Big Government

Beware Of Uncle Sam?

Since the time we were subjects of the English monarchy, plenty of Americans haven’t been big fans of government.

Particularly fans of Big Government.

From the folks over at the Gallup website Monday:

Almost half of Americans, 49%, say the federal government poses “an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens,” similar to what was found in previous surveys conducted over the last five years. When this question was first asked in 2003, less than a third of Americans held this attitude

Overall, Americans who agree that the government is an immediate threat tend to respond with very general complaints echoing the theme that the federal government is too big and too powerful, and that it has too many laws. They also cite nonspecific allegations that the government violates freedoms and civil liberties, and that there is too much government in people’s private lives.

The most frequently mentioned specific threats involve gun control laws and violations of the Second Amendment to the Constitution…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On September 9, the U.K.-headquartered internet-based market research firm YouGov reported on their website that based on recent research:

29% of Americans could imagine a situation in which they would support the military seizing control of the federal government…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That percentage grew under the following scenario:

The proportion of the country that would support a military takeover increases when people are asked whether they would hypothetically support the military stepping in to take control from a civilian government which is beginning to violate the constitution. 43% of Americans would support the military stepping in while 29% would be opposed…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Long-time readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember me blogging about a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind survey asking about a Second American Revolution that was conducted in April 2013. I wrote on May 3, 2013:

Armed revolution in the United States.

I heard it being talked about yesterday in the mainstream media after the release of some new poll findings, so I decided to go to the source this morning. From a Fairleigh Dickinson University PublicMind news release Wednesday, concerning their most recent national survey of 863 registered U.S. voters from April 22 through April 28, 2013:

The poll finds that 29 percent of Americans think that an armed revolution in order to protect liberties might be necessary in the next few years, with another five percent unsure. However, these beliefs are conditional on party. Just 18 percent of Democrats think an armed revolution may be necessary, as opposed to 44 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of independents…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Funny how that “29 percent” number pops up again.

Interesting times we’re living in, huh?

Two things come to mind here:

• Uncle Sam knows darn well about these polls/surveys
• Such views could be the real reason behind all those military training exercises in America’s big cities lately

Or maybe not.

One last point. As an American citizen and former civil servant at the federal level of government, I’ve always taken pride in our (relatively) peaceful transfer of political power since the founding of the Republic.

Here’s hoping that continues to be the case.

You can read that Gallup piece in its entirety on their website here. The same goes for that YouGov article here. Insightful and disturbing stuff.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Study: Illinois Government Bloated With 6,963 Local Governing Bodies

Any Illinois readers think there’s way too much government out there these days?

Based on findings from a recent analysis by a Chicago-based non-partisan research organization that works “to make Illinois first in economic outlook and job creation,” the “Land of Lincoln” is the “Land of Too Much Government.”

From the Illinois Policy Institute’s November 2013 research report entitled, “Too much government: Illinois’ thousands of local government”:

Illinois has the most units of local government of any state in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 6,963 local governments, Illinois beats its nearest competitor by more than 1,800. Texas is No. 2 with 5,147 local governments.

The average Illinoisan resides in an area that has at least six layers of local government including county, township, municipality, both a primary and secondary level school district, and a community college district.

It is also quite common to have additional layers of government such as libraries, park districts, forest preserves, fire protection, sanitation, transportation and even mosquito abatement districts. These special districts add unnecessary layers of local government and bureaucracy, leading to expensive duplication of public services.

The result is higher costs for Illinoisans. Local government is primarily financed through local property taxes, and Illinois’ high number of governments contributes to the state having the second-highest property tax rates in the nation.

Multiple layers of government also make it harder for citizens to actively participate in the democratic process, which can lead to public corruption. Illinois is the third-most corrupt state in the country.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

An insightful study for Illinoisans, which can be found on the Illinois Policy Institute’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, December 5th, 2013 Corruption, Government, Taxes No Comments

Back To Blogging

It’s back to work over here at Survival And Prosperity this dreary Wednesday morning in the Chicagoland area. I had planned on publishing new material Monday, but decided to extend my “vacation” out a little bit longer. I apologize if you were checking for new posts earlier this week.

During my time away from the blog, I was able to attend to a number of tasks that needed my immediate attention. But it wasn’t “all work and no play.” I got the chance to spend a couple of days at my family’s place in southeast Wisconsin near the end of the break. The weather was terrific, the locally-brewed beer plentiful, and the Northern Pike and Largemouth Bass were biting. My cousin and I managed to haul in some really nice-sized fish. Which is why I extended my stay longer than originally planned.

Two things come to mind now when thinking about that long weekend in Wisconsin:

First, I noticed the gun section at the local hardware store had a lot more ammunition on the shelves from the last time I was there. Another sign the ammo shortage is easing up?

Second, it was nice to “Escape to Wisconsin” and breathe in some “freedom.” In my opinion, Wisconsin is heading in the right direction. Illinois… not so much. As each day goes by, the “Land of Lincoln” continues to be transformed into a Big Government Nanny State, highlighted by more/higher taxes, more/higher fees, and increasing controls forced upon the populace. Sadly enough, many of my neighbors seem to be okay with this. Especially here in the Chicago area.

Coupled with the huge financial woes facing the City of Chicago, Cook County, and State of Illinois- an ugly ending looks to be in store for us. At the very least, Illinoisans will be busting their wallets out en masse to deal with the debt debacle.

And while our nice new house in the Chicago suburbs that I worked on quite a bit the last two weeks is fine and all, I continue to warn my girlfriend that our future permanent residence looks to be outside of the state.

It’s a real shame it might have to come to that.

Back to our regularly-scheduled blogging. And wondering if incompetency trumps political theater in causing a national debt default in the coming hours.

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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Peter Schiff Warns The State Of The Union Is ‘A Complete Disaster’

On Tuesday evening, February 12, U.S. President Barack Obama gave his State of the Union address. Two days later on Valentine’s Day, Peter Schiff, the CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital who correctly-predicted the Panic of ’08 and housing crash, critiqued President Obama’s speech. From The Schiff Report YouTube video blog:

Today is Valentine’s Day, although it felt like Valentine’s Day two days ago when President Obama was delivering his State of the Union address. Because really what it amounted to was a Valentine’s gift to the nation where the President tries to buy our affections, or are votes, by promising more free stuff. Something for nothing. By promising that more government can solve our economic problems. Now the President describes the state of the Union as strong. Of course all presidents, when they make that annual pilgrimage up to the Capitol, they always tell us the Union is “sound.” That the Union is “strong.” That’s what George Bush said in 2007, just before the financial crisis, the economic meltdown. They always tell us how great it is, even though we’re on the edge of a precipice.

The fact of the matter is, the Union is anything but strong. It’s a complete disaster. We are staring at an economic crisis much graver than the financial crisis of 2008. Yet, what does President Obama have to say? Basically, nothing. Everything is fine, all we need is a little more government…

It will be interesting to listen to President Obama’s State of the Union address in 2014. Whether or not the economic collapse that I’m forecasting has happened before then still remains to be seen. But I know one thing for sure- we’ll be a year closer to it if it hasn’t happened. And if it hasn’t happened by 2014, it will probably be just around the corner.


“The Real State of the Union- 2013”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Labor Minister: France ‘Is A Totally Bankrupt State’

Speaking of France, how is the Socialist-led European state faring these days?

Not so great, it seems.

In fact, a pretty reliable source claims they’re bankrupt.

Graham Ruddick reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Monday:

Michel Sapin made the gaffe in a radio interview, which left French President Francois Hollande battling to undo the potential reputational damage.

“There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,” Mr Sapin said. “That is why we had to put a deficit reduction plan in place, and nothing should make us turn away from that objective.”

The comments came as President Hollande attempts to improve the image of the French economy after pledging to reduce the country’s deficit by cutting spending by €60bn (£51.5bn) over the next five years and increasing taxes by €20bn.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

As I mentioned earlier tonight, some claim President Obama desires French-style Socialism for the United States.

If France’s economy truly is in shambles, and the U.S. President really wants to emulate them, well- here’s a glimpse of what Americans could expect. From an Investor’s Business Daily editorial yesterday:

Fresh after May 2012’s election, President Francois Hollande wasted no time raising government spending, hiking tax rates to 75% on those above $1.3 million in income, hiring 60,000 bureaucrats, cutting the retirement age for public pensions to 60 and undoing fiscal reforms by his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy. During his campaign, Hollande declared himself “the enemy of finance.” France today proves it…

Public debt has soared from 68% of GDP in 2008 to 90% in 2012, joblessness has hit 11%, and GDP growth of its $2.8 trillion economy is projected in 2013 at zero.

Tax hikes have driven the richest taxpayers from the country, making the $43 billion budget hole unlikely to be plugged by Hollande’s $26 billion tax hike. Meanwhile, a squeeze on business creates rising numbers of unemployed, who in turn demand state services.

Time will tell how this will all work out for the Socialists in France. But if history rhymes once again, keep in mind something former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher said in a 1976 interview:

Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money. It’s quite a characteristic of them. They then start to nationalise everything, and people just do not like more and more nationalisation, and they’re now trying to control everything by other means. They’re progressively reducing the choice available to ordinary people.

Any of this sound familiar?

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Ruddick, Graham. “France ‘totally bankrupt’, says labour minister Michel Sapin.” The Telegraph. 28 Jan. 2013. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9832845/France-totally-bankrupt-says-labour-minister-Michel-Sapin.html). 30 Jan. 2013.

“Like The Bourbons, France’s Socialists Have Learned Nothing, Forgotten Nothing.” Investor’s Business Daily. 29 Jan. 2013. (http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/012913-642388-france-socialist-model-is-same-old-recipe-for-bankruptcy.htm). 30 Jan. 2013.

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Romney 3, Obama 0

Last night I watched the last in a series of U.S. Presidential debates between former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and the sitting President Barack Obama.

Once again, the incumbent came out swinging. However, despite it sounding once again like the audience was in his corner, President Obama lost.

More so than in the second debate, if you ask me.

An analyst on one of the TV stations covering the debate said it best when she pointed out that Obama was, in effect, debating himself. Since his Republican challenger lacked significant foreign policy experience (the supposed focus of last night’s exchange), it was the incumbent’s record in this area over the past four years that came under scrutiny.

And plenty of dedicated observers of U.S. foreign policy- myself included- will tell you that it’s in shambles.

Particularly in the Middle East.

As I see it, the Obama administration, in its attempt to tone-down what it perceives as an overly-aggressive U.S. foreign policy under the Republicans, has:

Not deterred Iran from advancing towards a nuclear weapon. Regular readers of this blog know that I believe the Islamic Republic of Iran continues to take advantage of proposed “talks” and other delays to continue work on such a weapon. Notwithstanding military action, they will get a nuke. The prospect of having one is just too tempting. Pop one or two of these over the U.S., and we’ll have a real problem on our hands.

Not left a stable regime in place in Iraq. I predict a real power vacuum here in the coming years, with a number of internal and external actors vying for ultimate control of the geopolitically-important failed state and its resources.

Made a big blunder in announcing the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Afghanistan in 2014. Nothing like giving an enemy a timetable to work with. I suspect Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and their allies will throw everything they’ve got at our men and women in uniform over there as the end of 2014 draws closer, knowing full-well they need only sustain such intensity until the announced exit date. Then what? Attack us on our home soil, possibly. Some terrorism experts have suggested one reason why Al-Qaeda hasn’t launched a massive operation against the United States mainland since 9/11 is because they’ve figured out it’s simply easier to kill scores of Americans on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Remember, their stated goal is 4 million Americans dead. Back to being another failed state down the road.

Alienated our ally Israel. President Obama seems to see Israel- like past U.S. foreign policy- as being too aggressive. And it doesn’t appear the sitting President doesn’t care too much for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu either- despite Vice President Biden and all that “Bibi” talk from the Vice Presidential debate. Consider the following:

November 3, 2011- Several media outlets reported an open-mic incident where then French President Nicolas Sarkozy told his American counterpart, “Netanyahu, I can’t stand him. He’s a liar.” Obama reportedly responded with, “You are sick of him, but I have to work with him every day.”

September 11, 2012- The White House said President Obama would not meet Prime Minister Netanyahu during a U.S. visit later that month. A number of media outlets suggested the Israeli leader was being spurned.

September 12, 2012- President Obama was taped for the CBS show 60 Minutes. From an exchange with Steve Kroft:

KROFT: You’re—you’re saying you don’t feel any pressure from Prime Minister Netanyahu in the middle of a campaign to try and get you to change your policy and draw a line in the sand? You don’t feel any pressure?

OBAMA: When it comes to our national security decisions, any pressure that I feel is simply to do what’s right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that’s out there.

Israeli concern over an Iranian nuke is “noise?”

Don’t even get me started on Libya and the deaths of 4 Americans, including an ambassador.

How the Obama administration has handled the Middle East is indicative of U.S. foreign policy as a whole.

Weak.

Worse yet, our adversaries recognize it and actively exploit it.

It shouldn’t be too much of surprise U.S. foreign policy has come to this. After all, Democrats aren’t really known to be big on foreign affairs. If anything, they seem to look at it as an annoyance.

Whenever I think of foreign policy in the Clinton years, two words come to mind.

Cruise missiles.

These days, perhaps it can reduced to just one word.

Drones.

Mitt Romney did a good job at pointing out the poor foreign policy record of the Obama administration.

But, truth be told, most Americans don’t care too much about international affairs.

The Republican challenger won this last debate not by talking about foreign policy- as was the intended focus- but by leading the discussion back to President Obama’s equally-dismal record on the economy.

This is what I meant when I said “more so than in the second debate, if you ask me” earlier in this post.

Romney kept hammering away at Obama’s domestic record as it pertains to take-home pay, unemployment, food stamps, government overreach, over-regulation, small-business woes, trillion dollar deficits, the $16 trillion national debt, the list goes on, and all the way to the end.

It was circling back to the Chicago Democrat’s domestic record these past four years that won the Republican challenger the debate.

In fact, all three debates.

Whether this will translate into a White House win come November 6 remains to be seen.

Regrettably, when it comes to that financial crash I predict is in store for us, I doubt a Romney win will make much of a difference at this point in the game. Economic pain is a certainty. Still, if he’s elected President of the Unites States and implements a sustained, meaningful program of fiscal responsibility, our financial “reckoning day” may not be as devastating as I suspect it would be should the nation continue on its current path.

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Peter Schiff: Obama ‘A Socialist At Heart’

One last mention of Peter Schiff before I move on. Last Friday RT interviewed Schiff, in which the “crash prophet” talked about the political aspect of our current economic woes and what he sees down the line. From the exchange:

The truth is, Obama is merely continuing and expanding the failed policies of George Bush. And unless Romney understands that, and articulates it- you know, I don’t think there’s much hope that a President Romney is going to alter our fate either. I think it’s going to be more of the same. I do believe that Romney will be less bad than Obama, and I think that we have a better chance of when the next crisis hits- when the real crash comes- I think it’s better to have Romney at the helm than Obama. Because I think Romney at least philosophically is in favor of free markets and capitalism- even if he doesn’t completely understand how they work. I think Obama is philosophically opposed to it. I think he’s a socialist at heart, and he likes it when he believes the free market is failing, because he sees that as an excuse for more government, to try and reshape America in this socialist utopia that lives in the fantasy of his mind.

Accusing the U.S. president of being a “socialist at heart” on RT, “the first Russian 24/7 English-language news channel which brings the Russian view on global news.” Kind of funny.

Of more interest to this blog, the author of the recently-released The Real Crash: America’s Coming Bankruptcy— How to Save Yourself and Your Countryicon talked about the perception of the U.S. dollar as a “safe haven.” From the interview:

I think that the dollar and the Treasury market, when it comes to safe havens, are going to be the Facebook of safe havens, because a lot of people wanted to buy Facebook on the IPO. They were really excited about it. They thought it was great. But once they owned it, and they took a look at what they owned, and they looked at the fundamentals, they realized it wasn’t so great. And they wanted to get out. The same thing is going to happen to people who are buying dollars, because they think it’s a safe haven from European debt.

America is more deeply in debt than Europe, and less likely to repay without resorting to massive money printing.

And if you think there’s going to be a lot of money printing, that is not a reason to want to own Treasuries or dollars. That is a reason to get as far away from the U.S. dollar and the Treasury market as you can.


“Peter Schiff RT America Interview – 01 – 06 – 2012”
YouTube Video

(Editor’s notes: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein; info added to “Crash Prophets” page)

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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