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.”

The Heritage Foundation makes the argument that Obama’s Stimulus Plan is a failure, and the LG Battery Plant is a prime example. According to the article:

“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.

People like Jay Riemersma for Congress, Pete Hoekstra for Governor, and Jon Bumstead for the 100th District State Representative.

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.


It seems that folks are a little obsessed with “Making History” when it comes to political decisions these days. But I ask you, is it more important to make history, or to prepare for the future?

During the Presidential Elections of 2008, I endured wave after wave of news reports and public sentiment that voting for Obama and electing the first black President would make history. The Democratic Party held him up to be the candidate that would bring hope and change, and would be the consummate sign that America had changed.

Now, I have steadfastly acknowledged that Obama’s campaign was one of the greatest election campaigns ever run. The campaign used every available media source, grassroots effort, and marketing strategy known to man, and they were highly effective in getting the message out.

A large number of voters voted for Obama to make history, by electing America’s first black President. Another large segment of voters voted for Obama because they were just so sick of the past administration that they wanted something, ANYTHING, but what we had. OK, fine. So be it. They made their voices heard, and President Obama won the election. History was made.

Now we have a healthcare bill signed into law using a process that makes the manufacturing of sausage look like a Renaissance Masterpiece. But hey, we made history! Again!

A significant portion of the country didn’t want it because they didn’t understand what it contained. Evidently, no one else did either, since today the government realized it missed some of the targeted protections for children. I also noticed several changes to the bill when I went back to the online Library of Congress file. As it goes to the Senate for reconciliation, more changes are expected.

We now have Healthcare Reform that cannot sustain itself, will stress Medicaid to the breaking point, and adds to our already ridiculously large deficit. How’s that for making history?

In any event, they did it, and are currently enjoying their victory. Will it be a victory for the nation, however? Eventually, someone is going to come to collect the debts America owes. What will happen at that point? Will we be bought out, go bankrupt, and join the ranks of failed governments in the history books? God, I hope not.

Will healthcare reform be the ruin of America?

Greek Ruins

We need a government that can work together. We need leaders that can focus on the issues, and rise above petty name calling. We need BOTH PARTIES to grow up, and act like the distinguished leaders we thought we were electing. We need respectable leadership that will dignify the offices they represent. We need Congressman and Senators who truly represent the will of their constituents, not party or personal goals.

The Obama campaign promised change. This administration is no better than the last, it’s just a different party, with a different agenda. Partisanship continues to run rampant, and new ways are found to circumvent the protections set up by the Constitution. These circumventions are waved off by key figures, who justify their actions by saying, “Well, the other party did it when they had power!”

That’s not making history, it’s repeating the mistakes of the past.

We don’t need to continue making history, we need to avoid becoming history.

The Healthcare issue isn’t even at the top of most Americans’ priorities list. Americans are primarily concerned with the economy, and even more importantly, unemployment. Let’s encourage our leadership to wipe the slate clean, put some band-aids on their sore egos, and focus on these two issues.

I think everyone will be a lot more willing to discuss healthcare reform once we get Americans working and get a plan in place to balance the budget. It will take more than one party, and it will require that the average American get off the couch and get involved to elect leaders that can bring it about. I’m in. Are you?

A few months back, someone slipped a pill in my drink, while I wasn’t looking.

No, nothing as scandalous as a ruffie, nor even as trippy as ecstasy. Instead, someone slipped me the Red Pill, and I began to wake up and see what was going in our government.

In case you’re not familiar with the pill I am referring to, allow me to share a quote from The Matrix:

You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit-hole goes.

Obamacare, wake up!

OK, so nobody really physically slipped me a pill. Nevertheless, I have been driven of late to stay abreast of political goings-on, and obsessed with researching and understanding the inexplicable push by Democrats to force through a Healthcare Bill that is rife with controversy, encompasses one-sixth of the U.S. economy, and provides healthcare to…well, I haven’t figured that out yet.

The reason I use the Matrix metaphor is because the majority of my fellow citizens seem to still be asleep. The deeper I look into this bill, the more disgusted and sickened I become. I try to shake those near me awake, to no avail. They either don’t see the problem, or refuse to. They have become so desensitized to government corruption that they don’t realize how severe our plight has become.

Equally disconcerting is when people are aware of what the current administration is doing, they shrug it off, or try to justify it by pointing out the indiscretions and wrong-doings of past administrations (namely, President Bush). I seem to remember learning a  lesson as a child, a lesson like: “Two wrongs don’t make a right.”

By this logic, I guess the next administration can just come in and do whatever it pleases. Then again, why wait for the next administration? Obama has two years left. Will we give him a blank check to continue unraveling our country?

I saw a similar defeated attitude in Iraq. When patrolling the villages around Fallujah, as elections were drawing near, I had the opportunity to ask the Iraqis of Al-Anbar how they felt about the upcoming elections. The prevailing theme was, “They’re all liars, and what we think won’t make a difference, anyway.”

There were some exceptions, where people were excited about the elections, but they were in the minority. I did what I could to encourage the people of Iraq to stay motivated. After all, this is what my fellow Marines and I had fought for. The right for Iraqis to have free elections, and liberate themselves. Had it been for nothing?

The lesson I took away from my time in Iraq in 2008 was a painful one. You can’t help those that won’t help themselves. If you believe you are beaten before you even begin, you will surely be defeated.

Now, here I am back home, 18 months later, seeing some disturbing similarities. People believe that the government will do whatever it wants, and that all politicians are liars. A people so discouraged in their leadership that they are convinced that resistance is futile. (Yes, I spent too much time watching Sci-Fi movies in my younger days.)

President Obama, Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, Senator Harry Reid and their party have managed to bull through H.R. 3962 – Affordable Health Care for America Act. The Act was passed and signed into law today by President Obama in spite of the objections of the American people. Numerous polls indicated that this was not healthcare reform that the American people want.

There are plenty of sources to cite that claim this is because of misinformation propagated by the Republican Party. The GOP has been accused of fear mongering and spreading lies about the bill. Allow me to toss my chips in with the GOP on this one. I have spent hours reading the bill, and have found nothing in it that convinces me otherwise.

On the contrary, I have found it much easier to debunk the supposed benefits the Democrats claim are being provided. It’s been said that we need some true Bi-Partisan effort to achieve heath care reform, yet the only thing Bi-Partisan about this bill has been the opposition to it. Not one single Republican voted for this bill, but several Democrats voted AGAINST it.

President Obama has made claims that the Republicans are fighting the bill just to be stubborn, labeling them “The Party of No.” In fact, in an attempt to make an appearance of bipartisanship, the Democrats tacked on some Republican amendments to the bill. They refused, however, to address the problems that Republicans had with what was already in the bill. When the Republicans held their ground on the issues, and refused to vote for a flawed bill, they were again accused of being “The Party of No”.

I’m so sorry, Mr. President, that the Republican Party wasn’t as easy to buy off as some of your Democratic colleagues in Nebraska, Louisiana, and Northern Michigan (Yes, YOU, Mr. Stupak!). The Republican Party was on the right side, this time. The side of the people.

In conclusion, I ask that my fellow Americans do one of two things: Either wake up and get involved, or have the decency to plug me back into the Matrix. I’m getting too old to fight these battles alone.

Besides, I can’t pull off the leather trench coat look like Keanu Reeves, and I would damn sure look ridiculous in leather pants.

It is beginning to look more and more like a federal healthcare bill is going to be rammed down the throats of the American people. Despite numerous polls indicating that the American people do not want the current healthcare bill being offered, key Democrats in Washington are turning a deaf ear to the people and attempting to ram the bill through anyway.

President Obama has painted himself into a corner with this bill, having spent the last year trying to get it approved. Healthcare has now become known as a “Signature Item” for the POTUS. Many pundits have gone so far as to say that if he doesn’t get this bill passed he will be dubbed as a failure, and have no political relevance for the rest of his term. It’s almost if they are daring him to do it.

Mr. President, the people are going to respect you a lot more if you can acknowledge that the current bill is flawed, and work to get it right. Trying to strong-arm a bill through that is flawed, imperfect, and full of special interest pay-offs is wrong on so many levels. While I can appreciate a certain “dig-in-your-heels-and-finish-what-you-start” spirit, there comes a time when you have to admit that you have misread the will of the people, and you need to realign yourself with it.

Everyone knows this bill stinks. When Speaker Nancy Pelosi publicly states that the American people can know what’s in the bill AFTER it passes, everyone’s internal BS detector should be going off and sounding a red alert. What are Pelosi and Reid trying to hide? Why this mad push to shove something, ANYTHING through before the upcoming recess???

The answer is obvious: they know they are doing something wrong. We know they are doing something wrong. If you were buying an insurance plan, or a car, or a home, and the agent selling the product said to you, “Sign this, sign it now, and don’t read the fine print!” what would you say? You’d run away as fast as you possibly could. If she had nothing to hide, why wouldn’t she want you to read the fine print?

Yet this is exactly what is happening in Washington even now. The leading Democrats are running around to other Democrats, trying to pressure them into voting yes on the Senate Bill. Democratic Congressman Bart Stupak, of Michigan, has even stated that he is receiving threats from the party because he won’t vote yes on the bill. Other Democrats are siding with Stupak against the bill because of some questionable items in the bill that open the door to abortions being paid for with federal tax dollars.

It still remains unclear how we will pay for this bill. Estimates of how much the proposed bill will add to the deficit run into the BILLIONS. Non-partisan studies reveal that we simply cannot afford the bill as written. When questioned about this, Democrat supporters of the bill attempt to shrug the question off, claiming that the funding can be resolved through reconciliation. They believe the best thing to do is to pass the bill, and worry about funding it later! Have we learned nothing in the last few years about what happens with this type of “blank-check” mentality?

The media has made this a battle of wills, and has even stated that if the bill doesn’t pass, Democrats are going to lose political capital. At the same time, the press warns that if the Democrats vote yes, and pass this bill against the will of the people, the Dems will be destroyed at the polls during the mid-term elections is November of this year.

It’s a no-win situation for the Democrats. A true damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t scenario. It shouldn’t have come to this, but it has. I only hope that remaining holdouts against this bill in the Democratic party will do the right thing and hold true to their committment to vote against this atrocity of a bill. The time could come for healthcare reform, but this is not the kind of reform that the people want.

Why hustle through an imperfect product? It is widely held that successful healthcare reform could be the hallmark of Obama’s presidency.  Why not do it right? Remove the shadows surrounding the current bill, and remove the taint of corruption from this issue. After all, if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.

I urge you to call your Congressional Representatives today and stress to them the importance of  doing the right thing. Scrap this bill, and let’s get started working on meaningful legislation that can do some good for everyone. Remember what you learned in the 80’s, and “Just say NO!”

Oh, and maybe we could even focus on some other issues; like reducing the deficit and/or getting Americans back to work. Just a thought.

Obama Bomb

I was driving east on Ocean Dr. in Hart, Michigan today when I saw this little gem sitting alongside the road. I had my camera with me, like any good realtor should, and I just couldn’t resist blogging about it.

Michigan is widely held to be a left leaning, liberal state. So much so, in fact, that Senator McCain’s campaign withdrew from the state early during the election runoffs of 2008. John, I think you gave up on us too quickly.

You see, there are strong pockets of conservatism in West Michigan. The recent Tea Parties have sounded a clarion call to the formerly “Silent Majority”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more of these types of displays.

Even if you’re a liberal, you have to admit this is pretty clever.