Sunday, January 24, 2010

FSBO: Senator with low mileage

There seem to be an awful lot of people with a real bug up their ass over the latest Supreme Court decision to ban spending caps on campaign spending by corporations. And, while they have a real right to be angry, it is no surprise that they are mad for entirely the wrong reasons. Please notice the implication: It's okay that our government officials are for sale, the problem is just the price. This is akin to your wife telling you that it's okay to seek your jollies with a crack whore, but she's going to go ballistic on you if you visit a classy call girl. Personally, I think the problem isn't the price paid, it's the whole idea that government officials are for sale in the first place.

And, of course, the anger is directed towards those wicked, awful, evil corporations that have put a leash on our politicians... all the while forgetting that corporations don't quite have a monopoly on buying politics. Organized labor, environmentalists and a whole host of other traditional "lefties" all have made plenty of bids on And remember, even the most "earth friendly" environmental lobby has someone behind it trying to pocket millions off their political investment. Al Gore and T. Boone Pickens are sure to profit if they can craft the laws in a way to give themselves the upper hand over any possible competitor.

And isn't it funny... In general, the people that are really, really angry over this issue... are historically the same group of people that have very loose interpretations of "general welfare" and "necessary and proper." But now that "general welfare" seems a little dangerous to them -- now the concept of a corporate influenced electorate seems like a really bad idea. Well, maybe, just maybe, a wild, wild west interpretation of "do whatever you seem fit" is a bad idea no matter what.

While bailouts of AIG were pushed by the idiots on the right as payback for political pull, the bailouts of GM were pushed by the idiots from the left for the same reasons. And, while I am certainly no fan of having my senator having NASCAR-esque stickers all over his expensive Italian suit, there is some room to play devil's advocate for those wicked corporations. Those corporations are treated by our government as a person: they are taxed and they can be sued. Yet, unlike a person, they don't get a vote. Is it no wonder, as governmental control over them morphs and grows, that they might want a say in what next year's political climate might look like?

I have an exceedingly odd way to solve this issue... and it doesn't involve putting a cap on spending at all. Instead, and stick with me here because this is just way out there weird... Instead why don't we draw up some document that limits exactly what those elected officials can do. We'll be very explicit and only give a few enumerated bullet items and then say everything else is off limits. Let's call it a Constitution. Let Goldman Sachs shell out $40 billion dollars to sway an election. If they can influence where some new post roads are built or maybe push a Senator to start an anti-pirate campaign... well, let them.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Resolutions per Minute

Ah, the new year. A time for reflection. A time for planning. A time for resolutions. I have never been much of a resolution kind of guy -- resolutions are not easy when you are perfect in every way. But this year is different. This year gets one: I resolve to spend next new year's eve with Ellie May in our very own kitchen.

There is a whole lot implied in that statement and if you follow this blog at all you can just skip ahead.

The implication, of course, is that after 3 and a half years, it is about time to move out of my unabomber tool shed and into a real honest-to-goodness house. And it's not that I begrudge a day in the shed. I am more than confident that I will look back to the pretired days in the tool shed as some of the best times. It's just that Ellie deserves her kitchen.

Again, if you have followed along, you mostly know how I got here. And in the spirit of how I got here it will also be how I plan to move forward: without debt.

That's right, the plan is to build a house in a Dave Ramsey/Thomas Stanley-esque sort of way -- cash flowing most (if not all) of it as I go. I mean to do this both to prove to myself it can be done... and also in a way as a means to prove a point: With modest income and a low consumption lifestyle, you can retire rich. And it's more about the choices you make along the way than it is anything else. If you're under 30 -- hell, if you're under 40 -- it is totally doable starting right damn now. I dare you.