Thursday, January 24, 2008

Day 3 - Columbia and "Political" Ramblings

Psalm 106:43
Many times he delivered them, but they were bent
on rebellion and they wasted away in their sin.
John 6:12
When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples,
"Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."

Another day in the books for this project, and I managed to complete 90 again today for a three day total of 270 homes trudged around.

Since not much happened in inspection world today I thought I would ponder with you the state of America today. Wow, that's a deep subject for a short blog entry isn't it? I'd like for you to think about the following information -- come to your own conclusion. I won't need to push my opinions about this on you, I don't think. I think each reader of this blog is a smart person and will be able to come to the same conclusion I did when I thought about this.

When our forefathers began this country and the first President was elected, I would be really fascinated to have been there to experience the process. As I was watching the news tonight (this is a real luxury because at home we never get time to watch the news), I caught a story about a candidate who has managed to raise $7 million dollars in the last few weeks for their campaign (based on the notes below, I suspect this is Ron Paul). $7 million dollars???? And this is to run for a position where the salary is what, $400,000 plus benefits. The first thought running through my mind was that I had to get some new friends because I could not contemplate raising that much money. Yes, yes, I know, corporations, PACS, etc. were the contributors, but I'm still stuck on $7 million dollars to run a campaign for President. Why???

Do you think George Washington needed that much (even converted to their standards of living I'm CERTAIN this was not the way things were done back then).

We live in a country indicates it cannot provide any type of affordable, reasonably well thought out health care program for everyone, a country that is in debt, a country that has poor, has homeless, has families who are losing their homes because of the economy and we have one candidate spending $7 million (PLUS, I'm sure) to run for President?

Ok, so how many candidates are there? The Democrats seem to have three major forerunners, but cite a total of eight contenders (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Richardson, Dodd, Biden, Kucinich, Bayh, Vilsack, LaMangna and Gravel). Bayh, Biden, Dodd, Kucinich, LaMangna and Vilsack have already withdrawn. The Republicans had nine candidates (Rominey, McCain, Huckabee, Thompson, Paul, Guiliani, Hunter, Tancredo and Brownback), but Thompson, Tancredo, Brownback and Hunter have withdrawn. There are currently eight independents/Libertarian/Green party candidates on record.

In the third quarter 2007 (Sept. 30, 2007), Democratic and Republican candidates reported contributions of $124 million dollars during one quarter.

Two interesting factoids here:
  • On November 5, 2007, the Ron Paul campaign raised over $4.3 million. That amount is the largest amount collected on a single day by any Republican candidate, and the record for largest amount of on-line fund raising in a single day ever in U.S. history.
  • Ron Paul then beat his own record on December 16, 2007 by raising over $6.03 million in 24 hours, the most ever raised in one day by any candidate for president in U.S. history.
Wikipedia cites the following information about campaign costs:

The reported cost of campaigning for President has increased significantly in recent years. One source reported that if the costs for both Democratic and Republican campaigns are added together (for the Presidential primary election, general election, and the political conventions) the costs have more than doubled in only eight years ($448.9 million in 1996, $649.5 million in 2000, and $1.01 billion in 2004).

In January 2007, Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner estimated that the 2008 race will be a "$1 billion election," and that to be "taken seriously," a candidate needed to raise at least $100 million by the end of 2007. Although he has said that he will not be running for president, published reports indicate that billionaire and New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been considering a presidential bid with $1 billion of his own fortune to finance it. Should Bloomberg decide to run as an independent, he would not need to campaign in the primary elections or participate in the conventions, greatly reducing both the necessary length and cost of his campaign.

With the increase in money, the public financing system funded by the presidential election campaign fund checkoff has not been used by many candidates. So far, John McCain, Tom Tancredo, John Edwards, Chris Dodd, and Joe Biden have qualified for and elected to take public funds in the primary. Other major candidates have eschewed the low amount of spending permitted and have chosen not to participate.

Hmmmm.... now, let's compare the national debt (source U.S. National Debt Clock):

The Outstanding Public Debt as of 26 Jan 2008 is: $9,197,277,578,595. The estimated population of the United States is 304,182,617 so each citizen's share of this debt is $30,236.04. The National Debt has continued to increase an average of $1.43 billion per day since September 29, 2006.

Can you not understand why other countries do not like the "spoiled" Americans? We are in debt OVER OUR HEADS and yet the potential leaders of the country are spending billions of dollars for ELECTION CAMPAIGNS????

And then, because our economy is recessing, we are going to stimulate the economy by sending out tax checks to everyone so they will spend it and kick start the economy. So, here's how I'm seeing this -- we are going to add more debt to the national debt to give money to all of us that we will in turn spend on things like catching up our mortgage payments and buying groceries (these are the things that was presented by Congress) and this will stimulate the economy to get us out of a recession. *sigh* I think it's much like if our family paid a credit card payment with another credit card. It brings to mind the saying of "Robbing Peter to pay Paul".

Maybe my mind is just too small to understand all of this, but I'm appalled that we, as a country, continue to live like there is no tomorrow, spending money like it truly grows on trees, buying bigger and bigger homes, bigger and bigger cars, throwing away so much garbage that there is no place to put it, eating so much food that we can't even appreciate the blessing of it, buying, buying, buying, feeling "entitled" to these things (after all, we deserve it, don't we?) and continuing to allow people to starve, be homeless, die from lack of insurance, lose their jobs, lose their homes and more -- here in our own country. This doesn't even account for the millions of people in foreign countries who die from diseases that have been eradicated years ago with vaccines but they can't afford the medications, people who do not have food to eat or clean water to drink, people who live on the streets or in, at best, shacks, in filth. And we "deserve it". Why don't they? What did we do to "deserve" to be born here in America, as opposed to there in their country?

Why should it cost so much to run for President? I'm guessing it doesn't have to. But until we, as a country get over our sense of entitlement and open our eyes to what is going on in our world and begin, each of us, to make small sacrifices and changes to our lifestyles, it will continue and it will get worse. Do we need150 channels of television? Do we need designer clothes? Do we need all the things we have in our homes? Or did we just want them? I'm struggling with this same battle. There is a lot of want in me and absolutely no need.

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