Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Simple Tax Plan for Everyone

OK, I terribly neglect my blog in favor of short statements and discussions. This one needs to be finished and thankfully it doesn't have to be that long. We spend so much time arguing over raising or lowering taxes and the truth is, our tax code is way to complicated for anyone to make an educated assessment of how it could be "reformed" - which in and of itself is a joke. Here's my plan, which is still somewhat a work in progress but I think I've covered most everything.

Tax "reform" is a very complicated issue which really doesn't have to be. The left has created class warfare by vilifying the rich for a tax code which favors them in many ways but also completely exempts the poor. Of the two, I guess the latter is more palatable but it is not acceptable when you consider how many people who receive benefits do nothing in return and don't try to move beyond them. The rich definitely use the system as it is to keep more of what they have but so does everyone else - this is human nature. Even my uberliberal parents deduct every single thing they can and spend hours, days, WEEKS doing so.

I am a firm believer that we have a moral obligation to take care of those truly in need but we have a moral and practical obligation to not provide long-term handouts for those who don't; otherwise we won't be in a position to take care of anyone.

We can argue about what is "fair" - is it "fair" to take more of what a rich person earns? I don't know - but I do know it is the right thing to do. It is certainly more "fair" to the country that helped create their wealth and they can indeed afford it and it is income that is not entirely taken up by basic necessities. However, paying nothing is not an option. Even if you just pay a filing have the same protection of our military and the use of our roads. Perhaps if everyone has to pay even a nominal filing fee it will encourage more people to have a stake in their government and hold it accountable for wasteful spending and tolerating fraud and abuse.

The tax code is an abomination and it is so complicated we cannot make an educated decision on anything. My solution is simple and the tax code could be reduced to a flyer:

1) Graduated, semi-flat tax
2) Little to no deductions, no loopholes
3) Everyone pays a little; the more you earn the higher your percentage
4) All income treated the same whether earned, capital gains or other
5) Similar measures for corporate taxes
6) Small national sales tax to garner revenue from the underground economy
7) Eliminate cap of FICA tax (social security contribution)
8) Eliminate or drastically downsize the IRS, saving taxpayers billions
9) Reduction in the death tax except perhaps for the VERY wealthy - it's already been taxed and is a burden on those who aren't wealthy and inherit property

As a side note, I also advocate resurrecting the WPA. If we are going to spend money supporting people who aren't working, why not have them work if they can or train them for other jobs or to go back to school? It beats having them sit around. Even many disabled people are capable of some kind of work.

Unintended consequences: CPA's and tax attorneys may have to find more productive work than helping citizens forced to negotiate with an egregious and immoral tax code. Sorry guys - the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Live long and prosper.

Any questions?

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

Attention Sports Fans: Avoid Cliches Like the Plague

It’s hard to argue too much with the success of the Dallas Mavericks over the last decade, although until 2011 we certainly saw a lot of goodness rather than greatness.   The championship seemed to turn on the light of hope that Dallas might be moving into the elite category of teams such as the Spurs.

Unfortunately things didn’t work out that way due to interest in the future free agent market and many are finding themselves realizing that hindsight is 20/20.  However for some of us, this old adage is not the cliché’ that stands out the most, as the course Mark Cuban and the team chose to take brings up at least two other time-tested truths that should have been followed:

#1:  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.  

Since when does a championship team, albeit an aging one, merit rebuilding?  Doesn’t that usually happen after there is some sort of decline?   A championship team is not just personnel –  it is a team that has chemistry making it greater than the sum of its parts…which means, assembling another group of comparable talent is no guarantee of success.

Dirk is not young but he is still playing at an MVP level and even in 2011-2012 the only downside was due to injuries.  Arguably the second most important cog in the wheel, Tyson Chandler,  was only 28 last summer.  In fact, of the most important members of the team, only Jason Kidd has shown a significant decline in production.   One would assume a solid basketball operation could not only win another championship but continue to find good veterans and draft picks year after year to keep the franchise playing at a high level without having to dump half the team chasing the two biggest free agents everyone else wants too.

Which leads me to #2 :  A bird in hand is worth two in the bush.

Quality big men are a rare commodity in this day and age and along with the reasons listed above, Tyson Chandler in particular stands out as someone you don’t let walk, particularly from a team historically devoid of even passable centers.   Defensively he is on par with Dwight Howard and while he is not as strong offensively, he is certainly solid.  Perhaps more importantly, his enthusiasm and attitude are a huge plus for any team.  Contrast that with Dwight - often regarded as selfish and a drama queen.  

Deshawn Stevenson and JJ Barea similarly brought intangibles to the team that can’t be easily replaced and even Caron Butler, though not a part of the championship run, was the Mavs’ second leading scorer prior to his injury and proceeded to score even more this season with two primary scoring options ahead of him in L.A.

Overall when you have this type of team at the pinnacle of success and a strong possibility of a repeat, throwing it away on a pipe dream of obtaining the market’s two most coveted free agents doesn’t strike me as being necessary or even good planning for the future.  The competition for signing superstars in fierce and while the chances of nabbing Deron Williams are decent it is certainly not a lock.  Meanwhile,  Dwight Howard spent the season throwing his team into emotional turmoil and ended up injured with a herniated disc, which is no small problem in the long term.   Trust me --  I have 3 of them. 

While some of the stop-gaps worked out reasonably well (Delonte West, Vince Carter) we all know the big #FAIL that no one could have imagined; however the type of anomaly that is Lamar Odom is exactly why this adage applies.  The Mavs gambled and lost.

Even now the Mavericks would do well to what can bring success without bolstering one position at the expense of every other.  The CBA will come around to bite everyone in the league sooner or later and well…I suppose patience will have to be a virtue.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Thoughts From Far West Berlin: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

Thoughts From Far West Berlin: Why Can't We All Just Get Along?: One description of Juan Williams book Muzzled: The Assault on Honest Debate reads: "Only those towing the party line—the screaming v...

Why Can't We All Just Get Along?

One description of Juan Williams book Muzzled:  The Assault on Honest Debate reads:

"Only those towing the party line—the screaming voices of the extremist—get airtime and dominate the discussion in politics and the media. Each side, liberal and conservative, preaches to a choir that revels in expressions of anger, ideology, conspiracies, and demonized opponents. The result is an absence of truth-telling and honest debate about the facts."

Politicians are bad enough but is amazing how the general public drinks their preferred Kool-Aid.  As a lifelong centrist I am continually amazed by the refusal to acknowledge common-sense compromises.  Have we completely lost our ability to see that there is rarely ONE philosophy or ONE style that ALWAYS works ALL the time?  Apparently the insanity of the political arena is seeping – or pouring - into everyday life.

The partisan rancor surrounding the Bush-Gore campaign soured me on politics for years.  How could liberals uniformly support Gore and conservatives uniformly support Bush when the issues relating to counting the votes in Florida had NOTHING to do with ideology.  "Oh well if that's what THEY want then it has to be wrong."  It's as if we're stuck in a football game and we don't care if the referee makes a bad call so long as it's in favor of OUR team – and moreover, we can't objectively evaluate the call.  

This election season may be the most worst ever and with social media, everyone feels free to speak his/her mind.  I have the unfortunate tendency to chime in much of the time.  I get called a lot of names for disagreeing with people – thankfully, most are open to civil discussion, although I've been unfriended by more than one person who made it quite clear that if I didn't agree with them 100% then I can just go away.  Others prefer to let me hang around so they can make sure everyone else knows I'm a Nazi.

I'm not a big fan of the modern far-left and our current President has his share of shortcomings.  That being said, do we really need to attack every facet of his personality just because we don't agree with his politics?   I've heard him called everything from Socialist to idiot to America hater and the list goes on.  He's got no experience, no integrity, no leadership, blah blah bah.  The  #SOTU message was remarkably centrist and advocated, among other things, dramatically increasing offshore drilling and teacher accountability (rewarding good teachers and firing bad ones), two things alone that will surely infuriate his base.   Sure the proof is in the pudding but we ought to at least give him the benefit of the doubt.  Instead, Sean Hannity immediately comes on and makes it clear that there was nothing in the speech but more of Obama's Big Government agenda.  Seriously Sean?  Were you actually LISTENING or too busy writing your critique?

There are plenty of things to criticize this President about – what is it that keeps us from sticking to what's really wrong and acknowledging anything he does that has merit other than getting Bin Laden, which is rightfully deemed to be the result of years of intelligence and pursuit by multiple administrations.

With an election coming up and multiple members of the opposition vying for the right to face-off in November, the bile from the left is even more plentiful.   I'm not going to go on about all of them, so let's talk about Mitt Romney.

I'm not sure what to think about Romney – he's had at least two conversations that screamed "douchebag" at me…so I'm not here to defend him either.  That being said, he has had a successful career, made a lot of money honestly and donated a great deal to charity.  So why all of the sudden is it a PROBLEM that he's rich?   Barack Obama is no pauper and for that matter, neither are John kerry, Al Gore or other prominent Democrats.  

There is an article on the far-left website entitled "What Romney Money Could Do for the Average Family."  Seriously?  Well, the author says he made it without lifting his "beautifully manicured fingers" and paid only the capital gains tax.   Gee, that sounds like MOST investors, which is not a crime.  Even my uberliberal parents look for tax-smart investments and why would ANYONE take a salary when they can take a capital gain?  Saving money is human nature.

The author goes on at length to describe what the rest of us could do with that kind of income – as if that is somehow relevant in contrast to what we could do with the income of say, George Soros, Michael Moore, the Kennedys, Alec Baldwin, ad nauseum.    If you have a problem with conservative financial principles that's fine – but ostracizing Romney because he is a successful business man is just plain stupid, not to mention hypocritical unless you want to say the same thing about every liberal who's made money the same way.  Somehow THAT part of the "1%" doesn't count.  

Our incessant need to go beyond finding fault with only specific aspects of someone's policies and instead, throw a blanket criticism of every aspect of their being is disheartening and doesn't bode well for the elusive idea of working together.  People need to realize that solutions are largely a matter of blending of left and right, conservative and liberal, public and private and so forth.    Maybe if we dig deep we can think beyond what we're fed by "The Liberal Mainstream Media" and "Faux News" and remember that we don't prosper by applying absolutes to everything.  That just leaves a lot of people still asking "why can't we all just get along."

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Fast Food and Inconsiderate People

I only wish I wanted to discuss something as esoteric as Pete Townshend’s Iron Man Soundtrack and the tune crooned by the late Nina Simone “Fast Food" but alas, no such luck.  I am still just a caveman.

I don’t eat huge amounts of fast food but I admit I like some of it just fine, particularly Whataburger.  The thing about Whataburger is, aside from clogging my arteries like the rest of ‘em, you have to wait.  Good “fast” food; relatively long wait.  If I wanted to wait I could go to a place that deserves to send me to an early grave, such as Fuddruckers.  But once in a while, OK.

Yet tonight inconsiderate twits, not the evil fast food giants, commit the crime.  I was in a rush to get back home to get medicine to my girlfriend and had already been to Walgreen’s.  I ran by Jack-in-the-Box next door because I needed a fizzy drink for her and frankly, I was starving as we had skipped dinner for an early show and then never ate since she wasn’t feeling well and we left the show early.

So I arrive in the drive-through lane behind 3 other cars near midnight and figure, “oh well” and place my order within a couple of minutes.  Twenty minutes later, I am still the third car in line and wondering what the hell is going on.  Meanwhile, 5-6 more cars are now behind ME, probably wondering the same thing.  I’m sure some of you are thinking, “Hey, if you choose to go through a drive-through for your cuisine, you deserve whatever you get” but I disagree.  I recently wrote about deficiencies in customer service but I haven’t yet written my blog about how OTHER CUSTOMERS can ruin everything for you…and you KNOW they can.

When I finally got to the window I saw the lady had a cast on her arm and I immediately felt badly but I commented “well, I was going to ask for your manager because clearly you guys don’t have enough help to handle the workload and that isn’t fair to YOU or the customers.”

She apologized and informed me that there were only two people working but normally that is PLENTY, I just had the great fortune of getting behind…. not one…not two…. but THREE people who went through the drive through to get 5-6 meals.   SNAP!   Now I get it.   Pinheads or Patriots?

Here’s some advice for you inconsiderate folks – and this is Round 2 tonight because I already left a nasty note for someone taking up two spaces in a crowded parking lot.  IF YOU NEED A WHOLE BUNCH OF FOOD, DON’T USE THE DRIVE THROUGH.  All it does is make EVERYONE behind you wait with NO ESCAPE.  Of course, maybe you’re too stoned and hungry to think about anyone else.   Let’s hope not.

What more is there to say but to start playing the “Real Men of Genius” theme?  It’s simple:  if you’re catering a small party and ordering the provisions through the drive-through, it isn’t going to work out very well for anyone.  I realize the choices at midnight are limited but the dining room and the grocery are but a couple of options that don’t leave the rest of us trapped in claustrophobic inescapable “fast” food lines for an eternity.  And we might not have to nominate you again for Moron of the Week.

And as for the rest of you, from the guy holding up the returns line to bring back 1/10th of a bottle of white wine at Costco which was “too bitter” (of course it appears to have been alcoholic enough to drink it anyway) to the guy arguing about the surcharge at Quiznos for extra meat because the sign didn’t tell you how much extra meat would be (you know who you are), I can only say…please for the love of God, ease on down the road.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Is Customer Service - and Common Courtesy - Nearly Dead?

Have you noticed that getting someone on the phone with your cable provider, credit card company or other public or private bureaucracy is getting more fun all the time?    Dealing with big government is not our only problem – being stonewalled is everywhere, like a national pastime.

I recently went into Garden Ridge to buy a few things and found some lamps I was interested in.  The only one left had a broken frame and when I inquired as to whether there could be any sort of discount considering it was the last one and I would have to do some repairs, I was told it was corporate policy that everything is sold "as is".  Somewhat surprised, I left the store with nothing and promptly wrote the corporate office to which I received in return – you guessed it — nothing.

A little better was my experience at Pier One.  I moved a couple of years ago and had stashed away some expired coupons for Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy and Pier One.  Knowing that BB&B always allows these I made a purchase there, got my discount and proceeded over to Old Navy where they didn't even bring it up and honored my reward certificates.  But at Pier One, the lady at the counter couldn't even put theirs into the system.  So she asked her manager, who promptly told her "uh…NO" from the back and then went out of her way to come all the way back to the sales counter and inform me in a shockingly snide tone, "Yeah, next time you really ought to bring them in sooner than two years after they expire” followed by (yes, really)  "Oh, and by the way, your NEXT reward certificates expire 3 months after you get them so that should give you plenty of time to use them."
 < SMIRK >  REALLY?   That’s HER smirking and ME thinking “REALLY??” btw.

Well, needless to say I informed them that I really didn't NEED that fireplace grate and to please forgive my ignorance about the reward certificates but perhaps I would be back at another time.  Again, I promptly contacted customer service and to their credit, they expressed dismay at the behavior of their manager and said they routinely replace reward certificates through their underwriting bank.  It took me three additional phone calls to the bank, back to a Pier One supervisor and finally a bank supervisor to get the tickets reissued but they are supposed to be here around the first of March.  Yes, I had to work at it but the future’s so bright, I gotta wear shades.  Too bad Pier One doesn’t carry them.

This is the kind of experience most people have on a day -to–day basis and often say this is a good illustration of why the big bloated government can't run anything.  But it's big business and small business too.  And it's individuals – maybe that is WHY.

My father had showrooms at the Apparel Mart in Dallas for many years.  When I was little, missing an appointment was considered very bad manners.  By the time he retired, we way overbooked his appointments know many people simply would not show up.

The other day I found a chair for sale online and contacted the owner to meet so I could look at it.  He was very friendly and agreed to call me back as soon as he dropped off his kids.  He never called me back.  So I texted him and called him and STILL he never called me back.  Finally I e-mailed him and left him a voice mail, "Listen, if you've changed your mind that's fine but I'd really appreciate the courtesy of a phone call or message from you so I know you're no longer interested in selling the chair."  NADA.  ZIP.  ZERO.  Is this the “trickle up economics” or attitude from the bottom up as opposed to the top down?  Or are we just one incredibly flawed species?

But all is not lost – yet.   I had someone come over to work on my fireplace.  They charged me very little and sent a guy who is a trained engineer but working for a friend while he tries to get back into his profession.  Courteous, helpful, thorough…everything you would wish for in every transaction you partake in.  Well – keep wishin’ – all we can do is demand more…from our own kids, from adults we deal with and from everyone we encounter.  Encourage those around you to be excellent and TELL THEM WHEN THEY ARE.  I gave those guys a five-star rating on both Yelp! and Citysearch, believe me.  And TIP generously -- especially when you are served well.  My last waitress at Bone Daddy’s (A Hooter’s-like BBQ joint) was a former microbiology major studying to be a psychotherapist.  She was cute, sure – but she was bright, delightful and I told her “You go girl!” and gave her a big fat tip – not because her navel was pierced but because she did an awesome job.

I'm not sure what has happened to most of the decorum, common courtesy, and customer service in our society.  Sometimes you're trying to get help from an agency or company who just doesn't have the resources to hire people who are knowledgeable enough (or even plentiful enough) to solve your problem.  Sometimes you're just dealing with one inconsiderate jerk who doesn't care.  Either way, it doesn't bode very well for us.  Fail.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Letter to Dad (not what you'd expect)

I grew up in a very liberal household.  My Dad grew up in the Bronx and still goes to Enstein's for free bagels even when we don't have room for any more.  My Mom is a yellow-dog Southern lady and neither one of them like Republicans.  But as I've gotten older, I've become more conservative.  I don't care much for politicians or pundits in general.  My Mom isn't very happy that I'm not as much of a Democrat as I used to be and she shuts down during disagreements.  My dad will debate but it's futile.  So, I'm going to let it be.  But I had to give it one last shot:

Dear Dad,

I really think you are failing to see the big picture and this is my last individual rant about it — from now on you can read my blog if you want to and we should stick to talking about bagels, getting rid of crap we don't need and more fun things, especially since Mom gets so pissed off at me.

Contradictions abound.  The left consistently accuses the right of being dishonest, racist and anti-poor while pro big business, etc. but tonight there was video on Hannity of several white liberal people suggesting that Clarence Thomas and his wife — "be strung up," "have his toes cut off and fed to the dog" and finally "be sent back to the fields."  If those aren't hateful and racist statements, what is?  But you will see NO outcry from the left because Thomas is a conservative and the statements were made by liberals so the mainstream media, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and all the other cretins who decry the Right as "racist" and "hateful" will say nothing.  

My point is not that the left is bad but that these people live by a double standard and at best are NO better than the people you despise on the right.  You think O'Reilly was disrespectful to the President?  What the hell are THESE people saying and why doesn't anyone on the left complain?

I would tend to agree with you that many conservative commentators tend to be a bit condescending and rude at times.  I ceased listening to Rush Limbaugh forever when he had the unbelievable indecency to mock the tears Dan Rather shed on the Letterman show following 9/11.   But the more rabid liberal commentators simply don't get national airtime on TV or radio so they tend to fly under the radar.  For whatever reason they don't seem to generate the same ratings which I totally don't understand since we're a divided country – but in contrast as much as I enjoyed Keith Olbermann he was admittedly very sarcastic and sometimes snide.

As much as I like Glenn Beck in small doses, tonight he railed on the protests in Wisconsin, comparing them to the protests in Egypt and Muslim revolutionaries and also managed to find some kids at the Wisconsin rally who had absolutely no clue why they were marching and so referred to ALL the kids as "useful idiots" and “political pawns” while Ed Shultz countered with footage of kids who knew exactly why they were protesting.  Beck of course had nothing to say  comparing HIS rallies or the Tea Party rallies to Egypt or extremists and didn't highlight the dopes who attended THOSE.  Not to be outdone, Mr. Ed was all over him about it.  This is the epitome of SPIN.  There is no doubt in my mind that some of the kids in the Wisconsin crowd were ignorant and others well informed – wouldn't we find intellectuals and idiots in ANY crowd?   It's a question of who you CHOOSE to highlight and everything being subject to interpretation.  What story  do you want to tell?    From the man on the street to a high profile commentator, some folks  have an agenda and others just tend to interpret "news" in a way that supports what they already believe which is especially understandable when what objective facts are reported are also  surrounded by commentary telling you what it means.   Subjective reasoning at its best, deliberate or otherwise.  

But Mr. Ed also tonight referred to Rush Limbaugh as "the drugster" and said the governor of Wisconsin is "cooking the books" to make things look worse than they really are and a lot more.  He also proceeded to say that President Obama needs to stop "parroting the Republican Party's talking points."  Is THAT accurate and is it treating Mr. Obama or the office of the President with respect?   His see-saw diatribe continued, saying that the Republicans are trying to steal money from public workers and the poor.  Are you KIDDING ME?   The poor and public workers have free everything paid for by you and me and public workers have the best benefits available, particularly if they are union members.  When the economy sucks, they have to make sacrifices like everyone else especially when we have NO MONEY TO PAY THEM.    Oh no, one of his guests compared them to the noble followers of Martin Luther King.  Maybe some are but ALL OF THEM?  I don't think so.

And yes, every time I hear about O'Reilly being disrespectful to President Obama (you yourself accused of interrupting the President 73 times, but who's counting -  and being hateful) I can't help but think about people like Michael Moore screaming at George Bush at the Oscars and Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks publicly insulting President Bush during their last European tour while our military men and women are risking their lives to defend out country against terrorists and regimes who wish to destroy America and Israel.    There is a lot wrong with our wars but there is also important work being done in the interest of democracy and our country's security so these comments were totally inappropriate.  The problem is when you have a preconceived notion of what you think of someone, it's hard to view them objectively.   I didn't see O'Reilly's interview and I will watch it — chances are I won't be quite as offended as you are but it isn't because I am enamored with the Right.  I don't have any respect for Rush, the mean-spirted commentary of Ann Coulter or Michael Savage and other rabid conservatives.  I just don't agree that O'Reilly is one OF them.

Everyone's perspective tends to be skewed.  The TRUTH is that yes, the rich work hard to STAY rich, powerful and keep the government out of their business while SOME of them want that same government dictate what goes on in our bedrooms.  Yes, they have money so they can buy their own stuff.  Meanwhile, the poor and union members really don't have buy squat to because somebody GIVES it all to them and makes the rest of us pay for it whether they are REALLY hardworking or just lazy slackers.  If they can work the system they get a handout and there is no real effective accountability.  Some of them really need it and others are generations of welfare families driving cars more expensive than ours.  The government is not nearly capable of discriminating and stopping the abuse, so what will eventually happen is the pendulum swings the other way and policies will be made that hurt everyone.  Those who really deserve a  leg up AND those who have EARNED what they have both will be thrown under the bus along with the ones who should have been off the dole or had their entitlements cut long ago.

And there is more.  Poor management of resources, for instance, knows no boundaries either.  It purveys the local, state and federal government as well as many big and small businesses and to no surprise - many individuals can't run their own lives — I know because I've been one of those individuals and I'm smack dab in the middle of big public and private messes.  For example,   while AISD schools are closing and 700 teachers will be laid off (including Barton Hills and one of Katie's theater teachers) thanks to AISD's horrible mismanagement and  Robin Hood taking from "the rich" and giving to "the poor," the Superintendent will keep her $280,000 salary, rumored $1000/month car allowance, supplemental life insurance policy paid for by the district (outside of the policy every AISD employee gets) and a host of other extra benefits.  Many other districts have similar outrageous scenarios.  Again, it isn't about left or right; it's about SOME people really working hard to get a fair shake along with a lot of other people fighting for power to get more than they deserve:  rich overpaid bureaucrats AND CEO's getting richer from ridiculously high salaries, lack of government interference, little to no taxes and whatever else they can get away with, countered by those on the lower end of the spectrum expecting huge entitlements so the government can take care of them instead of getting their act together and EARNING a living.  They exist along with self-made millionaires who grew up poor (like yourself) and poor people who make every effort and still come up short.  But we ALL work the system and then criticize everybody ELSE for looking out for themselves.  When someone does o so to an extreme, they should be called on it.  Otherwise, we play with the hand we're dealt because who has the time to spend hiis life trying to change public policy unless he is getting paid for it?  You yourself, again, believe in higher taxes for the rich but you and Mom and the entire family do EVERYTHING you can to milk every loophole, get tax-free investments and take advantage of whatever you can to make more money and pay less in taxes.  Is this hypocrisy or just the way things are?  For most people, you put food in front of them and they eat it, even when they aren't hungry.  It's human nature.  And America is the fattest nation on Earth.

The same contradictions can be found in Obamacare, which, for instance is supposed to help Americans who have trouble getting health insurance and mandates small businesses to offer it; yet also offers exemptions for big businesses who are big donors.     If the law stays, Pro-Tape will have to offer health insurance or pay a big penalty — but McDonald's and other huge companies as will not — and this is OBAMA'S pet project!  I''m sorry but WHO is this supposed to help again?   To be fair, labor unions are also exempt…but they already have better benefits than small business because LIKE BIG BUSINESS they throw money at the powers-that-be.  There is no rhyme or reason to it other than money talks and bullshit walks.  

People on both sides are all right about some things and they are entirely wrong about others and sometimes, they are individually simultaneously right AND wrong about the same damn things.   I don't believe there are many exclusively "liberal" or "conservative" or "public" or "private" solutions to most problems.  It takes a partnership and some degree of consensus which we aren't going to have until we're under Chinese rule.  This is reality.