Thursday, February 26, 2009

Full House?

I am really torn on the issue of D.C. getting a seat in the house. I understand that they people there are taxed and receive other rights that are given to "states" under the constitution like trial by jury, interstate rights, etc. I can understand both sides of this debate. What I don't understand, and maybe you who have lived in D.C. can help me out, is why they can't vote with Maryland? They do pay taxes and deserve to be represented.

So here are some questions that I'm hoping some people that contribute to or read the blog can help clarify.

Why does Utah need to get an extra seat in the House? Is this just for political reasons to get the votes they need? If it passes that Utah gets one seat representing the entire state I will be very disappointed. I'm actually disappointed it was even been brought up, who votes these people in?

Why is there no talk of adding two Senate seats? It seems like the inevitable next step, but I haven't heard any mention of it.

I'm counting on you law students to help me better understand this.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It's Official

"President Barack H. Obama, with a stroke of his magisterial pen, has made the $787 billion stimulus package the law of the land. Americans can now breathe a sigh of relief knowing that their current state of high financial anxiety will be shared by generations to come."


When did it happen?

On my way home the other day I heard a report on NPR about housekeepers is Southern California and how they have been effected by the economic downturn. Many of them are out of jobs because of the large amount of home foreclosures and people tightening their belts and starting to clean their own homes. It ended with an El Salvadorian housekeeper pleading to Mr. Obama to help her and her family. Her response bothered me, but sadly didn't surprise me. At what point in time did people start to think it was the responsibility of the government to help them?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Yeah for Skiing!! (and snowboarding, I guess)

Here you go Jon, I'm finally chiming in. So I've been working at Beaver Mtn. for quite some time now and I have been able to save up some passes. I would really like it if we could get together and make it a day. I might be able to get a pass for everyone, but I need to know the numbers; like Jon said, wives are invited. March 7 would work out great for me. So come on guys, what do you say? Let's go skiing! (or snowboarding or whatever).

Sorry Randy, I've been hoping that I could still be skiing in June for years; it hasn't happened in the past and I don't think it'll be happening this year. Stupid seasons.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ski Day

Heber called me the other day and suggested that we have a ski day for the Arnell Boys. You know, a reunion of sorts. He may have a few free passes but we could all split the total cost. Wives would also be invited. Speaking with Brent he said he would try to make it as well. Heber, chime in here with any details. I'm thinking the first weekend in March. USU's last b-ball home games is March 7th, so that would be fun to go to after a day on the slopes. What do you all say?

Keynesian Shmeynsian

The government "bailout" is based on the economic theory of one man, John Maynard Keynes. Keynes was not a normal man. Not abnormal like Stephen Hawking is abnormal, more abnormal like Richard Simmons is abnormal. While very odd he was still very smart understood economics, I just disagree with a lot of his theories. Keynes did a lot of study on economies during recessions and depressions, which is one of the reasons he is so looked to at this time. He said that during a recession an economy is unable to pull itself up and the only way for it to get back on its feet is help from the government. The idea is that the spending stimulates the economy and money starts to flow to others by way of jobs, which leads to pay checks which leads to spending and thus reversing the downward cycle of the recession.

There are two problems with our current situation that I can't understand how this theory would work. First is just a general problem with the theory. Keynes was right that spending by the government can reverse a recession and depression. What I haven't been able to find in his theories or have heard an explanation from the Obama administration or anyone in Congress who has voted for the bill is what will happen when the recession is over? How will this be repaid? How will we deal with the debt? There will come a time when countries will call their debts due and other countries will not be willing to loan us more. The credit card offers will stop coming. Then what? That exact scenario caused huge problems for Bolivia and Poland. Both those countries suffered from hyper inflation and depression when they couldn't borrow anymore and had too much debt and couldn't pay it off. The U.S. is heading down the same road.

The second problem causing this recession that isn't touched by any economic theory I have been able to find is the lack of trust. Nobody trusts anyone else to do the right thing. People aren't trusting banks to give them honest contracts that are just. They are worried of interest rates jumping up or the banks trying to swindle them out of their money. In return banks don't trust people to pay back their loans. Too many people of fraudulently obtained mortgages borrowed more than they should have and are willing to walk away from their home without giving any thought to the contract and promise they made to pay money on their debt. No amount of government spending is going to restore trust. That is something you just can't stimulate.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Call the White House today

This President's Day set aside some time to call the White House and tell your President how you feel about the porkulus bill. I called on Friday and really ripped into the poor guy on the comment line.

Now I realize that all they do on their end is tally up who called on what topic and if they were for or against it, but the call served as a catharsis for me if nothing else.

White House:
Comments: 202-456-1111
Switchboard: 202-456-1414

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Old 2nd Amendment post

I already posted this on my blog, but I thought it would be a start for some ranting:

I just found some notes that I scribbled out during an informal meeting I attended with Eugene Volokh, a well known constitutional law professor at UCLA and creator of the Volokh Conspiracy, when he came to lecture here at the U on the impact of the recent Supreme Court decision, DC v. Heller (which addressed the DC handgun ban.) He followed the Court's meticulous examination of the wording of the 2nd Amendment. I found one of his points very compelling-- some argue that the 2nd Amendment basically applied only to citizens serving in Militias, not ordinary citizens. Volokh pointed out that the language was a "right" to bear arms and that contemporary uses of the phrase "bear arms" referenced service in the military. His point was that military service is not a "right" in the same way as the other rights in the Bill of Rights. Citizens do not normally exert their "right" to service in the armed forces-- in those days many were actually compelled to serve. So, the "bear arms" referenced in the 2nd amendment would certainly have to be something more than what applied to those in military service only. I found this very interesting and blog-worthy