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What the Government Gives, it Can Take Away- Politics

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We hold these truths to be self evident

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. We are endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

We have seen this is action this week with the Pay Czar, Ken Feinberg taking away the pay of the top 25 Highest paid Executives that were given money during the Bailouts. This includes AIG, Citigroup, GM, Bank of America, Chrysler, GMAC.

Both parties have lost site of the principals that were fought with blood, sweat and tears. We must return to our Founding Documents and the principals of Self Government that made this nation great.

Government is not our Savior, our Rights did not come from government. Our rights came from a Creator God that is why they are unalienable.

Please take five minutes to watch the following and tell us in comments what you think.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Missy

    October 25, 2009 at 7:35 pm

    Missy, You hit the nail on the head! Our country is sliding down a slippery slope and this is not what our fore fathers had intended. I struggle to comprehend what role our government will have in the coming years if things continue on this path – but I am fearful of the ramifications. Our government needs to turn a watchful eye upon itself and evaluate just what its role is and how it operates. We are slowly losing touch with what has made our country great.

  2. MIssy Caulk

    October 25, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    We have a fabulous blue print for how our country should be run, I think the documents just need to be required reading as they are sworn in office. It still inspires and as Ben Franklin was walking down the street after the Constitution was written, a lady came up to him and said, “What have you given us Sir?”
    His response, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”
    Knowing human nature checks and balances were set forth to temper the expansion of power that we are all capable of desiring and abusing.

  3. Scott

    October 26, 2009 at 1:54 pm

    I completely agree w/ you Missy. I don’t care how much money someone makes in a business, if the business plan is strong the business will succeed, if it’s weak it’ll fail. This is a natural thing, and the government just doesn’t belong in the middle of that.

    I really don’t think most well meaning people realize how socialistic this is. I also believe that many people are just jealous that someone else would have the nerve to make more money themselves, without knowing that when you take that away from a free society, you strip that system of one of the things that makes it free.

    The most important thing you touched on though is God. If we don’t get back to the basics, and start doing what’s *right* no matter what the consequences are, we’ll continue to fail as a country. I really feel that both parties have missed this concept, and why is there only a two party system? I’ve heard politicians talk about how they have to vote for something just b/c if they don’t, they won’t get the right people’s vote on something they want. Sooo it doesn’t matter whether it’s right to vote for it, what matters is that we vote in a way that assures that we get what we want? I see a recipe for disaster in that.

    I believe that even more important than what the politicians do, is what we do personally. If we vote for something just because it keeps our paychecks coming in, but at the end of the day it’s wrong, and we know when it’s wrong, then we continue to damage ourselves as well as our country.

  4. MIssy Caulk

    October 26, 2009 at 7:46 pm

    I think most of us are sick of politics, and the two party system. However, they have made it very difficult for a 3rd party candidate to have any success. We should all vote our conscience regardless of party or how it helps our pocket books.
    Like the whole 8000.00 credit. Yes it put a few dollars in my pocket but…I am not in favor of renewing it and am not following NAR to contact our legislatures to get it extended.

  5. HeatherO

    October 26, 2009 at 11:08 pm

    So true!
    Want free education? Then the Govt gets to make the rules. If you believe that you have ‘the right’ to free healthcare, or anything else, then they have the ‘right’ to dictate what, how, when, where, you get it. Everyone has created the idea that we have so many “rights” at the cost of freedom.

  6. Joe Loomer

    October 27, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    Sorry Missy – would have been by earlier – but I was watching MY football on Sunday ;).

    When the Declaration of Independence was written, the authors and signatories knew they would be considered to have commited treason against the King, and many died because of it. Their vision for this country – a vision they shed blood for – is a far cry from what exists today. Little known is that a large British Fleet was already at anchor in New York Harbor when the Declaration was signed.

    Why was John Hancock’s signature so big? He already had a 500 pound bounty on his head for treason. He signed it so big so “that his Majesty could now read his name without glasses and could now double the reward.”

    It is my fervent desire that we continue to have our tea parties and town halls – come back to touch with the divination of our founding fathers – continue to have robust and healthy debate in this forum and others – be the Americans we used to be.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Bruce Lemieux

    October 27, 2009 at 2:15 pm

    This is becoming the Glenn Beck blog. I liked it better when it was about real estate.

  8. MIssy Caulk

    October 27, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Bruce, only on Sunday Mornings. 🙂

    Joe, I had not read that about John Hancock’s signature. Thanks!

    HeatherO, too many assumptions about what our right’s were, I’ll stick with the Bill of Rights, how about you. That covers enough for me.

  9. AV Homes

    June 21, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    The government bails out other countries too, while we continue with debt. They take out an outrageous amount of taxes every year that only “seems” smaller because it’s taken out of people’s wages by the company they work for at the time. I think with the amount of money they give away to companies to do whatever they please. I wish I knew how we could change this.

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Politics

The House Judiciary antitrust investigation holds big techs’ feet to the fire

(POLITICS) CEOs of Alphabet, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon set to testify in House Judiciary Committee antitrust investigation hearing today.

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The House Judiciary Committee is closing in on the end of a year-long investigation into tech giants Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon, to evaluate possible antitrust abuses. CEOs from all four companies were set to testify on Monday, July 27, 2020. The hearing has been pushed back to Wednesday, July 29, to allow members of Congress to pay respects to civil rights leader Representative John Lewis (D-GA) who died of pancreatic cancer on July 17.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon, Tim Cook of Apple, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet (Google’s parent company) have all agreed to testify. This will be Bezos’ first time in front of Congress, whereas all the others have testified before on different matters. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey was invited to testify by Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH), but is expected to not attend.

The Antitrust Subcommittee began the investigation in June 2019. Each business has been the subject of scrutiny for their roles in dominating their respective industries and playing an outsized role in market competition for smaller businesses. The Committee is interested in evaluating current antitrust laws and whether they apply to, or should be updated for, these mega corporations. They have already heard testimonies from smaller companies like Sonos and Tile about these companies’ alleged monopolistic practices.

The focus of the investigation for Apple is on the App Store, and whether it has implemented policies that are harmful for app developers. Google has a tight hold on the online advertising market. Amazon – which during a five-week period early in the pandemic saw an increase in value equivalent to the total value of Walmart, the world’s largest firm – has been criticized for its treatment of brands that sell on its e-commerce platform. Facebook is being investigated for its acquisition practices, cornering the social media market with purchases like Instagram.

Amazon is expected to face additional scrutiny for its treatment of warehouse workers during the pandemic. Facebook and YouTube (a subsidiary of Google) have been the subject of regular criticism about monitoring hate speech on their platforms, and their treatment of the workers responsible for doing so (Facebook in particular).

The hearing is set to occur virtually in order to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Watch the hearing live at 12:00 p.m. EST Wednesday, July 29 on the House Judiciary Committee’s YouTube channel. Please do note the hilarious irony of streaming a Congressional antitrust hearing on YouTube, which is owned by Google, which is owned by Alphabet, which is testifying at said hearing. God Bless America.

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Politics

Additional unemployment benefits outside of the CARES Act

(POLITICS) Unemployment is at an all time high in the United States and individuals need to be aware of reapplying for additional benefits.

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unemployment broke

June saw some additional jobs in the US and unemployment fell as of early July, but CNBC advised pausing on any celebration just yet, saying that “The employment crisis is still worse than any time since the Great Depression, the country’s worst economic downturn in its industrial history.”

The unemployment statistics in our country right now are really scary – especially for individuals and families that see a looming deadline of July 31 for the supplemental $600/week provided by the Federal Government through the CARES Act put in place in March. There are discussions on extending these benefits as many families have not been able to replace their incomes or find new employment opportunities, but it doesn’t seem like anything has been finalized there yet. Congress is in the middle of a variety of options:

  • Discontinue the additional $600/week but allow those on unemployment to continue to file and receive their state benefits (usually up to 26 weeks or possibly extended up to 39 weeks by The CARES act)
  • Send out additional stimulus checks (Congress is currently exploring a $X Trillion stimulus package)
  • Extend the additional funding (on top of the weekly amount allotted by state) but cut it from $600 to $200
  • It’s also been put on the table in the House of Representatives “The Heroes Act” to extend the additional $600/week until January 2021 ($3 trillion).

There are some additional benefits that are available (different than the funds by the CARES Act), but you may have to reapply for them. So, make sure to check your state’s unemployment pages and your filing status. Some states do not require you to reapply and you can continue on with extended benefits.

According to CNBC, “The additional aid expires after the end of the year. (This is a different program than the one paying an extra $600 a week through July 31.) For some reason, the [Department of Labor] has taken the position that people have to file for the additional PEUC benefits,” said Michele Evermore, a senior policy analyst at the National Employment Law Project.”

No doubt that this can cause additional stress and uncertainty especially when you have questions about your filing and are unable to get through to someone on the phone. With the way that the unemployment cycle is setup, technically July 25 is considered the last date for that cycle (and July 26 for New York), so be sure to check and see what the next steps are for you if you are currently filing.

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Politics

How will pausing the reopening of states impact the recovery of the economy?

(POLITICS) The resurgence of COVID-19 has left Americans with a lot of questions about our nation’s economic future. That ambiguity is seemingly a feature, not a bug.

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COVID-19 reopening economy

The rest of the world watched as the United States dramatically reopened “the economy” last month. Now, it seems we’ve changed our minds about that.

The White House has repeatedly said that it will be up to individual states to form their own pandemic response plans moving forward. But letting local governments devise their own solutions has produced large gaps in their preparedness, as well as profound confusion around the best practices for balancing the country’s public and economic health.

California, which represents the largest economy in the US and the fifth largest in the world, was one of the first states to put serious quarantine restrictions in place. The decision to relax those orders only came after anti-lockdown protestors demanded that Governor Gavin Newsom reopen the state’s beaches, businesses and churches. Newsom may now regret this capitulation as California just called for a second round of statewide lockdowns.

Other state legislators are slowly following their lead, as the threat is becoming very dire in some places. Florida, for instance, is now a global hotspot for COVID-19 and Miami is being called “the new Wuhan”. The state is also currently struggling against another wave of unemployment, partly because their economy is heavily dependent on summer tourism (which has persisted despite the spike in cases, but not nearly at pre-pandemic levels).

Florida, California and Texas are altogether responsible for 20 percent of all new COVID-19 cases globally.

Every state is fighting two battles here. Coronavirus relief efforts in the US are still seriously underfunded, and most health organizations here lack the resources to effectively test and treat their communities. But the problems that have emerged for workers and small business owners, like evictions and layoffs, have also been devastating in their own right.

In essence, the United States reopened in an effort to curb the nation’s financial freefall and ballooning unemployment. Economists predicted at the beginning of July that reopening would allow the US to avoid a recession, and all would go smoothly. These projections likely did not account for a spike in cases that would halt this economic rebound.

That’s not to say the circumstances here haven’t improved at all over the past months; currently there is no acute shortage of ventilators, and doctors have had some time to refine their strategies for treating the virus. Overall, the national unemployment rate is slightly declining, while working from home is going so well for companies like Twitter and Facebook that they will be permanently switching much of their staff to remote work.

By comparison, though, New Zealand took the pandemic much more seriously than the US did, and they are objectively in a better position now in all respects. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern cracked down hard and early, closing the country’s borders completely, and instituting rent freezes nationwide. As a result they have virtually eradicated COVID-19 within their borders. A report from S&P Global also expects New Zealand’s economy to recover quickly compared to the rest of the world.

While this tradeoff seems like a zero sum game – as if we have to pick either our health, or our wealth – it is not. In fact, we could very well end up with neither if our lawmakers don’t proceed with caution.

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