Sometimes you have to show tough love.
For those of us with children, we can all appreciate the following scenario. You see your child about to do something stupid (like touch a hot stove) and you jump into action. You shout at the child to stop and he just sort of ‘pauses’ and looks at you funny. The initial order from the parent was not enough and now the child needs further evidence why he should stop doing something that looked so ‘right’ (the kid will grow up to be a Republican – Trust but verify). The parent then explains WHY it’s a bad idea to touch a hot stove and if the parent has done a good enough job of tailoring his message and the child has advanced enough in his comprehension skills, danger will be averted and the child goes away wiser about the workings of the world. If either (or both) the parent’s communication or the toddler’s comprehension skills are lacking then the kid will not be convinced and do it anyway.
Sometimes the parent will see the child about to do the very thing they warned them about but instead of regurgitating the same admonishments, the parent chooses to teach the child a lesson by allowing him to make a mistake. It’s called tough love and it’s one of the hardest things I have ever done as a parent. I know that I should ask my daughter if her assignments are done or if she has to study for a test but she is old enough now to know better. Sometimes she needs to get an F to realize there are penalties for some of her bad decisions and in many ways, this is a better teaching tool that hearing her old man rant.
This tough love teaching method works with adults too and after the results of the past election I’ve decided to do what I can to show tough love to my country in hopes that we can learn a lesson and recover.
Conservatives have shouted at the top of their lungs the past 4 years about our ballooning debt, the dangers of Obamacare, the deleterious business consequences of over regulation, the need to address out of control entitlement spending (like Social Security and Welfare), the lies of Obama’s Class warfare meme, why taxing the rich won’t help and the failures of Keynesian economics.
It didn’t work because the American voters decided to keep the same people in power that we’ve had during the last 4 disastrous years.
So what is a Conservative to do? Give up? Hell no! I will continue to blog, tweet and talk to people face-to-face about how the Conservative Fiscal and Economic policies provide the highest probability for a country’s entire population to live free, gain wealth and improve their quality of life. I’ll also work within the GOP to pick the best candidates for local, state and national offices and seek to change the party’s position on social issues as I outlined in an earlier post.
But there is one aspect of my life that I will change in the coming years to do my small part to help teach this country a lesson. I’ve decided to go “Galt Lite” with my money. The phrase ”Going Galt” gets its meaning from the Atlas Shrugged novel where the makers/producers of America decided to intentionally withdraw from the Market because their government punished them for making the right decisions and took their profits and gave it to those who made poor decisions. It’s a work of fiction but over the past few years the book has looked more like a book of prophesy.
I’m not independently wealthy like the characters in the book so I can’t go completely off the grid. I still need to work to provide for my family and I’m not willing to take my young kids to a farm and live off the land for years and deprive them of an education and the advantages offered in our modern society. But there are ways in which I can help to starve the beast and limit the amount of hard earned money that the Federal government can take from me and this in turn will limit how much money can be given to those who choose government handouts over a job.
-> I will max out my 401k contributions which will limit my pre-tax income so the federal governments take less from each paycheck.
-> My charitable contributions will go only to people and organizations that don’t waste their money on political contributions and bureaucracy.
-> Any large purchases to support my hobbies (which includes golf, gulp!) that are not necessary will be delayed.
-> When I do have to buy something, I’ll look first on the internet for used items or buy them at garage sales/locally owned stores where I know the owner.
-> I will step up the maintenance on my cars, house and other major appliances to keep them in good shape so I don’t have to spend even more money to replace them.
-> Any stocks I was planning to sell in the next 1-2 years will be sold before the end of 2012 so I can avoid paying higher capital gains tax rates that will most likely kick in starting in 2013.
-> I have already moved a majority of my 401k to Money market/Stable value funds and will sit tight for a couple of years as the Stock Market will likely take a nose dive.
-> I will not shop at any store that is affiliated with a union and I’m glad that the automobiles I do own were made in Right-To-Work states.
-> I will cut back on the small things like watering the yard, reducing cable channels, buying generic, keeping the house lights to a minimum, bring my lunch to work, etc.
Basically, I will try (to the extent I can) to live a minimalist lifestyle for 2 years in an effort to limit how much of my money gets funneled to the takers. Starve the Beast!
I’d be interested in hearing other ideas around how we can collectively ‘Go Galt’ and help starve the beast.