Thursday, March 29, 2012

Breaking News: Mitt Romney Has Money

This was a huge story yesterday afternoon on CNN. Mitt Romney is putting a car elevator in the garage of his beach house. It's yet another example of Mitt Romney's almost cartoonish wealth. He might as well build a vault for all his gold coins and swim around in it Scrooge McDuck style.

While CNN's on-air personalities repeatedly stated that Romney need not "apologize" for his wealth, they repeatedly stated how things like this car elevator make Romney "out of touch" with regular, currently struggling, working class Americans. We don't have car lifts in our garages. Car lifts are for people who have so many cars, that their garage isn't big enough for all of them.

Romney is using the car elevator as part of the $12 million renovation of his beach house in La Jolla. The idea of the car elevator is to allow for multiple cars to be stored in a garage without expanding the ground level footprint of the garage.

I love how CNN, Politico, and most other media outlets feel that because Romney has more money than us "average folk" that he'll have trouble connecting with us. Especially in this harsh economic climate. People are struggling to fill their cars with gasoline and here's Rich Uncle Romney building elevators for his cars.

It's funny how JFK, despite being obscenely rich and coming from a rich old family, isn't seen as "disconnected" from the average masses of America.

FDR came from an extremely wealthy family (two wealthy families, actually), went to Groton, then Harvard, and yet somehow was able to take office in a harsh economic climate and connect with the "average people."

And how connected is Barack Obama to the 99%? His net worth is estimated between $2.8 and $11.8 million dollars.

Is there a feeling of disconnection between the average American and Mitt Romney? Yes! But there's also a feeling of disconnection between many average Americans and Barack Obama. And it has nothing to do with wealth, or background, or race.

It's about ideas. It's about dreams.

Mitt Romney doesn't just have money, he has a shitload of money.

And I want that. Millions of average Americans will be buying MegaMillions tickets this week so we can feel connected to the likes of Mitt Romney. I want an elevator for all my cars. I want to be comfortable. I want to take care of my friends and family. I want to travel. I want money.

I don't want a President to understand me, to feel connected with me. When was the last President that was truly connected with the American people? They're all borderline schizophrenics.

And these Liberal intellectuals on Politico and Huffington Post are so insulting with their "average folk" rhetoric. All the so-called "average" people in this country are different, we're all separate individuals. We all have different dreams, different desires, different ideas. I'm offended at being called "average." I'm offended by the notion that these media folk think that millions of Americans are so simple and function with a simplistic herd mentality.

It's true, Mitt Romney would not understand what your feet feel like and what your brain feels like after working a 12 hour security shift for $9/hour. Neither would Barack Obama. And I don't care.

I don't want a President to sympathize with me and coddle me and make me feel like I'm being understood and acknowledged. I want someone who can Run this country, who can help put me in the best position to help myself, who can give me the opportunity to achieve what I feel like I'm capable of achieving.

I don't care about car elevators, I want a President who can elevate America. And despite his absurd wealth, his stilted awkwardness, and his constant cheerfulness, I feel like that person is Mitt Romney.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Chevy Volt vs. Common Sense

"It was nice. I’ll bet it drives real good. And five years from now when I’m not president anymore, I’ll buy one and drive it myself."
-Barack Obama, on the Chevrolet Volt

The President made this declaration just a few days before GM halted production of the Volt. It's simply not selling as well as anticipated. Dealers' inventories are backing up as production outstrips demand for Chevy's "plug-in hybrid electric vehicle" (PHEV).

Despite the $7,500 tax credit given to Volt buyers (Obama has proposed increasing that to $10,000), only 9,623 of the cars have been sold in North America through February 2012. 3,600 Volts are sitting around dealership lots, waiting like unwanted puppies to be adopted and taken to a good home. GM had once planned to produce 45,000 Volts in 2012. That is no longer their goal. (Source)

Why would you buy a Volt? To save money on gas? Even with the $7,500 tax credit it would take the average driver 9 to 12 years to save enough money on gas to recover the price difference between the Volt and the equivalent Chevy Cruze. 9 years with gas at $5/gallon, 12 years with gas at $4/gallon. (Source) And by then, the battery will have lost 20 to 30 percent of its range. (Source) A new battery costs $14,000. So by the time the Volt "pays for itself," it needs a new battery. And after three years, Kelly Blue Book predicts that used Volts will be worth about $17,000. (Source)

You'll need to buy a $14,000 battery to propel your car worth $17,000.

So you don't save money. Depending on where your house gets electricity from, you might not do much to help the environment (coal=electricity+pollution). And while you'll use less oil from the Middle East, you'll be buying a battery made from Chinese lithium and rare earth elements. You're trading dependency on one foreign market for dependency on another.

The only reason to buy a Volt is so you can call yourself a Volt driver. Which is fine. Plenty of people do that with Corvettes, Ferraris, Porches, BMWs, and so on. They like to make a statement with the vehicle they drive. Cars aren't just functional, they have style and personality. They're like clothes. So if people want to "wear" a Volt as a statement about themselves, good for them. All cars should make a statement. That's why we get to choose what color we want our cars to be.

Unfortunately, the actual people who NEED to save money at the pumps cannot afford a Volt. Not in the short-term with its high upfront cost, not in the long run with its depreciation and need to replace the battery. Right now the tax-credits are only helping the rich people who buy Volts as part of their automotive wardrobe.

And isn't the President against giving tax breaks to the wealthy?

Obama wanted 1 million PHEVs like the Volt on the roads of America by 2015. But common sense is against the Volt. It's a statement-vehicle for wealthy environmentalists, not a fuel-efficient people's car. And if you have to pay people $10,000 to buy a car, doesn't that speak volumes about the lack of demand for it?

PHEV technology is the future. It's not the present. That's why nobody is buying it, nor should they. The technology simply isn't good enough yet for Volts to be a successful consumer good.

The Volt is also an example as to why Government shouldn't guide an Economy. It's one thing to fund research into better battery technology with taxpayer money. It's another thing to hand $7,500 to someone because they want a Volt, or to give UAW-GM workers a job just because they make a Volt.

Instead of investing taxpayer money into encouraging people to buy a product they don't want, the Government should use that money to help the product develop into something that people would want. Spend some money to research military applications of electrically propelled vehicles (they'd be quieter, and you wouldn't need to constantly resupply them with oil-based fuels).

Consumers control markets. Not products. Not Governments. The idea of Government controlling the economy disturbs me. Government struggles to run itself, let alone the automotive industry. But Obama and his ilk think that they know better than the free market.

But they don't. Just look at the money-saving, environmentally friendly car they want us to buy. It's called the Volt and it doesn't save you money or help the environment.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Santorum for Holy Roman Emperor

I'm Conservative, but I've been telling people that if Newt Gingrich won the GOP nomination, I'd not only vote for Obama, but I'd also campaign for him. My fear of Santorum's America is even more extreme than that. If he were to be elected, I'd secede from the Union. I'd drive up the Maine coastline in a pickup truck (a Toyota Hilux of course, unlike All-American Mitt Romney and his poorly built Chevy) pile about 10 big rocks in the bed, drive into the sea, and wherever the waterline crested above the cab of the Toyota, that's where I'd start my new Nation: The Hilux Republic.

New citizens would be welcome, provided they bring their own rocks to live on. And as far as immigration policies go, I think that's better than anyone else's. Our national anthem would be "We Built This City" by Starship.

One fundamental principle of this fledgling Republic/tax haven would be the separation of Church and State.

That's an idea I learned from the ancient history of that legendary lost nation called the USA. That mythical land of Freedom. The USA's Founding Fathers formed a government that incorporated this principle. Or so the legends tell us. They believed that Religious bodies and Government bodies should not be connected. Government shouldn't make laws about religion, and Religion shouldn't govern.

These mythical Founding Fathers, like myself, learned from other nations' histories. England's most tumultuous error was when it violently debated with itself whether to be Protestant or Catholic or Miscellaneous. Think of all the wars that have been waged with religion underpinning the call-to-arms. Think of all the horrible things that have occurred when Religious authority and Government authority were embodied in the same person/organization. The Spanish Inquisition, for instance. The Salem Witch Trials. The Middle East.

The history isn't all ancient. It's current. Look at Iran. The Taliban. These are examples of the great things that can be accomplished when Church and State aren't separated.

Frankly, I do not want to live in a country that doesn't believe in the separation of Church and State. And I don't want to live in a country that has a President who believes stuff like this:

I don't just mean that I'll be upset if he's President. I'm upset that Obama is President. I'd be upset if Gingrich were President. But I still want to live here. If, however, Santorum were President, then I would no longer want to live in this country. I'd establish Hiluxia off the Maine coast.

I don't think he understands what separation of Church and State truly means. It's not that Government needs to be strictly atheistic. Nor does it mean that religion shouldn't be a part of the lives and morals of those who govern. It means that religious institutions shouldn't govern. It also means that government shouldn't govern religious institutions.

Santorum is a shell-shocked veteran of the War on Religion. A bit crazy, very paranoid, and blinded by irrational Fear. He's afraid he'll somehow lose his Religion if gay people get married. And Religion isn't just a faith for Santorum, it's his moral high ground, it's his identity. "I am religious, therefore I'm a good person."

Separation of Church and State is meant to protect religion from the Government. We all have the right to our own religious beliefs. What's holy to one faith might be sinful to another. So keeping religious institutions out of government actually protects all religious institutions. That's why the separation goes both ways and religion cannot govern.

It's easy to state such philosophies likes the ones in the last paragraph, but there's a vast grey area in this issue. Laws are morally phrased, and very similar to religious edicts. For example, it's against the law to steal. It's also against the 8th Commandment. Murder. Rape. Lying under oath. These are all sins and also all crimes.

Then again, the 7th Commandment forbids adultery. But adultery is not a crime (in most states at least, and where it is a crime, it's an antiquated law that is rarely prosecuted). Adultery is wrong, if you ask me, but it's not illegal.

Stealing is an infringement on another person's rights. That's why it's illegal. Not because it's morally wrong.

Legend has it that the US Government was once concerned only with protecting the rights of its citizens. The Kingdom of Hiluxiastan will be established on this principle too.

Some people, like Rick Santorum, seem to think that the purpose of Government is to determine and declare God-given rights, not protect them. He thinks Government should tell people what they should and shouldn't do. He thinks Government should determine what is moral and what isn't moral, based on what he thinks God wants. He is disgusted by the notion of a secular Government.

I want to see his Birth Certificate. He claims to be from Virginia but his ideas sound oddly Iranian.

In the Hilux States of America, we will re-establish the separation of Church and State because making laws based on individual personal morals is unwise. Laws are for protecting rights, not dictating them. These are rights given to us by our Creator. Whether you believe that Creator to be God, or to be random chance. We have rights as sentient creatures. Life. Liberty. Pursuit of Happiness. I know these are odd concepts to establish a country under, but what the hell.

If in a few months you find yourself living in a country under the leadership of a Holy Roman Emperor who believes he is God's Anointed Vessel on Earth, then rent a Toyota, drive up to Maine, grab some rocks, and join us in the H.S.A. We're having lobster for dinner, and you don't have to say Grace if you don't want to.

This blog does not endorse the Toyota Hilux. The Hilux is simply the toughest truck in history and would be ideal to literally build a Nation upon.