Friday, September 16, 2011

Signpost on the New Era

I wrote about the drivers of the New Era in Dawn of a New Era, and will draw out the underlying principles from that to examine how they work asymmetrically in the way things work.

Let's go back to the Old Era in television, specifically cable television.  Back in the day, which was the late 1970's, cable tv was going to be the New Era of television!  It had good, clean reception, lots and lots of channels (with nothing on to watch), premium content channels like HBO and Skinemax... err... Cinemax, plus 'local access' which was what the Left desired: low cost, low budget, low content places where they could say whatever they want and be watched by their friends.  Halcyon days, no?  No longer were you beholden to the 3 Letter Alphabet Stations but could get those same stations from other places, too!  Joy, oh, rapture!

Ted Turner  (with nice little bio at Wikipedia, your black hole for information) got in on that bandwagon after starting out with his father's billboard business and a little UHF channel (remember those?) back in 1963.  Then in 1970 he formed up Turner Broadcasting and after that, with his super-station of different content on cable, he made CNN which started in 1980.  He formed up CNN with $20 million dollars (which is about $55 million in today's dollars) and employed 200 people.  And he had a media empire which would grow and grow in size.

Great stuff, huh?

Now fast forward to... well... this week.

On 12 SEP 2011 Glenn Beck's television network started officially, although they had been beta testing it for a few weeks prior to the debut.  GBTV started with: $20 million.  Glenn Beck has been a media mogul... ahhh... is he a media mogul?  Not really, not in the Ted Turner buying stations sense, no.  He does have a popular radio program and when he went to Fox News Corp. he had a staggering demo at 5pm that was outdrawing primetime offerings on other News networks and was neck and neck with Bill O'Reilly at the 8pm slot at FNC.  His GBTV has some free content and pay-for content on either a monthly or annual basis.

He has more subscribers than Oprah Winfrey has viewers on OWN [Source: WSJ]:

When Mr. Beck announced GBTV in June, the network had 80,000 subscribers. In the months since, GBTV subscribers have swelled to more than 230,000, according to people close to the network, even though Mr. Beck‘s show hasn’t yet begun.

The audience is far less than the more than 2.2 million daily viewers his program on Fox drew, on average, over its 27-month run, which ended in June after clashes with the network’s management.

But it is more than the average 156,000 people who were watching the Oprah Winfrey Network in June.

Now Ted Turner built his media empire up from 1963 to the late 1970's to get together the money to put CNN on the air, which is a 24 hour news channel.

Glenn Beck worked as a top tv show host for a few years at FNC, started The Blaze (which is becoming the news portion of his new 2 hour show) in 2010, and has had a hit radio program for years.  As he recounts it 9/11 caught him wholly unprepared to know what was going on, which caused him to take a deeper look at the problems that were revealed by that attack.

Now it is time to do the signpost checklist to see how the emergence of the New Era compares to the old.

1) Moore's Law – Computing power and access to the Internet were unavailable to Ted Turner at the start of CNN, although computers were used as the network stood up, most of the early stuff was done the old fashioned way, by hand.  Glenn Beck's GBTV is all digital, via streaming media and the ROKU box, a handy little device that has dedicated media streams developed by various content providers.  Such a device with limited computer capability, memory, display (regular and high definition) and no monthly fee wasn't something you could imagine in 1980.  The computer in one way, shape or form is required for GBTV.

2) Metcalfe's Law – The network of the 1980's was satellite broadcast television for CNN.  That is descriptive of a one-to-many media, in which one provider (or gatekeeper) contacts many users.  It is inherently one-way and only gained any Internet capability in the last 15 years.  CNN has to support that system as a legacy network as it is efficient for what it is.  GBTV has no legacy network to work with: it is not on the air, not cable and not stuck with a one-to-many content system of set display times for shows.  Shows are streaming and on-demand, which means that after they are made you get to decide when to see them.  Additionally because it is a networked system on the Internet, feedback can happen in real time when GBTV is active with a live feed, thus allowing faster interaction between the host of the show and the full audience outside of the one in the studio.  Neither network is currently using the many-to-many paradigm, save for GBTV's announcement yesterday of developing a media distribution system for college students to post and distribute their content for other users.  That is a many-to-many content and distribution system and CNN doesn't have it, while GBTV will have it in a week.

3) Feiler Faster Thesis (FFT) – The FFT is descriptive of a shortened loop for ingesting, understanding and processing news information not via machines but for the user.  CNN was on the first cycle of that in 1980, allowing for a continuous content feed that helped viewers get better informed via their gateway about the world.  The FFT does not stop after one cycle, but is continuous, thus the requirement for more news from varied outlets allowed the market for news to grow, which meant that CNN had to keep up with that growth or lose market share.  It lost market share.  From the start of having a television in one's home in the late 1940's to 1980 was a bit over 30 years for the FFT to kick in.  By 1995 other 24-hour news channels had started up and the FFT was in force.  In 7 years, circa 2002, CNN was no longer top dog in the 24-hour news market.  By 2010 it was losing ability to get a top ranked show.  Now it is fighting for relevance in niche markets.  People are processing the news and analyzing it faster than it can be provided and the ability of symmetrical networks that allow many-to-many capability has begun to marginalized any news source that is run by a gatekeeper.  GBTV is not a news show, it is an asymmetrically distributed show on a many-to-many system with minor subscription fee.  Since the Internet was opened for common use in the early 1990's, say 1992, to 2011 is nearly 20 years (for rounding sake), and the FFT will be the basis for it until the analysis time because of known content amount by a user dwindles to near instantly.  If you can read an article, see its underlying assumptions, question the reasoning and doubt the conclusions and cite why and sources for each of those steps, then you are in the New Era.  GBTV is in the New Era, while CNN is struggling to figure out what the New Era actually means.

4) Stephen J. Gould's Observation on Theory-Scale Applicability – Here the idea is that to reach a wider audience requires presence and that presence is King.  This applied to the old broadcast networks and cable networks, and now presence is ubiquitous via the Internet.  Being there is half the battle now, but content, the old King, is returning with force and it does not require a high priced studio to make.  If the ability to give a compelling narrative utilizing authentic presentation media is a winner (and has been for any reality program be it Wild Kingdom or Deadliest Catch) then absolute reality captured by individuals on cellphone cameras or other digital video/audio means will then make for compelling content in the New Era.  Content and Presence together make for compelling viewing and the final piece of interaction makes for learning how to live your life and communicate with those that relate to you as you relate to them.  This schema can be applied to such things as bacteria as they are ubiquitous, have presence, do communicate with each other (although not via digital means) and are the dominant life form on the planet.  Plus they were able to make it toxic to competitors and began an arms race that hasn't ended yet on the small or large scale.  This schema for success is scale independent, then, and those following it will succeed (although not a guarantee for each individual, those following the underlying paradigm will generally be favored).  CNN is stuck with legacy capability, and lacks many functions to allow it to operate in the New Era.  It will fail if it does not adapt.  GBTV has a much better chance for success although that is not guaranteed.

5) Disintermediation – Simply put: CNN sees itself as a gatekeeper, GBTV sees itself as an enabler.  CNN wants to tell you what the news is, GBTV wants you to figure out what the world means on your own.  CNN is an intermediary and not such a good one these days.  GBTV is a provider of information and will give you one viewpoint and then ask for help to see if it is one with a high degree of correspondence to actual reality.

6) Emergence – CNN has an editorial staff, a number of writers, and a bias in reporting: that is top-down behavior.  GBTV comes from the culmination of experience which has been built up over time via research and synthesizing what works and what does not: it is contingent upon information and factual data and experience, and cannot be said to be directed to any other goal than that and is able to change based on information and knowledge.  CNN is authoritarian and agenda driven, while GBTV recognizes that, as they say, the truth has no agenda.

7) Knowledge Web – The creation of CNN was that of a standard, old line presentation system that depends little on utilization of past history to look for present relevance, only the ephemeral present matters.  GBTV is about the creation of the links to the past and present so that a living history is utilized to help us understand ourselves and our future. 

8) Accelerating Change – This is the realm that examines what it takes to stand up an information system in the New Era.  To get to a limited, national audience took 17 years, building a media system, and then investing $20 million into a news broadcast system dependent upon satellite technology.  The modern era has that same $20 million but its effective purchasing power is less than half of what it was in 1980, and yet because it utilizes the efficiencies of computer power and networks, putting together of a 'media empire' in the form of a radio show, a news oriented website and then an expanding on-demand and live broadcast system with global reach.  The acceleration of change from the early days of television to the 1980's was already fast and apparent as James Burke demonstrated at the time.  Since then the predicted acceleration of changes has continued and that has now changed how we view what we do, what media is and expanded the scope of it beyond anything that was dreamt of in 1980.  Between the late '40s and 1980 is a full cycle of ingesting the then current satellite broadcast capability to a large audience.  From 1980 to the present the reach of all telecom systems have expanded to the point where enough cellphones have been produced so that each and every person on the globe could have one... it they were all working, that is.  Media capture capability has shrunk from million dollar studios to tens of dollar cellphones and digital cameras, with some of the software for processing the raw video and audio having the price of free attached to it.  Getting skill to use it still takes time, but the barrier to entry has been reduced because of the acceleration of change so that we can not only have it but use it in new and novel ways and in ways that old era systems could never do.

Taken together CNN represents an old era media system, with legacy systems that keep it tethered to a past that is now disappearing before our eyes.  Even its next generation competitor, Fox News, is suffering from this malady although it is trying to morph into something that can survive in the New Era.  GBTV and other media systems run by individuals and dedicated small groups are the future of New Era media and the first generation of it.  They, too, will be challenged by these drivers listed above as the Next Generation of the New Era is already starting to appear.  In a decade we will not even know how we could live as we did in 1980.

Or we will be plunged into a global dark age without technology and even literacy threatened, because they will be offered on the burning pyre of those who wish to control others and cannot stand the idea of freedom of thought, expression and letting others live with liberty.

What the future holds depends, as it did when James Burke presented Connections, on you.

And I wouldn't bet that you won't live to have to make the choice between freedom with liberty or tyranny with repression.

Because for all the change, the hearts of man have not changed one single, solitary bit... we just cycle through the decision making process faster now.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

So what are the 'entitlements'?

An important misdirection on 'entitlements', especially Social Security, is that you are 'paying' into an 'account' that is a lockbox.

Unfortunately, that has never been true.

In Helvering v. Davis (1937) the Supreme Court determined that the 'payments' into SSA were simple taxes. Here is a review of Title VIII that puts SSA into place:

Title VIII, as we have said, lays two different types of tax, an "income tax on employees" and "an excise tax on employers." The income tax on employees is measured by wages paid during the calendar year. ' 801. The excise tax on the employer is to be paid "with respect to having individuals in his employ," and, like the tax on employees, is measured by wages. ' 804. Neither tax is applicable to certain types of employment, such as agricultural labor, domestic service, service for the national or state governments, and service performed by persons who have attained the age of 65 years. ' 811(b). The two taxes are at the same rate. '' 801, 804. For the years 1937 to 1939, inclusive, the rate for each tax is fixed at one percent. Thereafter the rate increases 1/2 of 1 percent every three years, until, after December 31, 1948, the rate for each tax reaches 3 percent. Ibid. In the computation of wages, all remuneration is to be included except so much as is in excess of $3,000 during the calendar year affected. ' 811(a). The income tax on employees is to be collected by the employer, who is to deduct the amount from the wages "as and when paid." ' 80a(a). He is indemnified against claims and demands of any person by reason of such payment. Ibid. The proceeds of both taxes are to be paid into the Treasury like internal revenue taxes generally, and are not earmarked in any way. ' 807(a). There are penalties for nonpayment. ' 807(c).

There is the nub of it: what you pay are simple taxes that are not earmarked in any way.  You do NOT pay money into a 'lockbox' and Congress stopped the procedure of having SSA funds go to SSA and, instead, they go into the general funds with Treasury notes going to SSA with promises of repayment of those notes.  Basically the 'trust fund' set up in the 1930's was abolished by a later Congress.

Congresses get to do that, you know?

But you still had an 'account', right?

Unfortunately, that has never been the case.

In Flemming v. Nestor (1960), the Supreme Court ruled against any contractual obligation put forward by the US government in SSA.  Nestor challenged that he had a 'right' to SSA because it was 'owed' to him by the US government which had pulled his benefits due to him being a Communist Party member.

The SCOTUS ruled that the 'account' was not property and was not covered by Constitutional protections.  Indeed it is a payment made by the will of Congress.

So those slips of paper you get when you pay into SSA saying how much you 'have' in an 'account'?


You pay taxes and you get promises of future support.  No promise made by the US government is binding in any way, shape or form.  WE BIND government via the Constitution, and within those limits the power we grant is Sovereign in nature.

And that 1960 case brings up one very important point.

Lets say that you were an ideologue who had gotten to the Presidency and needed a useful tool to punish those that weren't supporting you in a re-election campaign.  Key or 'swing' districts might see threats of having the individuals getting SSA have their payments reduced or even their 'accounts' severed completely.  If they didn't vote the 'right way'.  Perhaps start with missing payments due to 'timing difficulties' and then, if that didn't convince recipients to 'change their mind' then start cutting them off from those payments on a more frequent basis.

Now here is the important thing to keep in mind:  ANY President of EITHER party could do this.

SSA, then, would be used as a tool against the people of the United States if they did not agree with the politics of their 'betters' in government.

Legally, too.

Be a shame to have those 'entitlements' cut off, wouldn't it?

And the thing is that the government holds this capability on ANY contract it signs up to.  It is called 'Termination for the Convenience of the Government' or T4C in contracting parlance.  Now for all of those out there who railed and impugned Halliburton and other companies do remember that ANY President can stop contracts with those companies and that if they have no real competitors then the US would be without those functions provided by that company.  Which is why, for all of the Left railing against 'cronyism' for Halliburton, President Obama has done nothing about their contracts: their services are unique and necessary to critical missions.

And that is for the military.  Of course such a move to remove vital services might get a President thrown out of office via impeachment or the ballot box.

Unless he did it late in a political campaign so as to politicize the topic and rouse his 'base'.

Or punish the 'base' of the 'other side' via threats and intimidation.

Not just with SSA, Medicare/Medicaid but with ANY contract held with the US government in ANY district for ANY reason or NONE AT ALL.

Remember when Thomas Paine called government a 'necessary evil' way back in Common Sense?  That is for when government just does the few things it MUST do.  When it starts to hand out goodies, then the Evil becomes Pure.

Which is why anyone, with any mental capacity to understand that 1 + 1 = 2, and not 3 for large values of 1, understands why you want a highly limited, restricted government starved of any treats and kept on a damn short leash.  This beast has grown so that it is now demanding not just its food, but ours as well, and is near to threatening to bite off the hand that feeds it.  I would suggest looking for a large stick and saying 'good doggie' until it can be beaten back to its proper place.

Your liberty and freedom depend on it.

So does your life, if you do the math.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thinking off the cuff

After the so-called Presidential debates last night, the question of what to do with SSA came up.  I mean, the system is broke, broken and a Ponzi Scheme that exists on taxes.  So what to do?  I took 10 minutes as I was writing to think up a simple plan... I don't claim it to be good, but it does put together a lot of disparate ideas floating around, which at least makes it something different and, hopefully, a start to something better.

Thus at Hot Air I replied thusly and this will be the end of the post:

Doing away with SSA also means doing away with FICA.

We can design a better system that puts all on SSA currently into a budget area where the bonds held by the fund are used and Congress can kick in any amount it can afford to help supplement that. There would be no new recipients coming into that system and the SSA card would be used only for those recipients who wish to stay in the system.

For everyone else you can set up an account to put in money before taxes of not more than 10% of your earned income so as to reduce your tax liability, and put it into an account where, in 30 years, you can take money out tax free for any reason or no reason at all. Children can either have accounts started by their parents, or are allowed to start one with general back-dating for initiation at age 18 or at any time thereafter.

A proviso for those starting an account with an SSA card is that the account has its timer started from the day you got your SSA card: it is considered back-dated to that day. If that is more than 30 years ago you now have a way to shelter income and have a tax free way to recover that income immediately, tax free.

Another proviso is that money must go into an account in any amount annually for it to continue its status. One red cent will do it. There is no requirement for where the funds MUST come from only that funds are PUT IN to the account annually.

This ends the idea of having to hold an investment because what everyone talks about is an ‘account’ that reaches some maturity date – it isn’t the way you invest, that can be in anything, but how long you’ve had the account. And as the retirement age is abolished this gives a good way for those who are older and have a higher general income to put away a bit more of that as they grow older. They can roll other investments into that account so that any with required amounts to take out (the current IRAs) can then go directly into the new account. The old IRAs are allowed to go in tax free and the money comes out, tax free.

All fund vehicles inside the account are considered untaxable, period. While companies and diversified holding organizations do have to pay taxes for any transactions, all benefits put into the personal account are secured from further taxation as income, capital gains or any other income source. Yes you still have to pay sales taxes and other forms of taxation, but that is on the spending side, not the income side.

This does some immediate things.

- First it allows those who whine and complain about an account TODAY to get to make a REAL ACCOUNT that might actually be better and more flexible than SSA because they have held an SSA card for a long time. You don’t get ‘benefits’ from the government, but can shelter a portion of current income from taxation and if you’ve had the card longer than 30 years, you can start spending it. That isn’t wise, of course, but the account remains open as long as you have funds in it.

- Second is that those who wish to leave SSA as recipients and go back to work can then utilize this account to do the same as any other long-term SSA card holder. If you can get a job that pays more, net, than SSA you will then have away to reduce its tax burden to you. This can be ‘means tested’ so that there is a fraction of SSA going to you, based on your earned income and the year that you get more in net income from your work than you do from SSA, your SSA access ends. You have become a full and independent older adult who no longer needs the help of Uncle Sam. Thank you.

- Third is that parents can put money into a child’s account and when that child grows older he or she will have something with a date certain of when they can get to the funds. If started at birth, then you can do that at 30 years old just when that first real house starts to become a necessity. If done at 18, then at 48 you gain access to the account for medical expenditures, advanced schooling for children or other needs. This is actually far better than SSA/Medicare/Medicaid will ever be.

No one can mandate that you put money into such an account, but it is available to you as a citizen. After SSA is removed your account can be started by your parents at any time from your birth day onwards, or by you at 18 if your parents are unable to do so.

And if you start to think that this is a way to get money out of the taxable reaches of government, then you are getting the point to the account. If we mean what we say about having a sustainable economy via investment then this is just the sort of thing you want as it can hold any investment vehicle, cash, or even an entire estate which can then be rolled over without any taxation to children or other account holders. This will put all governments on a short spending leash, yes, and any who wish to expose their earnings to the ravages of legislators can do so. This will cheese of anyone who thinks that anything should be liable for taxes to pay for ‘good things’… and says to them: responsible citizens who can pay their own way should have the risks and benefits of doing so. These people are not a ‘burden’ to the system because their investment and spending will create a new system very different from today’s and a direct pipeline of funds and investment vehicles into a tax shelter for even the poorest of citizens will allow all citizens to learn to take care of themselves.

Don’t just replace SSA and other entitlements.

Make something better that the government can’t ravage to its spendthrift ends.

This took all of 10 minutes to think up.

I am sure you can do better.

ajacksonian on September 8, 2011 at 7:12 AM

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Belief in America or Just the Bureaucracy

This is a quick take on the plan put forth by Mitt Romney for what he would do as President: Believe In America.

He has the 5 Bills for Day 1... mind you Congress makes and drafts bills, so he is asking Congress to do this for him.  Even if his proposal is just wrapped into a bill, it still has to go through normal vetting in both Houses.  Of course most Congresses dealing with a new President like to give him something early on, and that will usually be the last of it for what a President gets easily.  On to the proposals.

First – Cut corporate income tax rates to 25%.  This is becoming a theme amongst the Republican candidates with John Huntsman proposing something similar.

Second – Implement the negotiated free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea.  That is a good thing and requires Senate approval, which would go relatively easily with this President who can still take this one away with a sign of his pen and handing it to Harry Reid.  That he hasn't has shown President Obama's lack of skill at foreign policy, diplomacy and the treaty ratification process which starts with the President and ends in the Senate.

Third - The Domestic Energy Act, and I will give you its talking point directly:

• Directs the Department of the Interior to undertake a comprehensive
survey of American energy reserves in partnership with exploration
companies and initiates leasing in all areas currently approved
for exploration

Notice that this talking point does not look at the role of the EPA and Dept. of Interior or if they should even exist at this point.  If the point had read 'Seeks to disband the EPA, Dept. of Energy, and end the regulatory authority of the Dept. of the Interior on energy concerns and return those to the States' he might have something.  As it is he is still working to keep the regulatory bodies around after they have proven toxic to the Nation's economy via over-reach.  That these agencies can have such power under ANY President is the problem: if we are depending on good nature and kindness from the Oval Office resident, then human nature will leave these powers open to abuse.  The problem lies not with the not granting of leasing permits, but in the US government having any power over them at all.  This is odd because of the next point.

Fourth - The Retraining Reform Act, and again direct verbiage:

• Consolidates the sprawl of federal retraining programs and returns
funding and responsibility
for these programs to the states

If this is such a great idea for 'retraining programs' then how about for determination of energy exploration?  Or why, indeed, does the federal government get involved not only with 'retraining' but 'education' as a whole?  For pointed projects for military affairs there should be some funding to support research, but the entire federal array of spending in this realm is something that belongs at the State level.  Again, why not abolish the Dept. of Education, end all 'retraining' initiatives and then just cut the budget?  The message from 2010 was Stop The Spending, and to this point it hasn't been stopped.

Fifth – A 5% across the board cut to discretionary programs, yielding $20 Billion.  Why not abolish the Dept. of Agriculture and get nearly 4x that amount?  Toss in EPA, Education, Energy, Labor, choice parts of Interior... that would be a massive re-scope in federal power, of course.  That is not what is being proposed.


There are also five Executive Orders that would go out on Day One and those are next.

First – Tell HHS to yield as much authority back to the States for health insurance and prepare to end Obamacare.  Say, why isn't that in a bill on Day One?

Second – Rescind all Obama regulations and cap regulation growth to $0 as to impact on the economy.  Of course if you got rid of the regulatory agencies which have over-reached you could not only get to $0 growth but get some cash back by selling off the property, furnishings and such of the regulatory agencies involved.  That is something a businessman would do – get rid of failing parts of a business and yield any revenue from their remains that he can get.  Oh, sorry!  I though Romney was a businessman...

Third -  An Order to Boost Domestic Energy Production and direct verbiage, again, boldface is mine wherever seen:

Directs the Department of the Interior to implement a process for rapid
issuance of drilling permits
to developers with established safety records
seeking to use pre-approved techniques in pre-approved areas

The federal government has proven to be the PROBLEM in issuing permits, particularly Interior and EPA.  How about just asking for those powers and regulatory organizations to be abolished and let the States figure it out for themselves as they have a good set of procedures for near shore drilling and the ability to craft good policy for their State and its concerns?  But that would be federalism at work.  Can't have that!

Fourth – A Romney hobby-horse is China and seeking sanctions against it for violating our trade agreements with it.  He could, of course, just rip up the agreement and be done with it.  Mind you, this is a guy who's company (or one of the arms of Bain) was in bed with Huawei which was seeking to muscle in on encryption technology.  Yes, his hand-picked man was running the company, but Mr. Romney was the owner of it, so that makes things look a bit interesting as to his beef with China.  He could propose a three tier system of Free Trade with Nations that are our friends and that offer protections of the rights of their citizens from abusive government, normal trade relations with any government that is neither hostile nor friendly and offers at least some protections to their citizens, and no trade for those Nations that are hostile to us and seek to abuse the rights of their own people.  You know, something simple that makes the position of the US clear and understandable with regards to Free Trade and human rights?

Fifth – And then there is this one, An Order to Empower American Businesses and Workers, and verbiage:

• Reverses the executive orders issued by President Obama that tilt the
playing field in favor of organized labor, including the one encouraging
the use of union labor on major government construction projects

Great as far as it goes.  Note that the Dept. of Labor and NLRB isn't addressed in this.  He will address one of them later in the additional back-up material.  On p.4 he has a Labor Policy area and I'll give that one to start looking at the underpinnings of how Gov. Romney thinks government should be run:

Mitt Romney will protect the worker rights and employer flexibility crucial to innovation, economic growth, and job creation. As president, Romney’s first step in improving labor policy will be to ensure that our labor laws create a stable and level playing field on which businesses can operate. This means he will appoint to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) experienced individuals with a respect for the law and an even-handed approach to labor relations. Rather than seek to impose his own vision for the future of labor law via executive fiat and bureaucratic subterfuge, Romney will take the conservative approach and work with Congress to amend the outdated portions of the existing statutory framework, setting it on a stronger footing appropriate to contemporary conditions.

Specifically, Romney will seek amendments to the National Labor Relations Act that protect free enterprise, free choice, and free speech. The Act must be amended to ensure that it does not allow the NLRB to constrain companies in their investment decisions, as the NLRB is attempting to do in the Boeing case. It must also be amended to guarantee workers the right to receive full information about the pros and cons of unionization and then express their own preference in the privacy of the voting booth. And it must put an end to the undemocratic practice of allowing unions to deduct money directly from worker paychecks and spend it on political causes with which the workers may disagree.

How about just abolishing the damned thing?  Not just the NLRB but the Dept. of Labor, both, as the States were dealing with things pretty well before these things were created.  And if you want to protect Constitutional rights, then you take the abusers to court, which means States have to make sure that everyone is treated equally, and the federal government has a lovely Congress to make sure that it can be constrained so as not to utilize any discretion when awarding contracts.  Wouldn't that be a novel idea?  Get rid of abusive agencies, hand power back to the States and then seek to have discretion removed by Congress so that abuse on the part of a President or an Agency can be taken to court.  Why, that is almost novel!  Do note, that is not what Mitt Romney is proposing.  He trusts the power and authority of the bureaucracy and thinks that all it takes is electing good people to the position of President because, you know, we would never elect someone who would abuse that power.


Oh, wait a sec... that is exactly what his proposal is addressing and he is not dealing with the root of the problem but, instead, trimming the noxious weed back a bit but leaving it in place.  If you are noticing a decided lack of distrust of bureaucracies and how they work at the federal level, then you are starting to get a feel for Mitt Romney's proposal.

Let's take a look at the part on 'human capital' right next to the labor policy area:

Mitt Romney sees two important objectives that America can pursue immediately to build on the extraordinary traditional strengths of its workforce. The first is to retrain American workers to ensure that they have the education and skills to match the jobs of today’s economy. The second is to attract the best and brightest from around the world. As president, Romney will focus retraining efforts on a partnership that brings together the states and the private sector. He will consolidate federal programs and then block grant major funding streams to states. Federal policy will be structured to encourage the use of Personal Reemployment Accounts that empower workers to put retraining funds to efficient use and that encourage employers to provide on-the-job training.

Romney will also press for an immigration policy that maximizes America’s economic potential. The United States needs to attract and retain job creators from wherever they come. Romney will raise the ceiling on the number of visas issued to holders of advanced degrees in math, science, and engineering who have job offers in those fields from U.S. companies. Romney will also work to establish a policy that staples a green card to the diploma of every eligible student visa holder who graduates from an American university with an advanced degree in math, science, or engineering.

I have some bad news for Mitt Romney: the job of President of the United States is NOT about bringing States and the private sector together.  Sorry, that is up to the States to decide.  But as he is the one in control of the cash stream via Block Grants, why, he gets to do that!  Isn't government wonderful?  Hand cash over to people and then get to tell them how to utilize it!  Why its so... Progressive!  And then he will help make individual accounts to make sure the federal government can 'help' individuals.  Gee, isn't that swell of him?

I'm all for the part of attracting the best & brightest.  Make sure they don't feel as if they are going to get shafted by having to go through all the legwork while illegals get offered some sweet amnesty, ok?  And Gov. Romney might want to take a look at closing the borders to the undocumented, illegal workers coming into the US so that Americans don't have to compete at the low end against them.

Now to back up to energy policy on p.3:

Mitt Romney will pursue an energy policy that puts conservative principles into action: significant regulatory reform, support for increased production, and a government that focuses on funding basic research instead of chasing fads and picking winners. Romney will streamline federal regulation of energy exploration and development so that the government acts as a facilitator of those activities instead of as an obstacle to them. He will create one-stop shops and impose fixed timelines for standard permits and approvals, and he will accelerate the process for companies with established safety records seeking to employ approved practices in approved areas.

Under this robust and efficient regulatory framework, Romney will significantly expand the areas available for energy development—including in the Gulf of Mexico, the Outer Continental Shelf, Western lands, and Alaska. He will also strengthen partnerships with Canada and Mexico to expand opportunities for American companies in the development of those nations’ resources. And he will encourage continued development of unconventional reserves like shale gas and oil that hold enormous promise for expanding the base of U.S. reserves.

You know all of that could be significantly accomplished by getting rid of federal 'oversight' in these areas.  And to make things even sweeter he could divest the US government of the land it has grabbed in energy rich areas and hand those back to the States, as well, so that some States can see some active revenue coming from their land via land taxation.  And that would mean less cost to Interior as it wouldn't have so much land under its belt to 'administer'.  Plus get rid of any potential abuse by an future President to do fun things with manipulating the energy supply of the Nation and put that back in the hands of the States where it belongs.

What I see here in this lovely plan, is a misplaced trust in government power and bureaucracies to do 'good'.  The role of the federal government is to apply equal application of the law, not tilt it towards Unions or towards business, but to apply it equally and fairly to all Americans so that any taken to court get a level playing field there.  That would mean recognizing that things done locally be it training, education, energy production, anything not handed in the Constitution to the federal government, belongs with the States and the people.  That we not only trust in God, but we then place trust in ourselves to hold our government accountable at the most local of levels where our power as citizens is at its strongest.  Not with the national government where it is at its weakest.

This plan is written so as to leave the abusive power structure largely in place and continue its drain on the federal government which, in case it hasn't been noticed, is broke.  Not just broken, but running so deep in the red that $20 billion out of $1.6 trillion is not just a bad joke but a mockery of fiscal sanity.

Gov. Romney needs to join the 21st century, as these 20th century style 'solutions' are the sort of thing that got us into this mess to begin with.  And he does not seem to recognize that these powers are misplaced and open to future abuse if the bureaucracies are left intact.  Which they are.  These are not 'solutions' of helping the American people by reducing the size, scope and power of government, but of papering over the massive defects of the government and hoping that a little bit of prosperity will lull people back to sleep about the massive problems our government has with its power.