More Opinion by The Springboard

THE UPRISING OF THE AMERICAN PARTY "Clearly the voters are engaged right now, at least for sure on the republican side, and what they have concluded is that the republican party has not done their job. Thus, Donald Trump gets their vote."

Thursday, October 30, 2008

EVEN GOD HIMSELF WOULD NOT BE A SOCIALIST

There was an interesting analogy I heard recently to describe one of the major flaws with the whole concept of socialism, and while I cannot recall who made it, I can recall that I found it to be profoundly accurate.

You work hard in class and you study even harder. You do everything you can to learn the materials, and as a result you receive an 'A.' But Tommy, who sits right beside you isn't such a good student as you, and he doesn't spend the time nor does he have the inclination to work hard. As a result of his lackluster performance Tommy receives a 'D.' Seeing this, the teacher thinks this is unfair, and so she says to you that you must give some of your grade to Tommy to level the playing field. It's only fair, right? Why should Tommy be disadvantaged? And why wouldn't you be willing to give up some of your higher score? After all, a 'B' or a 'C' is still a passing grade, and you've got all those extra points. You can afford to give them up so that Tommy can have his fair share.

It sounds farfetched, I'll give you that. It's not exactly apples to apples either. But the underlying message is the same. Socialism rewards those who do not deserve to be rewarded, and punishes those who do. For all of its good intention toward fairness or to the so-called leveling of the playing field, it also leaves behind no real incentive to try hard at anything. Theoretically speaking, it stands to reason that if America would have begun its economic course based on socialist ideals rather than on capitalist ones, America would be a very different place indeed. It's why we must think very long and hard about what our priorities are before we decide to elect Barack Obama to the White House. It simply can't be that the majority of Americans feel that Tommy should get a higher score at the expense of the honor student's efforts. But that's exactly what Americans will be saying if Obama gets elected.

Look, I agree that everyone indeed deserves a fair opportunity to achieve their every wish and dream. Under a capitalist system that opportunity does exist. It is a fair playing field. But opportunity is not a handout. You have to work for it. You have to be willing to take on risk. You have to act instead of talk. You have to commit as opposed to simply wanting. You have to have the guts to do whatever it takes rather than complain about what you don't have. Capitalism is a system that holds one accountable to themselves for the success or failure they ultimately attain. At the end of the day the ball is in your court. You do with it what you will.

Okay, time for a quick joke:


This guy goes to the altar one day and says to God, "I've read every page of the Bible and read a verse a day. I go to Church every single Sunday, and sometimes I even go on Wednesday. Lord, I do your bidding always, being kind and helpful and nurturing and spreading your good word. All I ask Lord is that you let me win the lottery."

Suddenly the man is awash in a most powerful, warm light, and he hears a commanding voice speak to him. "You will win the lottery, my son," the voice says. The man knew it was God.

And so he went home and waited. The first drawing went by, then the second. There was a third and then a fourth. But the man did not win the lottery as God had promised him.
So the man returned to the altar, clearly angered and confused. "Lord, I just don't get it. I've done your bidding. And I asked to win the lottery. You told me I would indeed win. Yet, Lord, I have won nothing at all."
Again the man was awash in a most powerful, warm light. The voice said to the man standing at the altar, "Buy a lottery ticket!"

That said, it is clear that even God Himself would not be a socialist. He cannot give you anything you cannot, or will not give to yourself. I'm not going to speak for the Big Guy in the Sky, but I think it's evident that He would be voting for John McCain this November 4th.

We all should consider to do the same or the word achievement will sadly become synonymous with the word charity.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

WHEN WARREN BUFFET MOVES, SO SHOULD YOU

By all accounts, Warren Buffet is an amazing man. Not only did he recently overtake the former long-standing 'richest man,' Bill Gates, as the new richest man extraordinaire, but he's made all of his money by being a marvelously apt picker of great companies in which to invest. That certainly speaks volumes for the guy's know-how when it comes to the markets. And when Warren Buffet makes a move, everyone would be wise to pay very close attention. He knows how to make money.

Of course, no one has the ability to gaze into a crystal ball and foresee the near term, and neither does Warren Buffet. He said in a recent New York Times opinion page article, "I can't predict the short-term movements of the stock market. I haven't the faintest idea as to whether stocks will be higher or lower a month—or a year—from now."

That said, he does believe that in the long haul the markets will be substantially higher long before sentiment or the economy improves. Therefore, he says "if you wait for the robins, spring will be over."

Of course he's talking about those investors who are sitting on the sidelines with their cash, waiting for signs that the market is going to get better. He's talking about those guys who are looking for that ever important bottom. But those guys are also only looking at things with the short-term aspect of the economy and stock market in mind. That's bad news, says Buffet, and strongly suggests that the value of cash will depreciate while equities will appreciate, leaving those cash-full investors holding on to less value to throw at the market once that sentiment and economy does improve, essentially doubling their woes by having missed that very important upturn in the market in the first place.

Granted, it's still important to pick fundamentally sound and strong companies. You can't just buy anything here. You have to look for those companies who can weather the storm, and who have simply been beaten down because everyone is taking a beating.

The simple truth is that in five, ten, even twenty years from now, anyone investing in this market today is going to be very happy with the value of their portfolio tomorrow. Warren Buffet sure seems to think this is true, and I think he's absolutely right. Who could possibly argue with the Oracle of Omaha on a point like that?

Historically the best time to invest in the stock market has been when everyone else is running for the door. I wrote about this to some extent in an earlier blog entitled, "Jittery investors give me the cheaps." Stocks are on a blowout clearance the likes of which we have not seen for at least a couple of decades. It's also not going to come around again any time soon. So if you miss it, it's gone.

I firmly believe that history will again repeat itself. And this, the great economic crisis of 2008, will have historically proven to have made the riches of those who dared to proceed contrary to the current sentiment.

SADLY, I THINK THE REPUBLICANS HAVE LOST THE WHITE HOUSE

Now that the debates are over, where do we go from here? It's clear as indicated by most of the polls that Obama has the lead in the race, and I fear he's actually going to win the election. But it won't be because his policies are better than John McCain's. It won't be because he is the more qualified of the two candidates. It won't be because he should have won, but because John McCain failed to connect with the American people in the way that he desperately needed to during his campaign.

Look, the established loyals weren't the people that John McCain had to speak to during the debates. It was that group of undecided voters he needed to latch onto. And on that task I think he simply failed. He was speaking to dedicated republicans and McCain loyalists during the debates and we already know the answers to the question why a John McCain presidency would be better for America! We weren't the ones that needed to be convinced.

This sad truth puts the prospects of a McCain administration in serious jeopardy, and I predict that Obama will win the White House despite it all.

What happens to the economy then is anyone's guess.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

MCCAIN NEEDS TO INVIGORATE HIS CAMPAIGN WITH FIRE AND PASSION

After the conclusion of the second of three planned presidential debates, John McCain again is trailing in the polls. Unfortunately, while he's the guy I'm rooting for, it's not that difficult to discern why exactly that is.

People are looking for charisma. They want a strong voice and they want a clear message. They see that in Barack Obama, and to a large extent it was exactly those same qualities that sparked the initial interest in Gov. Sarah Palin. She had passion and fire, and most of all you could tell. But she's not running for president.

The sad truth is that McCain has been less than clear in the debates about just exactly what his policies are, and that's the one place where most Americans will decide who they are going to vote for come November 4th. If McCain can't get his message across clearly to the American people during the debates, and if he can't muster up the fire and passion to excite the audience, it could very well be at the risk of the election. Based on what I've seen so far, I think it may actually be too late.

It's not that McCain doesn't have a plan. If you've been following McCain through his campaign websites, or listening to his prepared speeches, the plan is clear. You know what his vision for America is, and I'd argue that McCain's vision is leagues ahead of his opponent's.

But Barack has better delivery, and McCain, at times, seems to have difficulty articulating his ideas. One CNN poll has suggested that viewers of the debate felt that Barack Obama was the more intelligent candidate. Yet another said that John McCain acted more like a typical politician than his opponent, despite his message that "change is coming." These are all things that McCain has to work hard to dispel. Bush has been criticized—I think to a large extent, unfairly—for not being too smart, and certainly his policies have been highly unpopular with the majority of Americans. Many people, although I disagree, have made comparisons between McCain's and Bush's policies. Senator McCain needs very badly to quell Americans fears that he will be just another war mongering, fumbling buffoon in the White House. Not that I'm making any assertions here as to President Bush's time in office, but if you ask most people, that's what they think about the current administration true or not.

What we need to see from John McCain is something more akin to the last five minutes of his speech before the RNC at the convention. We need to see that fire and that passion, and we need to hear that message that will reinvigorate the ideals of the American dream, of patriotism and love for country.

"Stand up!" he said. "Stand up and fight!" That's exactly what McCain needs to say, and it's also what he needs to do to win this election. We know he's got it in him, but frankly the man just seems a little tired.

Friday, October 3, 2008

FOR MCCAIN-PALIN, OVER THE HILL BUT NOT QUITE THROUGH THE WOODS

The vice presidential debate, Thursday, between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden simply could not have gotten here fast enough. It was a dreadfully long wait. In fact, it was utterly agonizing. Every part of me knew that this debate undeniably would stand as a very critical one, the contents of which could inarguably throw the election in favor of the other guy. If Sarah Palin were to screw up now, that was it. We were done. Kaput.

But it wasn't going to be over until it was over. Just getting there was only half the battle. Now we had to watch it.

Turning on the TV, I was a literal bag of nerves. Now, don't get me wrong here. Of course I think that McCain made the right choice when he picked the Governor of Alaska to be his running mate. Of course I think that while not fully qualified on day one, that she certainly does have the stuff to be the president if suddenly McCain kicks the bucket. Yet still...

It's a nervousness akin to watching President Bush just before taking up the presidential podium. Or like watching Gerald Ford debark an airplane. You know that for the most part your guy is in command. But somewhere in the back drop, an ominous and looming dark shadow prevails. We've been here all too often before.

The trip. That one fatal step that would send the sitting president falling straight onto his ass.

Now, you can bet your good, hard-earned money that Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey were watching this debate with eager anticipation as well. But their nerves were steel. For them there were no doubts at all. The trip was coming. Palin was going to deliver the one-two to the punchline, and there you'd have it.

There goes our meal ticket, baby.

If the world of the debate were more like the world of the Looney Tunes, Michaels and Fey would not see Sarah Palin at all, but rather a talking, buttered slice of bread.

But it never happened. That fatal err. There were no gaffes to speak of. No requests for that lifeline as Fey would joke. No bereft stare. There was nothing at all but concise, direct, and pointed arguments in favor of the McCain-Palin ticket, and a clear sense that Palin really does have something to stifle the echoes between those two ears of hers.

For me there was a sigh of relief. A sense of victory, and of affirmation.

Now I'm just going to have to watch SNL this weekend to see what they've replaced their Sarah Palin jokes with.