Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lacy - I have a simple question

OK, in case you have not heard about this, there is a chain email going around stating that there are 70 members in the US Congress that are a member of the Democratic Socialists of America. A copy of the document can be found on Scribd HERE

Now, I am not one to forward rumors and such, but there is something very interesting about this email. Why has no one that has been listed on this email stood up and said that it is not true? There is no way that they do not know about this email chain. It has been picked up by bloggers all over the US. I know that someone from the US House of Representatives hits my blog at least once a week, so you know that Congressional members are having their staff surf the net to look for news on them. How could they claim they have no knowledge of this.

There are either two answers:
  1. It is completely true and the seventy members listed cannot stand up and deny it.
  2. It is not true, but since the MSM will not run with the story, they are not going to answer it.

While I am not the mainstream media, as a voter I will ask the question. Lacy Clay, are you a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, their PAC, caucus or any related group?

Look at the list and see if you have a Congressman or Congresswoman on that list. If so, call up their office and ask them or their staff to answer this question. Post a comment or email me with the answer you get.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Space Exploration - The REAL Stimulus Plan


A little over 41 years ago, man first walked on the moon. For the first time in probably centuries, a human being was walking on terrain that had never been touched by a human being. And during that time, the whole world was united in watching as a man gently floated down to the surface of the moon, implanting his footprint into the dusty surface.

As we all should know, the lunar race was sparked by a call to action from John F. Kennedy. He called for man to break the bonds of Earth and move into the stars. Unfortunately he was not able to live to see that, but his call to action was answered. That call to action also brought forth economic prosperity and technological advances that are still in use today or spawned greater advances in technology. I could write a whole post on that, but Computerworld did a great article on this which I will occasionally reference. It can be found HERE.

The beauty of the 60’s space program was that it was similar to the early days of America. It is almost fitting that popular culture moved from Westerns to Science Fiction/Space. I say this because; space exploration is the wild west of now. Much like the early explorers of the Americas, whether it be the Spanish and French explorers, discovering the new lands or those on the East Coast looking for land and prosperity and exploring the “wild west”, the journey into space is the journey into the unknown.

With the journey into the unknown, there is a price. This price is an investment in the future and an investment into discovering the unknown. Much like the Spaniards of old, they invested gold into exploration of the western hemisphere. The reward, they believed, would be faster trade routes. What instead they found were lands full of riches. These riches included new foods, animals, minerals and land. Seeing the investment pay off, the kingdoms increased their investment and expanded their expeditions. These early kingdoms, Spain, France, England, etc., saw the value of investing in these ventures as they provided benefit for now and the future.

Fast forward several hundred years and we see that our government is not looking towards the future. Since mothballing the Apollo program, NASA has been asked assigned to manage flights for the delivery of satellites and to limit the true exploration to the use of satellites. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is smart to use satellite technology to act as our “scouts”, but we are not following that scouting up with additional exploration. The investment in space exploration and colonization is essential for our long term growth.

First, let’s talk turkey. Space exploration is expensive. It is really expensive. It is really, really, really expensive. That said it is completely worth it. According to Scott Hubbard of Stanford University where he is a professor in the aeronautics and astronautics department, $7 or $8 in goods and services are produced for every $1 that the government invests in NASA. Scott should know, he used to work for NASA for 20 years. Right now, NASA is set to receive just 0.52% of the overall national budget or 18.7 billion dollars. Imagine what could happen to our economy if the US Government were to initiate a true space exploration program or an aggressive lunar or mars mission. The money needed would be great, but the rewards could be tremendous.

NASA does it right when they work with various companies. They provided some “seed” money to get the various companies to solve various needs. In doing so, these companies are allowed to keep the patent on whatever they create. In 1998 a study was done on the impact of this process. Of the 15 companies that agree to participate it was found that NASA gave $64 million, these companies invested and addition $200 million and the return on that investment is conservatively estimated at $1.5 billion. This does not even include the social benefits that come from these discoveries. That means that about $23.4 dollars per dollar was generated off of NASA’s initial investment. More information on this can be found HERE

In regards to MO 1st district, McDonnell Douglas played a big part in the early space program. All of the Mercury and Gemini space capsules were actually built by McDonnell Douglas here in St. Louis. Specifically, they were engineered and built at the MD facilities just north of Lambert Airport. While I could not find any studies done to give specific impact, I would have to believe there was some. Personally I know of many former McDonnell engineers and technicians who do or used to live in the North County St. Louis area. Anecdotally, those people lived there because it was close to work.

Just think of what advances and economic stimulus the country would have if the government were to truly re-invest in space technology. All presidents have spoken with words, but few have chosen true action. An aggressive space agency would help bring major innovation to technology, bio-science, aerodynamics, and propulsion technologies, just to name a few. By letting these companies keep the patents, we could see consumer ready variations of these products in the market in just a few years. An investment in an aggressive space program, similar to what NASA received in 1966, 5.5% of total budget, would give the US space program $198 billion dollars which is less than the total committed to TARP.

This type of funding would help employ jobs at all levels and should yield substantial increases and technology.

Moving beyond the economic impact, think of the social impact that this type of program would bring. With the jobs, would come greater prosperity for many people. Using the current NASA model, many companies would be able to offer additional services. Daniel Lockney, the editor of Spinoff, NASA's annual publication that reports on the use of the agency's technologies in the private sector, said the advancements during the Apollo missions were staggering.

"There were remarkable discoveries in civil, electrical, aeronautical and engineering science, as well as rocketry and the development of core technologies that really pushed technology into the industry it is today. It was perhaps one of the greatest engineering and scientific feats of all time. It was huge. The engineering required to leave Earth and move to another heavenly body required the development of new technologies that before hadn't even been thought of. It has yet to be rivaled."
Imagine what would be created for a manned mission to Mars, or a true lunar base. We would need to create all of these things along with green, renewable energy and more importantly sustainable nutritional technology to sustain such missions.

Instead of looking to future, our government and politicians have grown short sighted. Rather than looking at investments, they are too worried about the here and the now, the special interest groups and the party politics. During the 60’s we were united on a cause of reaching where no human had gone before. When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon, all of mankind watched. It was a spectacle to behold. It was to be the first step of many. It was a promise to the future.

That promise has turned into a lie. Instead of moving forward, we have become stale. Rather than moving out the way, government has made spaceflight a bureaucracy. Rather than see the potential for jump starting innovation, we have become mired in the politics of it. In regards to blame, it is across the board. Both Republicans and Democrats have cut funding to this agency, routing it instead to their pork barrel projects or social programs.

If the government is not going to move forward, then they need to get out of the way and let private enterprise move forward. The problem is private enterprise can’t. In the United States, there is so much red tape that someone has to go through to test and launch a vehicle; it becomes nearly impossible to do it without government intervention.

While kingdoms sponsored the early exploration to the western hemisphere, it was the small groups, individuals and private industry that helped pave the way to western America. These explorers and pioneers went west to discover and lay claim to the untapped land and resources that were out there. These people/parties did so by financing projects on their own and just moving forward. It was their work that helped pave the way for the rest of the country. They were able to do so because the government encouraged them and staid out of their way. The same could be done for the space program.

By loosening up the restrictions on space flight, allowing companies access to closed military bases for storage and launch sites or even allowing limited land, discovery or mining rights for interplanetary travel, companies would be willing to invest in space exploration using their own money.

While we may not see the economic increase that a government sponsored program would bring, loosening restrictions as well as incentivizing participation would create opportunities that many companies would be willing to take the risks on.

Now, there will be some that say that this is too risky and dangerous and not worth the costs. Space travel should be limited and left to the government. To that I say this. If we had lived by those standards over all these years, we may just now be discovering the Americas.

Man is a wanderer and explorer by nature. We yearn to see what else is in store for us and what is on the other side of the mountain. Curiosity is part of our makeup. You can see it in babies. They take their first steps and immediately begin going to the places they were told not too. They do this because they want to see and know more. Space is the next frontier. It is an infinite place, filled with wonder and danger, where we can go, “what’s next.”

Those who participate know the danger they are exposed too. Those brave men and women who have died in the name of space, knew the dangers that were inherent with space travel. They knew it and went anyway. We cannot and should not try and overly protect those who are willing to go forward. We should encourage that growth and discovery balanced with safety, whether it be via a government sponsored program or private industry. I long for the day that I can sit on my sofa and watch as a human being takes steps off of some Martian lander and makes the first imprint on Martian soil.

In closing, I ask you to think about this as budgets and politics are discussed. Think about tomorrow and the greatness that could be achieved. Think about the potential that an aggressive space program could give us. And think of the promise of a future among the stars for our children. While you are doing that, watch the following videos and just think of what could be.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Pics from the North County GOP Rally

Thanks to one of my readers, I am posting pics from the North County GOP rally.

Unfortunately I was not able to make it due to prior commitments, but thankfully one of my readers sent me some pics. It appears to have been well attended with some good conversation.

A couple of cars with some good bumper stickers on them. Go figure at a GOP rally : )

While Roy could not make, apparently his RV did. I hear the Blunt campaign had a lot of people there.

The organizers for the event.

Bill Corrigan talking to the crowd about the race.

Tom Schweich came to the event to talk to the crowd as well as have lunch with some of the attendees.

Robyn Hamlin go up and talked to the crowd about the importance of her race to beat Clay.

MO state Senator Jane Cunningham got up to talk on behalf of the Blunt campaign

Some of the attendees talking before the festivities got started.
I am sure that there was a lot more that went on. If you have some pictures or want to mention more about what occurred at the event, please email me.
Also, I would remiss for not mentioning the following:
  • Robyn will be having a U-Stream town hall discussion on Wednesday from 7 - 8. You can get more info HERE
  • Thursday night the North St. Louis County Republicans will be having both Robyn Hamlin and Bill Hennessy speaking. The meeting starts at 7:30 on August 26th, at Yacovelli’s Restaurant located at 407 Dunn Road in Florissant.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Just a Couple of Things.


So, did you hear that 500 million dollars in stimulus money was used to create 200 new jobs here in St. Louis. That means that it cost the government $250,000 per job to create these new positions here locally. And you will love this, these are not private sector jobs. No, these are Federal Government jobs and are a part of Social Security. You can find more on this story HERE

Isn't it amazing that the government can spend $250,000 per person to create 200 new jobs. While I understand they had to renovate an empty building to create the offices, it took 500 million to do so? Really. I would think that they could outsource this to a qualified company for a lot less money. Don't you.

And I love Lacy's quote

“Any time we can do a better job at serving and saving taxpayers money at the
same time, that is a double win,” said U.S. Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay.

It's a shame that he does not know anything about budgeting money and such. I think a regular business student from UMSL would realize that the private sector could probably do this job cheaper and just as efficiently as the Federal Government. That said, people like Lacy only know how to make the government bigger and make more people dependent upon the government for their livelihood.

As I drive around St. Louis, I like to take pics of things that I find amusing. Here are a couple from the past few days.

I really hope to start seeing more of these soon.

In case you cannot read it, it says - FREEDOM LIBERTY NOT MORE GOVERNMENT
Even though it is out of the way, I make sure I patronize this establishment.
They are located on Howdershell near 270

If you have any pics from the 1st District you would like to share, send them my way.


I am now on Facebook. If you want to friend me please do. You can of course find me as MiddleClass Joe. I will be posting pics, links etc.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Message From Candice

Candice Britton contacted me and asked that I pass the following message on to all of you:

Thank you to all that cast your vote for me on August 3, 2010.
I am sorry I did not get the job done for you.
The people spoke and they hired Mr. Clay.
I respect their vote.
Congratulations’ Mr. Clay.
God Bless to all,
Candice “Britt” Britton

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Bush Tax Cuts and You

A lot has been made about the Bush tax cuts. Paul Ryan, God love him, has been on just about every pundit show expressing and emphasizing the need to extend the Bush tax cuts. Although he has not said so lately, to my knowledge, Lacy Clay voted against making the Bush tax cuts permanent in April 2002 (107th Congress (2001 - 2002) H.R.586).

We all know that President Obama promised not to increase taxes for anyone making less than $250,00 a year. So I had to find, how do the Bush tax cuts effect MO 1st District.

Here are the parameters I set for this exercise. I assumed I am dealing with a family of 4, 2 adults and 2 children under 17 who make whatever the median household income is for the 1st district. I also assumed that they filed using the EZ form and did not take out advanced deductions.

To start, I had to find out what the average income was for all of the first district. For this, as I do not pay for the latest and greatest information, I referred to CQ Politics and their page on MO 1st. Their information was all based upon the 2000 census. Based upon their information, the median household income was $36,314. Assuming that the range would be the same, I adjusted for inflation and came to a 2010 median household income of $44,796.

Taking, that $44,796 I calculated the MO income tax using the MO Dept of Revenue page. Based upon the calculator, this family would pay $1,272 in income taxes each year.

Using this information, I plugged these figures into the calculator at and here is what I found. (CLICK THE PIC BELOW TO ENLARGE)

As you can see, a family making $44,796 would see them owe $2,000 in taxes , while they would pay nothing in and get a $93 return should the Bush tax cuts continue. The proposed Obama proposed budget would give this family a over $1,000 tax return. That said, the Obama proposed budget has not been passed, therefor it is truly difficult to assume that these figures would remain the same once put in place.

Focusing back on the difference between the expiring cuts and extending them, we are looking at some pretty substantial changes should these cuts not continue. This includes

  1. Tax Rates. The top tax rate will go from 35% to 39.6%. In addition, if nothing is done, it will mean higher taxes across the board. See the proposed 2011 tax rates for more information.
  2. Capital Gains. The 0% long term capital gains rate will go away. Capital gains rates will go up to 10% for lower tax brackets and from 15% to 20% for higher tax brackets.
  3. Dividends. Dividends will be taxed as ordinary income, with the new higher rates. Right now the dividend tax rates are 10% and 15%.
  4. Child Tax Credit. The child tax credit will return to $500 from the current $1,000 per child. In addition, it may not be refundable for some taxpayers.
  5. 529 Plans. 529 plan withdrawals will not be allowed tax free for computer or Internet access.
  6. Business Taxes. In addition, various business taxes will change including the payroll tax credit and section 179 expense deduction.
  7. Estate Taxes. Without any action, the estate tax (or death tax as some like to call it) exemption will go back to a $1 million exemption.
  8. Other Tax Credits. The tuition credits will be limited, as will the earned income tax credit.
  9. Mortgage Premiums. You will no longer be able to deduct mortgage insurance premiums after December 31, 2010.
  10. Return of the Marriage Penalty. Married couples filing jointly will no longer get equal tax breaks compared to non-married couples who file separately.

Based upon these facts, expiration of the Bush tax cuts will have a dramatic affect on many of the people in the first district. Looking at the 2000 census statistics alone, you see that 42.2% of those living in the first district will see an increase due to the return of the marriage penalty. Using those same numbers, 62% live in owner occupied housing. You would have to assume that at least 5% of that 62% (3.1%) pays some sort of mortgage insurance which would increase their tax burden. Additionally, 26% of the total population of the first district is under the age of 18. This means that a good chunk of the taxable population would lose the additional child tax credit. The amount of people is difficult to estimate due to not knowing how many children there are per household and whether or not those children have both parents living at home. That said, even if somehow every household had just 2 children per household, this would affect 91,109 households or 14.7% of the district.

The numbers I have put up here are staggering. In this day and age, $2,000 can still mean a lot of money. It can mean being able to afford sending your kids to private school or even homeschooling your children. It can mean being able to afford a home improvement. Or it could just mean padding your savings account for a rainy day.

Without a budget in place, it is imperative for the first district and the country that the Bush tax cuts continue.

Run the numbers for yourself using the calculator. It WILL scare you.

Now is the time to educate your friends and family. Don't trust that the Congress will do something. Get on the phone and demand to know what your representative is going to do. Demand to know if they are going to push to extend the tax cuts or what their plan is. Let them know that you WILL hold them accountable come November if they do not take care of you, their constituent.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Now On To November

First off, I want to congratulate Robyn Hamlin on winning the primary to run against Lacy Clay. She and Martin D. Baker both had good primary showings. I talked to Martin earlier today and he wanted to "thank all of the wonderful people who helped through this adventure and will continue to support the conservative movement and true conservative candidates". Martin had more to say which I will discuss in an upcoming post

I also want to take a moment and congratulate Candice Britton on a well fought race. Candice had the tough challenge of taking on an incumbent within her own party. Candice was able to secure 19% of the Democrat vote during this primary. With few funds and a lot of hard work, she was able to do a lot. I think this shows the level of dissatisfaction voters have with the current Congress.

With that said, it is now on to November. Robyn Hamlin vs. Lacy Clay will be on the ballot for the November election in the first district. Not to be a wet blanket, but we need to now talk facts. Here are the numbers being reported for Tuesday's vote.


PartyVotesVote %

Clay, Lacy (i)




Britton, Candice




Hamlin, Robyn




Baker, Martin




Works, Marshall




Stone, Julie




Cunningham, Robb




As you can see, Lacy has a commanding lead in the vote totals. He took nearly 60% all votes coming in. I know he is the incumbent, but that means we are going to have to work harder and be even more diligent.
The public needs to be made more aware of how he is not working for the people, but instead for special interests and himself. There is enough out there to show his ineptitude. Simply look at:
  • his convienent relationship with the rent to own and cash advance companies
  • his desire to not be held accountable by the Congressional Ethics Committee
  • the documented waste of money in this years census of which Lacy is the Congressional chairman of the committee in charge
  • His support of the Federal Health Care
  • The mysterious campaign payments to his sister
  • His lake of ethics when it comes to taking corporate campaign contributions from companies he rallies agains.
My friends, now is the time to unite and bring down Lacy. We can bicker with one another about certain policies, fiscal reform, etc. I welcome those debates. I encourage those debates. But now is not the time for people to take their ball and go home. We have a candidate in Robyn who has the potential to bring Lacy down. We are all responsible adults who love our country and want to see it prosper. We want everyone to have the chance to succeed and fail. Lacy wants everyone to have guaranteed success by making those that have succeeded fail. We can't afford that. Let us all stand together to help and support Robyn.
Let me tell you a quick story. At my work, there is a small group of us that are all varying degrees of right of center, some more than others. On the day of the elections, a couple of people were talking about voting for Ed Martin. I was asked if I voted for Ed and I explained that I was in the 1st district. Both of them basically sighed and said," ooooh, that's Lacy Clay. You will never be able to get rid of him."
That statement right there is why Lacy continues to win. The perception is that he is a guaranted win for the Democrats. In Robyn, we have a politically active, small business owner, who can step up and talk about everyday scenarios. She can talk to the issues everyone is facing because she is facing them too. Lacy wants everyone to think he is unbeatable, so no one tries. Those that do are not able to get the support needed because everyone thinks it is a no win situation.
So, here is what we need to do.
  1. Everyone needs to call Lacy Clay's office and ask for debates between him and Robyn.
  2. Everyone needs to start talking up Robyn as the alternative to Lacy
  3. Donate. Donate. Donate. We all need to donate either our time, our money or both. Pick up a yard sign, a car magnet or something.
  4. Stay alert to what is going on. Lacy and his team will be out there robo calling or making statements about Robyn. If you hear these things or see them, pull out your cell phone and take a picture/video. Email me and we will get it out among the people.
  5. Host a get together and invite Robyn or one of her staff. If you are having a big enough get together, call a Jamie Allman, Dana Loesch or Gina Louden and talk about it on one their shows.
These are just a few things that we all can do. This is our district, not Lacy's. Let's take it back for all of the people and not just a select few.
So, what do you think? Are you in?