August 2, 2010
OK, so the Michigan Primary is less than 18 hours away, and at least three people today told me they still don’t know who all is running in the race tomorrow. They’ve been saved face-to-face, now for the rest of you.
You just need to remember three names: Jay, Jon, and Pete.
Jay Riemersma is the BEST choice for the 2nd District U.S. House of Representatives seat.
Jon Bumstead is the RIGHT choice for 100th District State Representative.
Pete Hoekstra is the ONLY choice for our next Governor of Michigan.
I’ve been blogging about these guys since February. Here are some links to related blogs:
There’s a bit to chew on before heading to the polls tomorrow morning! Not sure where to go to vote? You can look up polling locations here!
Oh, and if you’re in Hart Township, vote for Tim White for Precinct Delegate in Oceana County! Thanks!
President Barack Obama is in Michigan today to promote the ground breaking for the LG Chem battery plant in Holland. The President is lauding the ground breaking as a sign that the Stimulus Package is working, and creating jobs. But at what cost?
Without question, Michigan NEEDS jobs. With unemployment in the state currently lingering around an astounding 14%, some would say that we need to do anything to bring jobs to Michigan. There are others, however, who disagree.
According to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, Michigan taxpayers will write $100 Million in checks to the Korean battery maker. From the article:
Last week the the Michigan Economic Development Corp. upped the ante on a $100 million “refundable” business tax credit approved by the state House and Senate for a subsidiary of the South Korean battery maker LG Chem. The MEDC in effect converted the credit into an outright cash subsidy from Michigan taxpayers by granting the firm’s 120-acre plant site in Holland “renaissance zone” status for 15 years.
The legislation authorizing the credit, Senate Bill 466 sponsored by Sen. Wayne Kuipers, R-Holland, was passed last year. This spring, the firm was also approved for a federal “stimulus” grant of $151 million for the plant, the cost of which is pegged by various sources at between $244 million and $303 million. Essentially, taxpayers are all but giving the Korean manufacturer a brand new factory.
The Mackinac Center isn’t the only one questioning the price tag on these jobs.
In an article published today by the Wall Street Journal, Congressional candidate Jay Riemersma (R- Holland) stated, “”This is one instance where you can see job creating coming from it (the stimulus), but again…at what cost?” Riemersma went on to add, “People don’t want government stimulus and government spending…In their mind we’re mortgaging their future and their grandchildren’s future.”
“Specifically, this factory is being subsidized by $151 million of stimulus funds from an even larger $2 billion honey pot of stimulus money set aside for electric car battery investments. This one plant is expected to employ 300 workers. That works out to more than $500,000 per job created. $500,000 per job. This plant, in a nutshell, explains why the President’s stimulus plan has been an objective failure.
In plain English, does it really make sense to pay 100x the annual salary of a new job? That’s assuming that the average employee would make $50,000 per year, which I suspect is unlikely. At what point do we say, “Gee, we probably shouldn’t be spending $100 to make $1?” It just doesn’t make sense.
$500,000 per job? That makes about as much sense as The Michigan Film Tax Credit, which is supported by Michigan State Representative Bill Huizenga (R-Holland), another Congressional candidate for Michigan’s 2nd District seat. The Film Incentive is another attempt by government to buy jobs for Michigan, and another example that begs the question of when is the price for new jobs too high? The Film Incentive grants ridiculous amounts of money to filmmakers who shoot in Michigan. To learn more, check out this video.
Rather than buying jobs for Michigan, we should be focusing on repealing punitive businesses taxes, removing cumbersome regulations, and making Michigan more attractive to business in a way that is sustainable and beneficial to the employer, the employee, and the state.
It’s time to elect officials who get the idea that wasting money is a bad thing. We need officials who are ready to do the hard work it will take to convince businesses to invest in Michigan. Officials who understand that the key to long-term, sustained economic growth lies in fixing the root of the problem: our tax code and business regulations.
These are the men I’m supporting this August 3rd. I hope you’ll get out and do the same. It’s time to fix the problem.
With just 62 days left before the August 3rd Michigan Primary elections, the 2nd District Congressional race is heating up.
Jay Riemersma is making an impressive showing, and recent polling indicates Riemersma is leading in most of the district’s 11 counties.
Jay aired the first television ad of the race a few weeks ago. The ad was well produced, catchy, and smart. In the ad, Jay reiterates his strong commitment to Conservative values, highlighting his pro-life and pro-guns stance. You can see the video below:
Jay has also launched his “10,000 Doors in 2010” campaign. Riemersma plans to go door to door over the coming weeks, and spread his message to the people of the 2nd District. To date, Riemersma and his many volunteers have knocked on over 3,000 doors. Jay is averaging about 250 doors per day, and more on his “Super Saturdays.”
I haven’t seen any other candidate in this race work so hard. If this kind of work ethic is indicative of how Jay will perform in Washington, then West Michigan will be well represented. It’s this kind of nose-to-the-grindstone spirit we need in Washington.
Riemersma’s success isn’t going unnoticed, either. Bill Huizenga is certainly feeling the pressure Jay has brought to the race, and the Huizenga Campaign’s low fundraising totals would seem to indicate that the Michigan legislator is losing ground to the former NFL football player. Other candidates, including Bill Cooper of Muskegon, have claimed that Jay’s career as a professional athlete does not qualify him to represent West Michigan in Congress.
Isn’t it odd, though, that they always fail to mention that Riemersma is a graduate of the University of Michigan? Last time I checked, that Big Ten school didn’t award degrees in football. Jay holds a BA in Communications from U of M, and communicating with the people of West Michigan is something he seems to be doing quite well.
And at the end of the day, that’s what a Congressman really needs to be. A communicator. It doesn’t do much good to have the greatest idea in the world if you can’t communicate that idea, make others understand it, and rally support behind the idea. Bill Cooper may be great at creating jobs, but can he convince other Congressmen to join up with him, garner support, and push that idea into law? Maybe, maybe not.
Jay Riemersma can. Jay has proven over the last several months that he is willing to do the hard work required to win. He’s proven throughout his professional career that he has the guts, discipline, and intestinal fortitude to see that the job gets done.
As a Marine, I know a bit about discipline, hard work, and perseverance. I see these qualities in Jay Riemersma, and that’s why I want him as our next Congressman, representing West Michigan in Washington.
May 31, 2010
Today I had the honor of carrying the Marine Corps Colors in the Pentwater Memorial Day Parade. There were over thirty veterans marching in the parade, from WWII veterans, to Iraq vets like myself, and several Korean War and Vietnam vets as well.
The turnout was phenomenal, and it warmed my heart to see so many come out to remember our fallen. We marched through town, carrying the colors of our respective services, with Old Glory leading the way. A drummer kept time, and we marched in step to the accompaniment of cheering and whistling onlookers.
We made our way to the marina, where a few words were spoken, a moment of silence was observed, and a wreath was laid in Pentwater Lake. The rifle squad from the Pentwater VFW fired a 21 gun salute, and we made our way to the Pentwater Village Green.
At the Village Green, veterans from the crowd were asked to join those in ranks already assembled. About 15-20 men and women from several generations came out to join us as the national anthem was played. The Pentwater marching band played a rousing military melody, and my spine stiffened with pride at the notes of the Marine Hymn. A veteran gave a speech, another moment of silence was observed, and as we departed, you could hear “Thank You” and “God Bless You” being said from every direction.
Finally, we headed out to the Pentwater cemetery, where Taps was played. After all these years, those magical notes still get me a bit misty-eyed, and today was no exception. A local clergyman led us in prayer, and we laid a wreath at the war memorial in the cemetery.
Memorial Day has always had special significance to me. I began playing Taps at funerals when I was about 10 years old. My Grandfather, a Korean War Era Marine, was the chaplain for his VFW post. He used to take me along to funerals and have me play. Later in life, as a Marine, it became even more significant, as I learned the stories of the heroes who gave all to defend freedom.
But it was in 2006 that Memorial Day really became personal. I lost several good friends in the fall of 2006 and early 2007. They were fellow Marines, Brothers, who are greatly missed. Men like Troy Nealy, Minhee Kim, Luis Castillo, and several others. While each of their lost lives hurt, one was particularly personal for me.
On Feb 19, 2007, Brett Witteveen died in Iraq, on patrol in Fallujah, with Alpha Co. 1/24 Marines. Brett was a great friend, and like a little brother to me. I remember when Brett used to come by my house, put on my pack, and talk about joining the Marines someday. I was so proud of him when he eventually did. He was just 20 years old when he passed. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him, and miss him terribly.
I hope everyone took at least a few minutes today to pause and reflect on the sacrifices made by so many veterans. Without those that have come and gone before us, we wouldn’t enjoy the freedoms we have today. In closing, I wish to pay tribute to my grandfather, SGT Robert P. White, USMC. I miss you, Pop.
May 4, 2010
I just read a great article by nationally recognized financial guru Dave Ramsey. In the article, appropriately titled, “Don’t Foreclose on Your Future,” Dave gives three sound reasons why walking away from your mortgage just isn’t a good idea. The three reasons are:
Reality #1 – Your home is an investment, and any investment—even real estate—will go up and down in value. Walking away from your mortgage now is the equivalent of selling your stock portfolio at the bottom of the market. You guarantee yourself a loss if you don’t stick with your investment until values come back up.
Reality #2 – Home values will recover. If our homeowner sticks it out and stays in his home, he’ll be back to even in five years, based on a conservative 5% rate of appreciation. In less than 20 years, his home will have doubled in value. That is wisdom!
Reality #3 – The bank is not letting you off that easily. Lenders are covered up with foreclosures, so while homeowners who walk may not hear from the bank right away, they are by no means off the hook. Some banks will pull credit reports to see who is current on their other payments to determine if a default is “strategic.” Banks will go to court to garnish wages or hijack tax refunds—whatever it takes to get what they’re owed.
You can view the whole article on Dave’s website. Dave Ramsey is a bestselling author and radio host. I have been a huge fan of his Financial Peace University program, and strongly recommend it to everyone.
There are alternatives to foreclosure. A loan modification or short sale could be possible options for you. Your local real estate professional can help you with these options. Don’t be afraid to contact your lender, either. By staying in touch with your lender, you’ll find many more options available to you.
Don’t just walk away, though. As Dave points out in Reality #3, banks can, and eventually will come after the money they lost.
April 15, 2010
The internet is abuzz with the story of a Marine in California who was recently asked to remove a Facebook group he created. Many people feel that the Marine’s First Amendment rights are being violated, and are even going so far as to claim that the Obama administration is attempting to silence the opposition.
As a Marine currently serving in the Reserves, and active in local politics, this issue raised huge flags for me. I have authored several blogs promoting Republican candidates, am a member of the Republican Party, and have sponsored a Teenage Republican Chapter in my hometown. I have also expressed disagreement and outrage with the current administration. Could I be a potential violator of this directive?
In order to cover my six, I have researched the directive, how it applies to me, and how it applies to this case. DOD Directive 1344.10, dated February 19, 2008 Subject: Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces, details what actions individual members of the Armed Forces CAN, and CANNOT engage in. You can read the directive HERE.
Sgt Stein made the mistake of naming the group “Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots.” By naming it so, he implies that the DOD sanctions it. By the rules, they have him dead to rights. In fact, if they so chose, he could be punished subject to the Universal Code of Military Justice under Article 92, “Failure to Obey Order or Regulation,” Chapter 47 of Reference (b).
Now, had he created a group called “Gary Stein and the Tea Party Patriots” or some such, and included a disclaimer that it reflects his opinions, and is not intended to reflect the views of the DOD, he would have been good to go, in my opinion.
We do indeed, have freedom of speech. We just have to be a but more cautious of how we wield it. You can find many a blog on my website that criticizes the current administration. However, I do have the disclaimer that the views portrayed are my own, and are not made as a representative of the USMC, the DOD, or any other agency. They are my beliefs, and mine alone.
When I attend political functions, campaign for a candidate, or work with the community, I do not do so in uniform. I won’t even wear a Marine sweatshirt. While my military service is often mentioned, I stress that I act in the capacity of a concerned citizen, NOT as a representative of the USMC.
I think I’m covered, but if the DOD or my chain of command wants to bring the matter up, I’m willing to defend my position. I would never want to use my uniform to gain political advantage. To do so would be, in my eyes, a discredit to all who have served before me.
I do, however, have a responsibility as a US citizen to be engaged in the political process. The leaders we elect have the power to make decisions that affect the lives of all of us. Those of us in the military are especially affected by the decisions of the POTUS. To sit back and not be involved seems a gross dereliction of my duty as a citizen, and as an NCO. I encourage everyone to get involved, regardless of their political party allegiance.
In closing, I’m glad this matter was brought up. Having read the Directive, I feel that I am acting completely within the guidelines of what the Secretary of Defense has laid out. I would encourage Sgt. Stein to continue to be involved in politics, and make his voice heard. I would just encourage him to do it within the rules laid out before us, and to do so in good taste.
In this case, I have to defend the actions of the Marine’s command. They made the right call, and handled the matter well. Sgt Stein was not punished, and only asked to remove the group from Facebook.