Category Archives: America

Standing Rock: Energy independence vs. environmental safety

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Wars over oil replaced by drilling at home
America got involved in a huge war in Iraq primarily over control of oil. America also wanted the dollar to still be used by Iraq instead of the Euro, so the war was in essence a bullying session at great expense to both nations. Third, the war cmbined with the Afghanistan invasion also was about improving our military position near Iran. All three of these political objectives make logical sense. But, fighting huge wars for such small goals seems corrupt and not worth it. The solution is to create our own energy at home. And since our nation is so large, especially when you include Alaska, there are lots of energy opportunities.

Drilling at home weakens the Arabs
America and Canada started finding new and improved ways to drill for oil in our own lands without depending on the Middle-Easterners which was a great idea. Many of the Gulf countries are going under financially now that America is in competition with them for oil production as the cost of oil has gone down. Weakening countries engaged in terrorism or engaged in supporting others do terrorism seems like a reasonable national goal.

But, fracking & offshore drilling are bad for mother earth
The problem is that America doesn’t know when to stop exploiting the land for resources. Moderate drilling for oil in safe places makes sense. But, what about offshore drilling? That can create spills that are impossible to completely clean up that are devastating to the environment. And fracking is much worse as it pollutes ground water and does long term damage to whatever region it is done in. Many people claim that fracking increases the rate of cancer many times over. I personally don’t know what the truth is, but creating environmentally unsafe conditions for temporary profit are extremely bad in the long run. America needs to find clean and safe ways to lead the world of energy.

Standing Rock Protests
Right now, the native folks at Standing Rock are protesting a pipeline that is going to go over a river. They know that if there is damage to the pipe sometime in the future, that the environmental consequences will be hard to control. Additionally, since the rivers from North Dakota feed into the Mississippi river, if you pollute one river, you pollute the entire network of rivers. The claims about long-term environmental risk made at Standing Rock make sense — and our government should start listening if they want a planet that their children can inherit.

Worldwide environmental standards are necessary
The solution to the problem seems to be three-fold. First as a nation and as a planet, we need clearly defined environmental standards and goals. There should ideally be a worldwide government in charge of environmental safety to regulate countries like… well… all of us. Brazil is cutting down their rainforest, America is fracking, and China is polluting. We all need to wake up and regulate.

The second solution is to find alternatives to drilling. Solar energy is currently more expensive than oil, but doesn’t have to continue to be. If more research was put into the efficient construction of solar energy farms, it would be more cost effective, and with no damage to the environment. Additionally, energy from corn based ethanol are also solutions. The problem is that the price of food is so high, that ethanol can not be a competitive alternative to oil. The only way to reduce the price of food staples is to reduce the population of the planet — but, reducing the population would also create a reduction in oil prices. Do we have to wait until the oil is almost all used up before we find alternative energy resources?

Last, having more efficient ways of using fuel seems to make sense. Hybrid cars are helping people save energy. Van-pooling and ride sharing are becoming more popular these days as well. More efficient models for distributing goods nationwide would be yet another way to save on fuel. More efficient train and truck systems of transportation would be part of that solution.

I hope we can meet our energy needs without destroying our planet. The bigger issue is getting the people in power as well as regular folks to see that our environment is one of the most important issues of the day — and if it doesn’t get solved, we’ll all be very very sorry.

Will there be an outsourcing tax with Trump?

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Trump is such an interesting character. On the one hand he does business around the world. On the other hand, he caters to frustrated lower-middle class white guys in America who want to keep jobs in America! Can we have it both ways? And what does Trump really believe beneath the hype?

I believe that Trump is likely to increase or create import taxes from certain countries. China is going to be at the top of the list. GM is a company popular with American workers who say the word, “aMERican” with the emphasis on the “MER.” The irony is that GM is all over China getting rock bottom prices on infrastructure and labor during China’s economic recession. Meanwhile Apple who is all over the world taking advantage of regional tax breaks is going to pay big time when Trump clamps down on their manufacturing which is heavily in China. An import tax will harm both these companies in a huge way. I would not be surprised if stocks go down by 25% for both of them.

Meanwhile, the outsourcing business is unique as it is a service. It is harder to track who is doing outsourcing when you look at smaller companies unless the government monitors their Paypal accounts (and it does for tax purposes.) You can see which Paypal payment goes overseas. If the government puts a tax on outsourcing, it might not be so bad. A 20% tax would mean that providers would have to lower their rates by 10-15% to stay in business. Some would go out of business, while others would lower their rates. The customer on the American front would not have to pay that much more after all is said and done.

Personally, I prefer a free and open market. That way the world can capitalize on labor wherever and whenever it can be found. Land for manufacturing might be cheaper in Mozambique than Minneapolis and companies can take advantage of that. But, Trump is sure to fight for some outsourcing taxes. So, don’t cry. You won’t be out of business if it happens — it will only hurt!

On a brighter note, unemployment is so low in America, that prices for services here are bound to rise making it easier for overseas competitors to stay afloat until we have a bad recession.

2020 to 2030 — will outsourcing survive a period of war and depression?

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I have always been worried about the future, prophesies, floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, and wars. Revelation warns of this, my spiritual Master warns of the same. Most religions say something bad is going to happen in the world to make room for a new society that is spiritually based. The problem is that most of the world has to get wiped out in the mean time. I run a business and if you read my blog chances are you do too. We need to stay afloat in good times as well as bad.

The world is sort of falling apart. Europe is flailing with a huge influx of Middle-Eastern immigrants who have caused a lot of grief to the locals. Russia is ready to take over neighboring countries that used to be part of its empire. Saudi Arabia and the Emirates are going broke and selling oil dirt cheap just to prolong their demise. China is drowning in its own pollution and having a bad economic downturn. The only country doing well these days seems to be The USA, and to some extent perhaps Brazil, Australia and a few others. Some of the African nations are becoming more economically strong which is nice, but they have a long way to go.

Additionaly, we are looking at world-wide bankruptcies that will be simultaneous. Too many countries have borrowed more than they can ever pay back, and when these countries crash all at once, the future of the world economy is unsure. We might create a system to forgive debts or create a world-wide currency. But, in reality, if someone lent you money, you have to pay them back in one form or another.

The question is, how will outsourcing companies survive a global depression or war. If you are in Hyderabad and the world goes to hell, will you still be able to sell your programming and call center services? And what about us here in the states? Will we be safe hiring someone in India when the Pakistanis will eventually invade and kill everybody? What will happen to my code if my programmer Praveen gets his head cut off by invading Mahmood? What if the economy in the states gets so bad we actually do our own programming work? Then India will be out of business! Or worse, what if I hire a nice Indian Muslim in the United States, and then our government cracks down on Muslims and he gets sent back to Delhi? What happens to my code?

As you can see, I think of the worst. Hope for the best, plan for the worst are words of wisdom. None of us can control the outcome of the world, but we can prepare by having savings. That way if we have to work for far less than we are used to, we still survive.

If the Lakota people would network with those outside their tribe and outsource!

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We normally think of India and the Philipines when we think of outsourcing. But, we have local people who suffer from horrible unemployment. Native American tribes normally live out in the middle of nowhere. They are far from cities, far from work, and just don’t have a lot to do.

What if someone created a call center in or near the Lakota nation? The cost of labor is not high, and lots of people are willing to work. The problem is that their level of experience has not been developed.

People who live in the middle of nowhere need businesses that thrive in the condition of being nowhere. Remote is the keyword here. Call centers, data entry facilities, farming, RV camps, and internet businesses can do quite well while being nowhere. In fact, call centers do better when nowhere because the cost of land is low. Another interesting factor is that the stress level at a call center would be less if people worked near the ocean or in the middle of nowhere. It is more relaxing there and the relaxing attributes of the landscape counteract the stress of the job.

Cottage industries should be encouraged for those living in or near native reservations. It is not easy or cost-effective to get outside capital. But, creating mini-industries at home or in a small office space or industrial space doing basic tasks for a low price make perfect sense to get a business off the ground.

But, what about networking? In a greater sense, Native Americans are isolated partly because of their geography. But, also do to a lack of social networking. You could live near others, but if there is no way to connect to them, you would be socially isolated. Lakota people are regaining their culture these days as they came close to losing their language. They need to network with people from their tribe or other tribes living outside of the reservation for cultural and business activities. They also need to network with mixed-race people who probably feel left out. Additionally, Native Americans need to network with people who used to be Native American in a past life but were reincarnated into Hindus, whites, or some other community. The more connected you are, the more ideas will flow, and the more opportunities have the chance to be offered to you. By living in isolation, you can’t receive anything because nobody even knows you are there.

The Lakota language also needs to recover which is an entirely different topic. But, I’ll include it here since it is sentimental to me even though I only know one word of the language. Language is learned best by people who are three or four years old. Since so few people speak the Lakota language, those few thousand linguistic human assets should be allocated to spending lots of time with the 3-7 year old folks and speak only the Lakota language. Then, to maintain the language, work environments on the reservation need to be set up where only that language is spoken. But, that is the whole problem that I have been addressing in this article. There isn’t a strong work culture. Two hundred years ago, there was 100% employment in the Lakota tribe as men, women, and children all were assigned a task. After the buffalo were killed off and the US government took over most of the land, the Lakota traditional way of life was demolished, and the people were not able to adapt to other types of lifestyles.

My recommendation — adapt!
Culture never stays the same, and neither do languages, souls, or anthing else. The only thing that is constant is change. As living organisms, we adapt or die out. Since native culture is so sentimental to many of us, it is very sad to see their culture die out. So, the solution is to adapt!

The old way of life involved living in connection to buffalo. Food, clothing, shelter, and tools all came from parts of the buffalo. In older times when human populations were lower and more natural, buffalos roamed wild. Those days are over, but buffalos can still be farmed in free-range style farming. I feel that the Lakota people should focus on being ranchers and breeding their sacred animal that they feel they descended from (perhaps they mean spiritually descended from.)

I feel that cottage industries in outsoucing specialties could save the Lakota people too. After all, Lakotas speak English as their first language, and that is something call centers in foreign countries cannot capitalize on as their English is not native!

Next, traditional arts are very popular world-wide, yet Native Americans don’t normally have good marketing skills. The skills of production are there, but there is always some Lebanese guy who makes a killing on marketing native goods. Why can’t native people learn to sell their own goods in an efficient way? Good marketing skills could open up huge markets for pottery, beads, paintings, and other native art which could create tremendous employment opportunities. Additionally, adaptations on traditional arts such as native mouse pads, sofas with Native Americna apolstery, website development using native art, and anything else you can think of.

Finally, there are other businesses that would work well out in the middle of nowhere. RV Parks, tortilla factories, cultural classes, clothing manufacturing, solar panel manufacturing, wind power manufacturing, and more. I discourage the casino business as it is not holistic and leads to addition and unhealthy outcomes which reflect poorly spiritually on the community.

Do we still have freedom of speech?

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America was founded based on people having certain freedoms, one of which being freedom of speech. But, our freedom of speech is so inhibited, that we kind of don’t have freedom of speech.

If you talk about anything religious or political, people might tell you to be quiet, or accuse you of being sexist, racing or politically incorrect just for mentioning certain religions names or expressing any type of idea.

The next issue I have is that there are different rules for black people than there are for whites. Black people can use offensive racial (racist) language and get away with it while whites cannot say anything without being accused. Is it fair? Whites are always accused of being racist whether they are racist or not while Asians and Hispanics can disciminate all day long and nobody bats an eyelash. So, not only do we not have freedom of speech, but whites are held to very high and unfair standards while other rates don’t seem to be held to any standard.

In China on the other hand, people have big mouths. They make all types of remarks about anything and everything that would be very offensive if translated into English. They just blurt out what they think since nobody is antagonizing them for opening their mouths. The irony behind the iron curtain is that they have more freedom of speech than we do simply because their people are more tolerant than “freedom loving” Americans.

You can say what you like in China — just don’t criticize the government too much or they will strike back.

So, we are fighting for freedom in Iraq when we don’t have freedom here at home. How pathetic. If I decide I want to live in a country with freedom of speech, I’m moving to China.

Going to India was good preparation for what the USA became

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My Maiden Voyage to India
I went to India several times in the last thirteen years. My maiden voyage was back in 2002. I had some bizarre experiences with people who kept asking the same question again and again and again. I kept saying no, no, no, no, no. It was like dealing with people who had part of their brain shut down. What I came to realize is that India is a land of extremes. There are people who are extremely smart, and many who are completely clueless. There are very moral people, and others who don’t have any morals. There are many different religions and castes who normally have almost nothing to do with each other. We see India as having “a culture” while in reality it is more like a patchwork of opposite societies forced to live with each other.

Sorry, Meter Broken
What bothered me most about India was that there was so much negligence and backwardsness almost everywhere. I have never been to Punjab, however, I understand that is the most organized part of India. This is because there are many Sikhs there, and the Sikhs are a very meticulous people who also have a very military attitude. 90% of the Indian army consists of Sikhs who are local to Haryana and Punjab. But, in the rest of India there are leaky faucets, piles of bricks left for months by the side of the road, police who take bribes, broken things of all descriptions, potholes, people who don’t drive in lanes, rickshaw drivers who have rigged or broken meters, and other types of nonsense.

What the U.S. Became
America has never been a perfect country, and we have never been as meticulous as the Japanese about keeping things clean or fixed. However, I have noticed that things have gone downhill in the last twenty years. There is more negligence and Unreliability here. When I hire American programmers, not one is able to meet simple deadlines or get back to me. In my apartment complex, the cement used to repair the sidewalk seems to break within a few weeks of its installation. We have to make multiple requests for the sink to be fixed. When I had my car repaired at Toyota for a noise, they fixed one noise and then didn’t double check the car for additional noises which resulted in me having to bring the car back and get yet another free rental car from them for a few days. We both lost a lot of time and money because they didn’t check their work — which reminds me of most of the programmers I hire.

India in 2002 Prepared Me for America in 2015
Since India prepared me for what I term “abject negligence,” I am more tolerant of it. However, if you run a business, you should make sure that you don’t do anything negligent and that you tolerate very little negligence on the part of your workers, especially those higher up. If you choose to not do certain tasks which are less valuable in your priority list, that is fine. However, if you neglect critical tasks, the consciousness of neglect will mirror itself into the others who you deal with. I have seen this spiritual principle manifest itself in real life so many times that I look for it to happen and try to analyze how the other person’s behavior is similar to mine. In my opinion, India is on its way slowly up and America is on its way down. I am not convinced that America will ever become as backwards as India and I doubt that India will ever become as nice as America. In the long run I believe that China will run the world and the rest of us will be their servants!

America should capitalize on its attractiveness

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America is a country with a defective immigration system. We are too tight about letting people in our country, yet too incompetent about controlling illegal immigration. We have a porous border with Mexico that lets in illegal workers, drug dealers, kidnappers, and even ISIS members! What America doesn’t understand is that we cannot compete internationally without having a very flexible labor force. That means we need a large supply of people who are willing to work here and we need to let them get quick work visas on an as-needed basis. That way we control who comes in rather than being flooded with whomever happens to be desperate at that point in time. We need to optimize by hiring the best workers for particular tasks out of huge pools of applicants rather than just taking what the cat dragged in.

The thing America forgets is that many people want to come to America — and that is a huge asset. Can you imagine what America would be like if it were not so attractive? Nobody would want to come here. If we were short of programmers, we wouldn’t be able to get any. If we were short of farm laborers, nobody would come. America is a beautiful place, yet we don’t take advantage of what we have. We are analogous to a hot girl who makes it impossible for rich guys to meet her without filling out endless forms. Sure, the girl ends up with a boyfriend, but not the best one she could get. If she would spend a little more time analyzing the opportunities and make it a little easier for those opportune people to meet her, she could get a much better boyfriend.

America lets immigrants in and then after a long time offers them citizenship. I feel this is the wrong idea. We give citizenship to people who are here to work, and who are not here to be Americans. I feel that citizenship should be exclusively for people who want to be American for richer or for poorer while the others should come on renewable 5 year work visas perhaps without their families. The minute their kids get used to America, if there is a problem, it is no longer easy to send them back!

If parts of America could be designed specifically to entice foreigners to come and work, that might really stimulate the economy. We’d have the high tech staff needed for our big technical companies to grow, and we’d have the cheap labor to be able to compete with China and El Salvador! I’m very in favor of special economic zones to be created in America which would not only be beautiful, but cater to the cultural and linguistic needs of people from particular other countries.

Since America makes importing workers such a headache, many companies are heading overseas. That makes sense. If Donald Trump runs for president, perhaps he will put a 35% tax on outsourcing, but maybe he will let foreign workers come here to work. That would be a wonderful twist on fate. We’ll wait and see.

Unions — good for the American worker, or not!

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In the old days in America, there were mean company bosses who forced people to work overtime. People were not given paid sick leave, and were not given medical insurance. Workers had to work in dangerous and unpleasant conditions. Sounds like today’s China, but with a different accent.

The solution to this problem was the creation of unions. Unions hit their peak membership in 1954 with almost 35% of the labor force as members. Many felt this was “good” for American labor as it got people “fair” wages. I feel otherwise. I feel that unions helped particular groups of workers get higher than market value wages. They were able to do this by virtually holding expensive and immobile (not movable) infrastructure hostage. It would be too expensive to relocate, so companies were forced to negotiate with very angry, destructive and unreasonable unions. Throughout history, many union workers provoked many arguments and disputes with management, often when it was not useful or practical to do so. The Japanese philosophy of work is for management and labor to be in harmony. Americans wanted no such part of this harmony. So, what is the result of an unwillingness to develop harmony and balance?

The unions in America were strongest in the Northeast, Midwest and California. The Northeast lost a lot of manufacturing, but retained its economy by excelling in other sectors such as hi-tech. California also did well in hi-tech, but also in agriculture, movie business, and much more. But, the Midwest was not able to recover from a huge blow to its manufacturing sector. The fact was that the inflated union wages were just far more than what companies would have to pay down South or in foreign countries. So, many manufacturers with union contracts just packed up and left which meant a huge expense of creating new factories in new places.

Additionally, it seems that unions never really had the interests of workers as a whole at heart, but only some workers. Puerto Ricans and blacks were often left out of unions. Younger workers were not always given immediate membership in unions either. Since there were limited unionized jobs at above market rates, there were more people who wanted to be part of unions than there were jobs.

As with life, power seems to come and go, especially to those who abuse it. The workers in the Midwest abused their power by asking for more than a market wage. They were enjoying a lavish lifestyle while other workers doing similar work in America and overseas were working for peanuts. The result of this abuse of the power they created is evident if you drive through the Midwest and see all of the abandoned buildings.

On a brighter note, due to technological advances, and lower labor costs due to increased immigration, America can now once again compete with China for manufacturing. China’s increasing land and labor costs also make it easier for us to compete.

The bottom line is that unions never helped the American worker, but temporarily helped a few who had mafia type control of overpriced jobs. For the rest of the workers, their lives were horrible. I will say that our government did somewhat of a good job creating labor standards that protected workers from dangerous or abusive situations. On the other hand, the government made it so hard on businesses by forcing them to provide health insurance and other benefits that many companies are forced to go overseas where laws are more relaxed. The old story is told again, that when you push too hard, there is a devastating reaction. And that reaction is called outsourcing. But, it’s a blessing if you live in a country called India. So, look at it from the other side of the coin.

I think the point of this article besides how great outsourcing is (if you are in Asia) is that when you push markets out of balance by force, they will bounce back one way or another. And when that bouncing happens, it can be a disaster leaving bombed out buildings that used to be plants, millions unemployed, and worse! Until next time!

A new citizenship program for the USA (proposed)

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It is so annoying what foreigners have to go through to get their green cards and citizenship here in the USA. It is a pain in the neck, and just not fair. America needs lots of new blood, and there is no reason why the immigration process shouldn’t be a whole lot easier. On the converse side, I am upset that the USA gives citizenship to people who refuse to blend in at all. Sure, it is natural that we prefer to socialize with people from our own group. But, does that mean immigrants and their children should have a strictly enforced policy of excluding people who are not like them? America lets in many people who refuse to interact with others. Koreans are typical examples of this. Even their English speaking children often refuse to socialize with anyone who is not Korean or Korean-American. If America accepts them, why can’t they accept America and those who live here who don’t look exactly like them?

Immigration for work vs. immigration for joining our nation
Most people come to the United States as immigrants seeking a brighter future, or perhaps as refugees. Some are looking for money, some are coming to escape the social restrictions of their motherlands, while others come because they like it here and like the people. I feel that someone who comes to America, lives here for 20 years, gets their citizenship, and still calls themselves “Chinese” — not “Chinese-American,” but just “Chinese” should not be given American citizenship. American citizenship should be reserved for people who really want to be American in my opinion. Sure, it is okay if they still love the culture from their country of origin. That is not a problem. But, if they don’t identify themselves as a part of a whole, then they are more of an invader than an immigrant. Think about it!

Immigration for work — a new system
For those who don’t want to join our happy family, we still need them and they still need us. It makes sense to create special economic zones in strategically located parts of the USA. I am not smart enough to figure out where these areas should be. But, these special areas should allow anyone from anywhere in the world to come and work with no special paperwork. It would be a little like Dubai, except that people would be allowed to come for a few months to look for work. In Dubai, you often have to already have a job to be allowed in the country. There would be no minimum wage, so we could compete economically with foreign countries. There would be very low taxes to attract international businesses. These zones would be a place where it is easy to get started, and anyone can make it. There would be schools for each language group in the zone as well. Immigrants to this area would not be given citizenship no matter how long they stayed in the zone. However, as long as they were working, they could stay. Their children would be schooled in the language of the motherland because they would be expected to leave after they were done with however long they wanted to work.

America loves to let workers in our country. We love giving them citizenship after a while too. The problem is that their children are not always as good workers as their immigrant parents who risked their lives to come here. Their children and grandchildren often have significantly higher crime rates as well. The economic zone idea solves this problem. Since nobody is given citizenship there, the minute you or your children cause trouble — out you go. No paying $45,000 per year of tax payer money to keep someone locked up. Let their home country worry about that instead.

Immigration for joining our nation
When my ancestors came to the United States, they mostly already knew English and joined mainstream society right away. Immigrants coming these days are more like invaders. They come in huge groups, they continue speaking their language, and generally don’t want anything to do with anyone who is not part of their group. Not everybody is like this, but the majority are: and it is un-American! If immigrants want to come to join our wonderful nation, they should want to fit in to a particular extent. When I went to India, Taiwan, France, and other countries, I didn’t hide in a cultural bubble. I mixed with whomever I met and behaved like a member of humanity. I propose having an assimilation program

The assimilation program (proposed)
Since most immigrants are extremely opposed to having anything to do with assimilated Americans, by requiring an assimilation program, those not interested in mingling with the locals would weed themselves out and not come here. But, for those who really do want to interact with “real” Americans (whatever that means,) here is my idea. Every American is a descendant of immigrants. The oldest group of Americans are Native Americans. But, even the natives came from Siberia or perhaps on a boat from the Pacific Islands at one point in time. The next oldest group of Americans are those that came in the 16 or 1700’s such as many of the Blacks and Southern Whites. The Hispanics with ancestry in New Mexico also have a four or five hundred year lineage in the land which is currently the United States. I would define someone who is purely American as someone having all of their ancestors being here for at least seven generations, and having their cultural identification being purely associated with the United States. Even fourth generation Americans still have a moderate connection with their countries of origin.

The assimilation program would have friendship programs between immigrants and Americans with long lineages in the United States. The purpose of this would be to fully integrate people into mainstream society before they were given citizenship instead of waiting for five or six generations to have their descendants integrate. Participants might live with families, or engage in regular social activities. I’m not sure how the program would find Americans who would want to socialize with strangers without being paid. But, if people could be paired with others who they liked a lot, then the program might be very successful. The program might also involved living in communities where there was no presence of the immigrant’s national group, making it a place where they would have to assimilate fast. Language training would be another important facet of the program.

On the other hand, after several years of this program, the Americans would probably become expert at making tamales and egg chow foon. It is unclear who would be assimilating to whom, unless the people chosen for the program were Americans with absolutely no interest in foreign cultures — but, why would such people volunteer for such a program if they were so closed to foreign culture? A paradox is unveiled.

What if there were no IRS and we paid taxes to our state instead?

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Imagine the USA with no IRS. Do we really need them?
The states can collect taxes and could collect self-employment tax or social security tax too. The states could hand over money to the central government monthly based on the size of their population as well. Wouldn’t it be a lot simpler to only pay tax to one entity? Your accounting procedure would be a lot easier.

If your state charged too much tax, you could move to another state. You might not want to move, but at least you would have the right. If you have had trouble with the IRS, you have nowhere to run. Even if you leave the USA, if you have assets here or are planning to come back, you cannot hide.

I am a person who likes choices. I prefer having good choices, but bad choices are better than no choices. I like the idea of having states to choose from. Better yet, imagine that the USA was comprised of 400 states, each with a different philosophy. You could have a state for solar energy lovers. Another for organic food fanatics. You could have a vegan state, and a pot smoking state. This way you would have the right to live with people who think like you do. For those who are Republicans, they would probably have a lot of states, but there could be different breeds of Republican states. Even if you lived in a state that wasn’t exactly your cup of tea, you could sleep soundly knowing that you had the choice to move to a state that suited your fancy!

With all of this crazy behavior in congress, I am beginning to think that my idea of the states being the sole entity collecting taxes might come to fruition. Our Federal government could be dissolved any day now. I think that realistically, it won’t last more than another 10 years. Sad, but with this crushing debt, they will default. On the other hand, what if the idea of globalism comes into play? Then we would all be citizens of the world! Hmmm. That sounds really scary.

(1) What if we paid taxes only to our state, but not to the Federal Government?

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Bringing jobs back to America: How ’bout the South Y’all?

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The safest city in the USA & the most dangerous city in Mexico

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It is an irony that the safest city in the USA and the most dangerous city in Mexico are right across a river from each other. El Paso is the most crime-free city in the USA. If you disregard the fact that many of the locals are the worst drivers in the country, it is a very safe place. On the other hand Ciudad Juarez is right across the river from downtown El Paso and is the most dangerous city in Mexico. Prostitutes are routinely murdered, and the cartels do plenty of shootings there as well.

It is interesting to note that many companies outsource to Mexico. Mexico does not have the cheapest manufacturing costs, but they do have the fastest turnaround for truck shipments to destinations in the USA. The average trucking time from central Mexico to the focal point of the continental United States is 17 hours. If you want to get goods from China, Malaysia, or Costa Rica to the United States, they have to be put on a truck, then a boat, then unloaded, then customs, then a train, then a truck, and it could take months to deliver your goods.

Mexico is a great outsourcing destination for manufacturing and not bad for call centers either. If only they could control their horrible drug war. Mexico could become a much more popular spot for future manufacturing operations, resorts and more. It is sad that the government is not in control of their own country. Personally, I feel that Mexico was governed more efficiently by the Aztecs — although their culture was based on routine slaughter of neighboring tribes who they sought to conquest! I guess some things never change.

(1) El Paso, the safest city the US is right across the river from Ciudad Juarez, the most dangerous city in Mexico!
(2) If you disregard the fact that half the residents have road rage, El Paso is the safest city in the USA!
(3) The Aztec culture was based on routine slaughters. Sounds like the cartel culture!
(4) Safest USA city is across from most dangerous Mexico city. Yin-ville and Yang-ville.
(5) Mexico is good for call centers. If only they’d call an end to the drug war.

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How the U.S. Can Survive as a Nation:

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The way things are going, it looks as if the U.S. will either default on its debt because of disagreements in Congress or will keep raising its debt ceiling, eventually getting to the point where it can no longer pay–sometime in the next twelve years. Putting aside late fees and annual fees, the minimum payments will be more than the government can afford, and the U.S. government will be forced to default.

If the government does default, creditors will be unwilling to lend money to the U.S. Also, all of the money U.S. citizens put into Social Security, for example, they may never see again, and all kinds of federal funding (schools, prisons, veterans’ pensions) might not exist. The citizens of the U.S. will suffer to a greater or lesser extent depending on how effectively the government deals with the situation. One way or another, the issues being decided because of the U.S. government shutdown are not light and transient, and will affect us positively or devastatingly for the rest of our lives.

If the government folds or becomes insolvent, there will not be a national military, Social Security, or national food safety and regulatory agencies: the states will have to fend for themselves. Larger states like California or Texas will probably be able to manage, but how will smaller states survive? What would we use for money, and how would “the Fed” be regulated? There are so many disturbing variables. The states might still band together to create military alliances or military organizations, but we might have 50 separate states with no official central government forcing them to act as a whole. The U.S. might not be a nation as it is today.

The Alternative?

The U.S. government learns to live within its means, and, over three decades, we could balance the budget, pay off all our debts, and develop savings. To accomplish this, the government would need to become more of a regulatory agency and less of a financier.

The three biggest national expenses for the U.S.– the military, prisons, and the debt:

The military would have to be cut by 80%; the U.S. might have a military base in Kuwait and Cuba, but other foreign bases need to be dismantled or drastically reduced. The military should be for defense purposes, not to control the world. If countries are willing to pay a portion of the expense to have a U.S. military base in their country, fine. The U.S. would have only what is necessary to protect itself and its interests. This way, the U.S. could afford to pay off its debt–currently $16,749, 632, 792,721.39.

In the military, everyone would be a volunteer, and everyone would be paid based on what they were willing to do. What is a human life worth? It depends on the market rate. If some were willing to go to the front lines in a hot war, for example, those enlisted men would get paid more. Furthermore, a country would have to pay the U.S. for the U.S. to have a military base in that country (with the exception of Kuwait, for example). If they want protection–let them pay for it, at least a percentage of the cost. Other countries would pay for the U.S. military–if they wanted America’s help.

U.S. Prisons

According to a 2012 CBS news report, the United States accounts for “about 5 percent of the world’s population, but we have 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.” Over 2.4 million people are in prison in the U.S.–despite the fact that the crime rate has dropped by over 40% in the last 20 years. Why so many in prison? A response to drug use and urban violence in the 1970’s. Does the current prison system decrease the drug problem and make our society safe enough to justify its existence? The cost? Between $40,000 and $60,000 per year per inmate.

In order to justify the high costs of their existence, prisons should be financially self-sustaining, and would need to create significant income through manufacturing, for example. The inmates would work long days and would be expected to create value; prisoners would have to pay for their own keep as well as some of the legal and court costs involved in apprehending and convicting them. The cost of prisons would also have to be reduced so that the taxpayers would not be responsible for the burden. How luxurious the prisons would be would depend on how much work the prisoners accomplish. Prisons would also have programs to help prisoners with their mental and spiritual problems, as well as educational programs, so that prisoners could in fact be a more valuable part of the U.S. workforce.

A Related Issue: Drugs

Have prisons solved the drug problem, and are they cost-effective? Maybe not. Instead, there could be drug colonies for people who use marijuana, with severe penalties for users who move outside these colonies. The purchase of marijuana (and all drugs) would be regulated by the state or the federal government, and the sale of drugs would raise money. Each of these communities would have its own tax base, police, jails…and could make it as expensive a community as its residents want.

In fact, there could be a large state–one big state for hardcore drug users–with a wall around it, with guards, for serious drug users–and this state would have to handle its own financial issues. If they had crime, they would have to be motivated to make things better. This state would eventually oust, incarcerate, or put to death the most violent or mentally ill drug users. Since they might be on a tight budget (being self-sustaining), they might resort to more quick and dirty ways of resolving serious problems involving crime.

These communities might in fact serve to resolve drug problems and do away with heavy drug use–because it would cost the drug users too much money to run the community. This solution would almost do away with prisons, and would most likely solve the drug problems in a few years, while making money because the state or federal government would make a profit from the sale of the drugs. This alone would give the U.S. a great deal of money with which to pay off the national debt. By the way–the penalty for using drugs outside this area would be severe.


We should spend more on education for those who demonstrate that they are learning–students who show promise, according to national standardized tests–so that when we spend money on education, we get a return on that investment. Students should be judged only on how much improvement they make during a certain time period. We should reward for improvement, and not on the basis of race or an unusually high starting level of accomplishment or aptitude.

Having the states take a larger responsibility for education would reduce the financial burden on the federal government. Yet whatever money the federal government did put in would be based on return on investment (ROI): each student would have to improve, based on yearly test scores, and any government funding or scholarships would be distributed accordingly. Private foundations and colleges in each state could choose to fund students according to other criteria.

A Good Start

With our military, prison, and education budgets reduced, we could focus on paying the debt. Our expenditures would already be down by 80%.

The Post Office, National Parks, Social Security,
and the Oil Companies

The Post Office would also have to be self-sustaining; it can charge whatever it needs to sustain itself, and would have to raise its prices.

The national parks would also have to be self-sustaining, and would have to charge enough to stay open. Each park would have to be as self-sustaining as possible, with additional monies coming from donations.

Social Security, in the long-run, would be replaced by mandatory individual retirement accounts. It’s cleaner, and each person takes responsibility for himself; you know what you have to retire on. The money is at least in your name–whereas if you let the government invest it, the money might disappear if the government becomes insolvent. Then, we monitor those organizations that are monitoring the funds.

Instead of oil companies lobbying the government, the oil companies could pay the government so that their rigs are protected overseas. The oil companies would pay based on how much protection they want and for how long. The U.S. government would use volunteers (mercenaries) to protect its investment.

And what about war?

Given the reduction in military bases and military spending, what happens, for example, if two countries in the Middle East go to war and use nuclear weapons?
It’s their business.

The U.S. could invade countries that have developed nuclear weapons, and could be involved in quick wars to disable nuclear programs, but would not maintain a presence in those countries for years and years.

We are not in charge of the world, and if other countries choose to end the world–we will do better to provide a good example, rather than maintaining a military presence everywhere and dispensing huge amounts of aid.

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