In my professional work, I have always been fascinated by what I call “timeless information,” information that does not die with the end of the current news cycle. Having wielded a scissors well in pursuit of such information for many years, there are always piles and piles of it around my office.
Very interestingly, much news that appears only significant for the 48-hour news cycle becomes more timeless by relationship to some other 48-hour information. Suddenly you recognize that you have the pieces of a large mosaic which in the absence of collecting would not be evident.
So when a friend of mine asked me if I would write an essay on the relationship between the finances of the market economy and the government economy, I said yes. I could think of many things to say that were buried somewhere in all those piles of articles in my office. Eventually, the piles overwhelmed my essay, and almost overwhelmed me as they drove me down the road to what became the “Simple Guide.” I never set out to write a book, but the more I went forward into the wealth of knowledge produced over a long time by writers and journalists who were professionals in possession of great information with a 48-hour life expectancy before it was discarded into the trash, I could not stop.
The book is a tribute to these people. My role is the assembler of and commenter on a fascinating mosaic. I am indebted to all of them.
I was 12 years old when I first sold my labor for a profit of $1.00 per hour working 20 to 30 hours a week during the summer cutting grass. At 16, I acquired my social security card, without my knowing that my employers and I were both going to be paying payroll taxes for a long, long time. By the end of high school, a friend of mine figured out how we could get jobs at Granite City Steel. So began my first industrial employment. To become a member of the Steelworkers Union, we had to serve a provisional period and a hazing. In this setting, I met a man, Henry, who would become the greatest teacher I ever had. He was a hundred and fifty pounds of taut muscle with a personality and demeanor that were even stronger. He was going to take the white boy from across the river and show him things that he could never learn anywhere else. The steel mill had its own railroad and a lot of tracks. Henry took me under his wing, although I was larger, adopted me, cared for me, made me his co-worker and taught me the only trade I ever learned, being a Gandy Dancer, a railroad truck repairman. It was humbling and liberating at the same time. What fierce energy, what a sense of pride in work, what a colorful sense of humor, always taking care of his fellow workers, a great craftsman. And, what a great man in such a small setting. At the end of every day, he went his way and I went mine. He is a tribute to the men and women who do the “hard work” of our economy.
A memorable event at Yale University was to have a professor during my freshman year who was always postulating that the Soviet Union’s centrally planned economy might trump the world’s free market economies in the future. I soon learned real academic freedom meant skepticism about almost everything the student believed. And, therefore, at Yale, I began to develop my own skepticism about academics. Not surprisingly, I earned a B.A. in economics and regret that I was not well enough prepared to major in intensely mathematical econometrics. After economics, political history fascinated me. In fact, the global tour in the “Simple Guide” has its origins in this fascination with the study of politics and economics in various countries. In other words, if you want to understand a political system, study country’s economics and the outcomes they produce.
The combination of interests put me on the course of an offer of employment from the CIA in 1967. Maybe this also helps explain why my office is so cluttered with piles and piles of cut out articles.
In a great twist of fate, it snowed in May of my senior year. That winter had been a long one. And, the very day I had arrived back at Yale from receiving my job offer at the CIA, I was greeted by an acceptance letter from Stanford University Business School. I chose to head to sunny California in 1969 with a bunch of eager business types. At Stanford Business School, I had an academic awakening in which I discovered that almost all economic statements could be reduced to mathematical equations. That was the good news! Since Intel Corporation had not yet done its magic for small computers, my fellow classmates and I “programmed” our computer with 40 column cards and key punch. And to this day, I remain a “luddite” with respect for the personal use of technologies. (I am writing this with a pe... Continue
Do you remember what you were doing on Monday, January 1, 2007? If you don't, it's no surprise, but on this day some people you never met were firing off the first shot in an all out war against the integrity of your vote in Missouri's future elections, the responsiveness of state representatives and state senators to their constituents, and governors to will of the people who initially elected them. Ultimately, they intend to buy control of the state government of Missouri by very generous and targeted contributions to politicians who favor their wishes. And, this will effectively nullify the vote of the people in choosing politicians whom they think they can trust.
These people are the Cloners, and they constitute one of the most destructive and wealthiest special interest groups that have ever emerged in Missouri's history.
To better understand what makes someone a Cloner, you have to look at the state of the law in Missouri before and after the passage of the Amendment 2 of 2006, the so-called Missouri Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative.
From this chart you can see that a lot of their campaign assertions in 2006 were purely sensationalist hyping to mislead the voters. As you can see, before Amendment 2, any private person, entity, or institution could spend its own money on Embryonic Stem Cell Research (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer). After Amendment 2, the public funds and taxpayer dollars of the State of Missouri could be spent on Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer. This had been previously forbidden by the 2003 Life Science Trust Fund Statutes. And they could conduct this research with incredible legal immunities and protections. Therefore, a Cloner is someone who spends a lot of his or her money trying in every way possible to get the State of Missouri to fund Human Cloning and Embryonic Stem Cell Research (i.e.-Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer) out of the proceeds of the Life Sciences Research Trust Fund.
Here is some data from the Missouri Ethics Commission on now Attorney General Chris Koster's Cloner donations. Note those that arrived on the very first business day of 2007 which was the first day allowing unlimited campaign contributions:
At the beginning, Chris Koster was a Republican State Senator. But shortly thereafter, he would jump to the Democratic Party and run for the Democrats as their candidate for Attorney General of Missouri. His first unlimited campaign contributions came from ostensibly Republican donors. How can you explain this?
The biggest event of the 2006 state election cycle was the heated contest for the passage of Amendment 2, the so-called Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative. The pro-Cloners wanted the constitutional right to perform Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (Human Cloning) with state funding. The then existing Missouri statute, § 196.1127, RSMo prohibited this. But, the incredible $30,000,000 expenditure by Amendment 2's proponents and a fraudulent ballot summary in the voting booth, saying it would ban human cloning, allowed them to steal the election by a mere 1.5%.
During this foray, hardly anyone noticed the passage of House Bill 1900 on May 11, 2006. Quite simply, this bill removed limitations on campaign contributions. Section 8 of the Summary of the Truly Agreed Version of the Bill stated:
Removes the maximum contribution limits per election year for most statewide elected offices by repealing parts of Section 130.032 and prohibits any candidate for statewide office, except candidates for a special election, from accepting campaign contributions during the legislative session….
This was a real prize for the proponents of Amendment 2 as witnessed by the spectacular contributions that arrived in Chris Koster's coffers immediately after the law went into effect on January 1, 2007.
For the Cloners, the elimination of campaign contribution limits would help them realize the full political potential that they sought for the $30,000,000 campaign they waged to pass Amendment 2. Their long-term goal is to get successive... Continue
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