maybe understand why I hold the opinions I do about policy matters. I’m not a hateful individual who wants this country trashed and could care less about the poor. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I believe conservative policies and the freedoms contained therein have been proven more effective than their liberal counterparts. Nor am I partisan. If a Republican does something I consider unethical, I’ll be among the first to oppose them (after found guilty–I’m a strong believer in innocent until proven guilty.) This cartoon was based on a recent piece on Jon Caldara’s blog, chastising Republicans for getting us into this big government spending mess in the first place. To understand more about this cartoon, read his article at: http://www.joncaldara.com/2009/04/tea-parties-were-protesting-republicans-too/

Colorado Tea Party

The First Amendment guarantees us the right to assembly. Thus, this Wednesday I’m exercising my First Amendment rights by going to one of the many TEA parties being held across the nation. Naturally conservative in all I do, this is a great stretch for me. But I’m looking forward to having fun and I hope you will join me there.

Earl Grey, with a little milk and a little sugar, and with a touch of vanilla… That’s how I like it!

The Olympic Spirit

This toon basically captures my shock at hearing the IOC ban the century old tradition of the torch relay because of a few protests here and there during the China Olympics. My immediate reactions were many, including the fact that, true, China violates human rights, but Vancouver? Who would protest the Vancouver Olympics? My other thought was, why do we continue to allow a few disgruntled punks dictate policy in this world. The best thing we could do is stand up to these thugs and run the torch anyway. The worst thing we could do is to cower in their wake and give in to political correctness pressure. After all, isn’t the Olympic spirit about overcoming adversity to achieve success?

Daylight Savings Time

Ah yes, twice a year, we Americans jostle our time, throwing an hour away here, taking it back there. Statistics show that heart attacks and car accidents go UP during the spring forward event, and they drop during the fall back time change. What does this all mean? Nothing, except that it is extremely arbitrary and seems pointless to me.

Two years ago, George Bush signed legislation that would reduce the time period of Daylight Savings from five and a half months to four. Wow. That was random. The reasoning? To save energy. If we keep going at this rate, we’ll be setting our clocks back December 20, and setting them forward December 22.

I’m all in favor of getting rid of the time changes, as our good buddies in Arizona have figured out. Personally, I prefer Daylight Savings over Standard time, as I like having the light in the evenings. But what do you think? Feel free to take my poll, letting us know how you’d prefer to have your time. (Just don’t take too much time doing it, as you lose an hour this weekend.)

Hard Working Americans

Health Scare

Nederland, Colorado!

Sick Out

Rush Hour

Bill H.R. 5889/Bill S. 2913—PLEASE OPPOSE!

The issue that this cartoon addresses is hugely critical to the possible future careers of artists everywhere and it must be opposed. The vote on the bill is coming up very shortly and I encourage every one of you to write/fax/email/call your representatives and beseech them not to vote for this bill. I do not want to have to rely on George Bush, who doesn’t know what the veto pen is for, to have to nullify it.

The issue is about weakening copyright protections for artists. Interestingly enough, Microsoft and Google are behind the bill. There are enough politicians behind the bill on both sides of the aisle, that I wonder if any there is any nefarious activities going on between them and Google/Microsoft. It is receiving bipartisan support, and those in favor should not be reelected. The bill legalizes the theft of intellectual property, and it will remove from artists the ability to make a living. If this bill passes, don’t think it will stop with the art industry. It will move forward to the music industry, the writing industry, eventually every creative industry. The end result will be a society that is content with artistic mediocrity, as true artists will simply find other ways to make a living.

For more information on this bill, click here and take the following actions. If you wish to download the high res version of this cartoon to include with your letter, I authorize the right to do so. This issue is of utmost importance. ACT TODAY!

Conjuring Charlton Heston’s Ghost

Bureaucratic Oversight

Perpetual Limbo

I really do not like the TSA. Granted, they are doing their best to protect us in these perilous times, but along with finger nail clippers, knitting needles and vials of sunscreen, common sense seems to have been thrown out.

Every new restriction lasts through eternity, which makes me cringe with each new one. What is our threat level now, ochre? Could I please have my shaving cream back? And what’s the deal about not letting friends or relatives accompany you to the gate? The terrorists were all paying customers!

Health professionals tell us to drink plenty of fluids while traveling. But you can’t bring fluids across the security lines and the airlines no longer serve beverages for free! The only way to maintain good health while cramped in your 2′ x 2′ space is to purchase the super inflated beverages on the other side of the security check in. Coincidence?

Meanwhile, a few undercover studies have shown that handguns and other legitimate weapons still somehow make it through the security check ins. And what a shame, I no longer can defend myself with my sunscreen.

The Writer’s Strike