Sunday, September 23, 2012

What Issues Are Important to You in This Election?

Why I Am Voting FOR Mitt Romney and Not Merely Against Obama

For some time now I have been asking many people this simple question: "For you, what are the key issues of this campaign"?

I have been delighted to hear both the willingness to engage on the subject and the wide range of issues that people consider when voting. It has been illuminating and educational.

When those I have engaged in this conversation have the respect to turn the question back on me, here is my answer....

3 Critical Crises

Our country is facing a series of crises of unprecedented magnitude. While we could engage on many, for me the focus must be on 3 critical concerns:

1)  Economic Growth
2)  the federal debt

3)  National Security


To me these three critical issues dwarf all other considerations.

Why? Because no matter your stand on education, health, social issues, etc., (all worthy of concern) no meaningful action, one way or another, can truly take place, until we get our own house in order. To be concerned about who should be allowed to marry who or how health care should be distributed, is a little bit like choosing between removing my valuables from  a safe or saving the lives of people in a house that is in flames.  Clearly, if we have time and it is safe, you want to do both. Unfortunately I am afraid that we don't have the time to even have that discussion.

When lives are at stake, the priority should be on saving lives.

Economic Growth

In this election, the first and most dangerous fire is jobs and the economy. However, it is not merely about how many people we put to work but also what kind of economic philosophy is going to drive our country going forward. Here are our choices as I see them.

Do we work to restore a commitment to prosperity and the creation of wealth, or one in which we merely put people to work?

The President’s plan is one that relies on direct funding of work with little or no regard of the source of those funds.  To be clear, I believe in the great work of teachers, firefighters, police officers, and road construction workers. As the son of a man who taught unselfishly for 50 years, I can testify to the difference that one teacher can make in the lives of a human being.

But we need to take a step back to understand that what allows for great teachers to flourish is an underlying healthy economy that generates enough wealth to support the hiring of great teachers, firefighters and police officers. Small Business, Entrepreneurs and owners of private enterprise are the creators of goods, products and services.  These products and services, when they are successful, lead to wealth creation, good jobs and the ability to provide sufficient funding for necessary public works, schools and the services that protect all of our citizens, especially the most vulnerable. So, a vibrant economy is critical, because without it, all other services, programs, and initiatives become "at risk" regardless of their merit.

Mitt Romney Has a Better Approach

Instead of directly funding the middle layers of our economy in which the government takes the role of directing the funds of the wealthy and future taxpayers to our noble teachers, firefighters, etc, Mitt Romney proposes that the role of government  should be to encourage private sector growth, by freeing up funds, primarily through a fair and level tax policy and reasonable regulation that promotes private investment, creating opportunity for wealth creation and solid jobs for all. The wealthier all of us are as citizens, the more we have available to extend the judicious use of citizen led initiatives, including but not limited to government programs to address the wide range of the social challenges we face.  Simply put, people, with the freedom to invest and take risks, will do a better job of creating a wealthier society that impacts us all than well meaning, but limited government bureaucrats.

Federal Debt Secondly we have a federal debt  that is out of control. It is irresponsible and unconscionable that we would allow the federal debt to increase to $16 trillion. This puts at risk future prosperity and limits the options that we have available for the necessary work of government. I simply will not stand by to pass along this large debt to my children and their children.  It is immoral and unfair.  It also saps our nation’s ability to meet our basic responsibilities.

How so?  With every dollar that we spend on the interest servicing our debt, we lose a dollar for other necessary programs. This means every dollar sent to China to service the debt is a dollar we don't have for social security, medicaid, healthcare, programs for education, national  security – or anything else, just name it. This is a beast that must be controlled and the most powerful way to approach this is to combine a sensible way of reigning in the spending, combined with a “pedal to the metal” fueling up of economic growth. Bear in mind that for every 1% rise in the GDP we contribute almost $700-$800 billion is added revenue for the federal government. This is why having economic growth is the number one priority for taming the federal deficit.  Having success with this first and most important issue makes the tough work of the second much easier.  Most of the pundits who are looking for the specifics in the Romney/Ryan plan and state in pontificating terms "that it does not add up", are guilty of looking at the economic world from a static perception. It does not add up because they have no faith in the power of an American economy unleashed. Imagine what would happen to our government revenues if we could coax and extra 2% RISE OUT OF THE GDP? Why it might be enough to raise even the fortunes of California.

Here, Mitt Romney along with his partner Paul Ryan have an absolute sterling record of success in managing and controlling budgets and turning around difficult situations so that success could be achieved.  Whether   you look to his work in the private sector, his volunteer work during the winter Olympics, or his unpaid leadership as Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt has a superior track record of success in turning around challenging situations and leaving many much better off.

Foreign Policy Finally our current foreign-policy is a disaster. The question isn't should we have a foreign policy that enhances the security of the United States and leads to a safer world? That is a nearly universally shared goal. The better question is, how do we best achieve that? 

Here again I think that Romney has a distinct and positive solution. First and foremost he clearly differentiates himself from the president by calling for a stronger commitment to military and defense spending. It's a sensible 20% of GDP commitment to military spending which is consistent with our level of commitment for over 40 years.  Having the interest payments on our debt going to fuel Chinese expansion of their military is unconscionable.  If we reduce the level of payments to the Chinese we can afford to update and modernize  our own military, thus  enhancing  the strength of our military force. Obama has proposed over $500 billion in cuts to the military and a reduction in our military force. Compared to Ronald Reagan’s successful foreign policy initiatives, Obama couldn't provide a more diametrically opposed philosophy.   Ronald Reagan famously demonstrated, the effectiveness of “Peace Through Strength” -- and I believe that Romney brings that same essential proven successful philosophy to his approach on foreign-policy. Drones and Special Forces alone will not provide us the security nor offer us the options that come from a military that cannot be challenged. All foreign issues are not simply “criminal actions” that necessitate a limited police like response.  Nothing is as potent as having a complete top to bottom military that is second to none.

Now some may challenge this with, “How can we afford a military buildup when we are struggling with deficits?”  A sensible question.  I respond with three points:  It is a matter of priorities: 1) Economic Growth, key to all other issues.  2) Reduce foreign interest payments with fair budgets, 3) maintain security spending @20% of GDP.  This means that we manage security spending in a manner that is affordable and makes economic growth and reduction of foreign debt payment THE critical issues in order to achieve those security goals.

This then allows the United States to project influence into dangerous parts of the world and have our influence be taken seriously. I believe that the current administration's approach puts at serious risk our standing in the world.

So there you have it, these are my top issues and reasons for voting for Mitt Romney and not necessarily against Pres. Obama.

Mitt is a man who was successful in turning around businesses with  and setting them up for sustained success.  He turned a troubled Olympics around, , guiding the 2002 Winter Olympics into one of the most successful endeavors in Olympic history.  Finally, he demonstrated his ability to be an effective leader in a government executive position.  As governor of the state of Massachusetts, he was able to bring an out-of-control budget under control, while at the same time managing the education standards of that  state  in such a way that they were envy of others.  

We must elect Mitt Romney not merely to defeat President Obama, but because he is the right man at the right time that will tackle these three most important issues in a manner that, I believe. will help turn this country .

These are my issues and concerns.  That is why I am voting for Romney and not necessarily against President Obama!

What are your issues and concerns?

Friday, September 14, 2012

Top Ten Reasons To Dislike Mitt Romney

Why Mitt Romney is Unlikeable.
A lot is being said in the media about Mitt Romney's not being "likable" or that he doesn't "relate well" to people. Frankly, we struggled to understand why. So after much research, we have come up with a Top Ten List to explain this "unlikeablility."
Top Ten Reasons To Dislike Mitt Romney:
1. Drop-dead, collar-ad handsome with gracious, statesmanlike aura. Looks like every central casting's #1 choice for Commander-in-Chief.
2. Been married to ONE woman his entire life, and has been faithful to her, including through her bouts with breast cancer and MS.
3. No scandals or skeletons in his closet. (How boring is that?)
4. Can't speak in a fake, southern, "black preacher voice" when necessary.
5. Highly intelligent. Graduated cum laude from both Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School... and by the way, his academic records are NOT sealed.
6. Doesn't smoke or drink alcohol, and has never done drugs, not even in the counter-culture age when he went to college. Too square for today's America?
7. Represents an America of "yesterday", where people believed in God, went to Church, didn't screw around, worked hard, and became a SUCCESS!
8. Has a family of five great sons....and none of them have police records or are in drug rehab. But of course, they were raised by a stay-at-home mom, and that "choice" deserves America's scorn.
9. Oh yes.....he's a MORMON. We need to be very afraid of that very strange religion that teaches its members to be clean-living, patriotic, fiscally conservative, charitable, self-reliant, and honest.
10. And one more point.....pundits say because of his wealth, he can't relate to ordinary Americans. I guess that's because he made that money opposed to marrying it or inheriting it from Dad. Apparently, he didn't understand that actually working at a job and earning your own money made you unrelatable to Americans.
My goodness, it's a strange world, isn't it?
Personal Information:

His full Name is: Willard Mitt Romney. He was Born: March 12, 1947 and is 65 years old.

His Father: George W. Romney, former Governor of the State of Michigan.

He was raised in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

He is Married to Ann Romney since 1969; they five children.

Education: B.A. from Brigham Young University, J.D. and M.B.A. from Harvard University

Religion: Mormon - The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints
Working Background: After high school, he spent 30 months in France as a Mormon missionary.

After going to both Harvard Business School and Harvard Law School simultaneously, he passed the Michigan bar exam, but never worked as an attorney.

In 1984, he co-founded Bain Capital a private equity investment firm, one of the largest such firms in the United States.

In 1994, he ran for Senator of Massachusetts and lost to Ted Kennedy.

He was President and CEO of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.

In 2002, he was elected Governor of the State of Massachusetts where he eliminated a 1.5 billion deficit.
Some Interesting Facts about Romney:

Bain Capital, starting with one small office supply store in Massachusetts, turned it into Staples; now over 2,000 stores employing 90,000 people.

Bain Capital also worked to perform the same kinds of business miracles again and again, with companies like Domino's, Sealy, Brookstone, Weather Channel, Burger King, Warner Music Group, Dollarama, Home Depot Supply and many others.

He was an unpaid volunteer campaign worker for his dad's gubernatorial campaign 1 year.

He was an unpaid intern in his dad's governor's office for eight years.

He was an unpaid bishop and state president of his church for ten years.

He was an unpaid President of the Salt Lake Olympic Committee for three years.

He took no salary and was the unpaid Governor of Massachusetts for four years.

He gave his entire inheritance from his father to charity.

Mitt Romney is one of the wealthiest self-made men in our country but has given more back to its citizens in terms of money, service and time than most men.

And in 2011 Mitt Romney gave over $4 million to charity, almost 19% of his income.... Just for comparison purposes,Obama gave 1% and Joe Biden gave $300 or .0013%.
Mitt Romney is Trustworthy:

He will show us his birth certificate

He will show us his high school and college transcripts.

He will show us his social security card.

He will show us his law degree.

He will show us his draft notice.

He will show us his medical records.

He will show us his income tax records.

He will show us he has nothing to hide.
Mitt Romney's background, experience and trustworthiness show him to be a great leader and an excellent citizen for President of the United States.
You may think that Romney may not be the best representative the Republicans could have selected. At least I know what religion he is, and that he won't desecrate the flag, bow down to foreign powers, or practice fiscal irresponsibility.
I know he has the ability to turn this financial debacle that the current regime has gotten us into. We won't like all the things necessary to recover from this debt, but someone with Romney's background can do it.
But, on the minus side, he never was a "Community Organizer", never took drugs or smoked pot, never got drunk, did not associate with communists
or terrorists, nor did he attend a church whose pastor called for God to damn the US.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I will be watching the Democratic Convention this week

Many know of my leanings politically, so it may surprise some of you to know that I will likely be watching most of the Democratic Convention this week from Charlotte with attention and a desire to glean from it what can help me make the best informed choice.

A question I have been asking a lot of people recently is “What are the issues that are important to you this election”.  It is a question I am asking with sincerity because I am convinced that people make choices because it “makes sense to them”, so whenever I encounter a point of view that doesn’t make sense to me, I first ask myself the question, “how does the world occur to this person?”  Often, I find that even when I end up disagreeing with a course of action, I am better informed about the underlying principles and goals of the other person.  This can provide a better space in which to engage in a discussion that can lead to a better decision for all.

So, why am I going to watch the Democratic Convention?

First, I believe it is our civic duty to be an informed electorate.  It is simply not enough to depend on media outlets from MSNBC to FOX News and everything in-between to filter what we should know.  It is important to listen to each party's unvarnished presentations and combine that with additional research to form a more informed decision.

Second, there is a huge difference between skeptical and cynical.  If we take the position that the parties deserve no respect out of a cynical belief that both are corrupt and unworthy of our attention, then we make ourselves victims of the process.  Certainly, it is healthy to be skeptical, to question the authenticity and validity of claims and statements, but when we take the position that everything that is put out by a party is unworthy of consideration because it is inherently false and misleading, we abdicate our rights and powers as citizens to maintain this republic as an institution that is worth preserving and has the possibility of making a difference for our lives and the lives of future generations.

Third, I believe that at the core of each of the parties, when you consider their ideals and aspirations, each has something worthy to offer.  Oversimplifying a bit, to me the Republican party stands for maximizing personal freedom and responsibility, it intends to create an environment of opportunity that allows for individuals to grow as far as their hopes, dreams, ambitions and hard work will take them and strives to keep government out of our lives as much as possible.  For me the Democratic Party stands for justice, caring for those who struggle to care for themselves and fairness for all.  It stands for a shield to those who otherwise would not have a voice in our society.  This is the magic of our two party system.  I believe that given the right questions, respecting these ideals, much good can be accomplished in our society.

Do each of the parties fall short of these ideals?  Of course!  After all they are made up of human beings, and I have no illusion that individuals, unbridled by constraint are capable of selfish, irresponsible and despicable acts.  I see no lack of evidence of examples of foolishness and intentional and unintentional exploitation on both sides of the aisle.

So it is how I listen to the convention presentations that make the difference to me.  Out of a foundation of considering the respective parties at their ideals, I listen for what is the essence of the issue.  I ask myself the following questions:

1)      What is the real problem we are trying to solve here?  For example, is the question “should we preserve Medicare as it is?” or is a better question, “How can we insure that our senior citizens who need it, have access to quality healthcare that is both sustainable and does not demand so much from our citizens that it puts at risk our economic well-being?”  I suggest that the second is the better question.

2)      What are the hard facts regarding the problem?  Are we operating out of assumptions?  Or are we making fact based informed decisions?  In too many situations, our aspirations color our thinking and we come to poor decisions based on misinformation and bias.

3)      What options (to solve the problem) should we consider?  Do the options a) solve the problem? b) Does not create new problems that exceed the value of the problem that is being solved?

4)      Finally, what are the costs of implementing the solution?  How well do we understand the total costs?  (Not merely the $ costs)  Do the costs exceed the value of the problem solved?  If they do, it would argue for no action, at this time, until better, more affordable solutions can be implemented.

So, I will be listening to this week’s convention, from a position of each party’s best ideals, working to avoid cynicism, but with a healthy skepticism to what the speakers say.  I will apply my four point process to evaluate proposals and work toward making the best decision I can to elect leaders that will address the issues in a constructive way that will lead to a better tomorrow for ourselves, our families and the next generation.

I hope you will join me in this endeavor.  We may not always agree on priorities and methods to achieve a better future, but if we work together with respect, we will move our country forward in a way that leads to a more prosperous and just society.