Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The federal government and tobacco

Smoking is a tough issue for me, though I am not a smoker. Close family members and friends have been smokers in the past and while I did not like that they smoked I recognized that it was their legal right to do so. I have watched people in my life quit and I have seen first-hand how difficult it was for them.

I am all for education for young people in the dangers of smoking. Much like I am in favor of teaching healthy eating habits and the dangers of heart disease and diabetes as a consequence of poor eating choices.

The federal government requires that tobacco products carry a label that warns of cancer, now they would like to require labels on all packs one of which looks like this:

The new packaging law requires that 20% of the packaging must be the new warning label. There are other requirements in the law for education, marketing and advertising. For the full MSN article on the new legislation and the lawsuit in response you can click HERE.

My problem with the whole thing is that it is still legal to purchase and use tobacco products. If this is a legal product, why isn’t the government trying to shut the entire industry down rather than tell the company how to spend advertising money?

The answer is threefold. First the tax loss is more than they can stomach at this point. The second is the guarantee of money going into advertising, marketing and packaging. The third is the amount of jobs that would be lost in a market that can take no more hits.

Until tobacco sale is no longer legal I refuse to accept the argument that the burden to the healthcare field is the driving reason for the new regulation. If that were true, tobacco sale and consumption would be illegal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Reality TV

Reality TV or shall we say Trash TV.

Hollywood has always done a great job selling lifestyles. Sitcoms from the 50’s made us think that all moms wore heals and pearls to cook dinner and that all kids needed to do when they got in a jam was confess and the punishment was to miss dinner and all would be forgiven in the morning.

Somewhere along the way TV got “gritty”. Wholesome went off the air and teen pregnancy and drugs became the new norm. Moms were mean, thin and yelled a lot; dads were overweight, dumb and submissive.

As if this was not bad enough MTV started a show called the Real World, the premise being stick a bunch of kids in their early 20’s in a house together and start the cameras rolling. The audience was led to believe that they “forgot” about the cameras and what was on film was how these people really live.

Now we have shows about housewives, musicians, pregnant teens, polygamist, tattoo artist, restaurant owners, pawn shop owners and the list continues.

Let’s suspend reality for a moment and pretend that the people on these shows really “forget” that they are on camera, are any of these people normal everyday people? I hope not.

If Reality TV is real reality, it is no wonder test scores in our schools are dropping, jobs are being shipped overseas and people are losing their homes.

The thing is, reality TV is not real. I don’t know anyone who behaves like one of the Real Housewives or a Kardashian. Buying into the reality of these shows excuses and glorifies bad behavior. Suddenly spending thousands of dollars for toddler cloths on a shopping trip seems normal. Jumping from man to man and bed to bed seems like no big deal.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Tax our way out?

One of the best pieces of advice I was given early in my career was to live as if you did not just receive a raise.

It is the American way to spend the money that is available. While that is not the wisest thing to do sometimes that cannot be helped. Young families and individuals right out of college need their entire pay check just to make ends meet. Inevitably a person gets a raise and buys a new car or moves into a bigger house starting the cycle of overspending. Between the first raise and the second raise it is unlikely that the new car or the house is paid off, but the need for bigger and better escalates as the years go by.

Enter the New American way.

At some point the individual is no longer spending the money they are making but they are now spending credit on what they “will be making”. We are seeing now what happens when there is a job loss or a pay cut.

The government has been living beyond its means for a generation and they want more from the American people. But where will that money go? Will it be used to pay off the debt that we owe? Doubtful, the raise will be used for pet programs and social services under the guise of job creation and jumpstarting the economy.

Until we elect responsible officials to office any raise that we give will be spent to up the lifestyle of those in office.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Free Free Free

Free healthcare for all

Free housing for single moms

Free education for college students

Free breakfast for kids

It may be “free” for the individual accepting the service but who really pays?

Taxpayers are stuck holding the bill for services that they may never use and the individual using the service get stuck in a cycle of “free” goods and services that they will never "break free".

People enrolled in the “free” service programs have to stay below yearly income, so there is no incentive to ever make more. We are raising a society of college educated young people who are going to continue to receive free social services under the guise of a helping hand up.

But at what point should people be held accountable for their own lives? There is a vast difference in helping someone get back on their feet and people living off of the system for generations.

So who is the real looser in the deal, the voluntary population of slaves that we as a country have created or the tax payer?

Who benefits from a population living off of social services? Simply: Individuals running for office promising those free services.

So is it FREE FOR US or FREE US?

Friday, August 05, 2011

…and the people shake their heads

1. The city of Cincinnati has “enough” in the budget to consider a street car but wants to lay off police officers and fire fighters.

2. The President asking the American people to tighten their belts but raises the debt ceiling on the federal budget.

3. Spending $200.00 on concert tickets but complaining about $4.oo water.