Whenever conservatives talk about lowering taxes, reducing entitlements, or rolling back our titanic government, the intellectual giants of the left deploy an incisive counter-argument: you're mean!
But of course. Why, just a fortnight ago, I was strolling to the opera when a lowly chimney sweep spilled soot upon my spats. After making him polish my monocle, I thrashed the young ne’er-do-well roundly with my ivory-handled walking stick. Off to the poorhouse with you!
The Dickensian caricature of conservative Scrooges still holds sway, despite the fact that most of today’s elites are in Hollywood, the media, Washington-loving big business, or the government itself. If the board game was created now, the Monopoly man would drive a Prius, wear a black turtleneck, and work in Silicon Valley.
My daughter spoke Finnish on Christmas Eve.
I thought my nine-year-old had just made up some Swedish Chef-style gibberish until she provided a detailed translation. And a few of her phrases sounded a lot like my older Finnish relatives talking.
As it turned out, my daughter had discovered Google Translate. She converted a few English sentences to the obscure Nordic language, clicked the “listen” button, and practiced the paragraph repeatedly until she had it memorized.
Ask your neighbors and co-workers a simple question: "What are the wealthiest counties in America?" Here are the answers I got:
Wrong on all counts. According to a U.S. Census Bureau report released last week, the county with the highest median income is Loudoun County, Va. Number two is Falls Church City, Va.; followed by Fairfax County, Va. (#4); Howard County, Md. (#6); Arlington County, Va. (#7); and Prince William County, Va. (#10). Anyone else notice a pattern here?
My family has deep roots in Michigan, from the frigid locks of Sault Ste. Marie to the college-town ambience of Kalamazoo. But ultimately, my parents left Michigan and eventually the Midwest in search of jobs. Jobs found in the “right-to-work” state of Arizona.
After decades away, I drove the length of Michigan a few years back, south to north and back again. Though I was stunned at the blue lakes and green trees (just the right height!), I too was stunned at the stagnation and decay. The Great Lakes State deserves a great economy and going right-to-work is a great way to get there.
For many Michiganders on the margins, their economy remains in critical condition. After years hemorrhaging jobs, money and residents under liberal leadership, Michigan's blue-state electorate sent conservatives to the Governor's office and statehouse. The new team’s first job was to stanch the bleeding. They reinvigorated the state's economy by lowering and simplifying business taxes and eliminating a $1.5 billion deficit.
Doris “Dorie” Miller was a Mess Attendant working on the USS West Virginia. Like most mornings, he rose before dawn for a dreary day of hauling trash, scrubbing dishes and prepping food for the battleship’s cook. While collecting the crew’s laundry, the General Quarters alarm sounded. Ships have drills all the time — even on Sunday mornings — but a sailor still must answer the call.
However this time he couldn’t get to his designated battle station. The torpedo-twisted metal proved this alarm was for real.
With nowhere else to report, Dorie ran to the deck to see what was happening. Being a former fullback for his Waco, Texas high school, one of the officers told him to carry the wounded to safety. Soon he was told the ship’s captain was seriously wounded and trapped on the bridge. After bringing the mortally-wounded officer through the fire and blood to a safer place, Dorie saw a .50 caliber Browning without a gunner.
So, you didn't win last week's Powerball? I didn't either, which is why I'm writing blog posts instead of designing a helipad for my new private island.
I was surprised to see even my most cynical friends succumbing to lottery fever in a bad way. Though usually shrewd with their finances, they couldn't resist throwing a few bucks at a gas station attendant for that infinitesimal shot at half a billion dollars.
I resisted the Powerball's allure, mostly because (1) I understand math, and (2) I'm lazy. But another reason to frown on lotteries is the counterintuitive fact that unearned wealth usually makes the recipient less happy. We've all read the hard-luck stories of lottery winners who strike it rich only to lose their homes, spouses and health a few years later. But there are now several scholarly studies to back up the devastating effects of not earning your success.
I’m trying to help a relative get out of a bad fix.
He makes $50,000 a year, but Sam has $54,000 (!) of debt on his credit cards. Worse still, he just showed us plans for a $7,500 cruise next year. “Don’t sweat it,” he said, “I still have room on my Visa!” Crazy, right?
At our big family dinner last month, several wanted to make Sam see the error of his ways. Being his (favorite) nephew, I tried to gently nudge him to face his problem. When that didn’t work, others called him out directly. By the end of the dinner nearly half of us were screaming, “danger ahead!” But my uncle kept laughing it off and telling us about the cool time-share condos, jet skis, and other must-haves he plans to buy over the next few years.