Friday Five March 23

This week, I focus on what is commonly known as “ObamaCare”, or the Affordable Care Act and more generally, my political beliefs.

The Supreme Court will take up oral arguments on Monday and they have allotted 3 days to this bill. This is a nod that they understand just how important and pivotal their decision will be.

Early speculation is all over the board on this. Predictably, those who favor a single-payer, government-run health care system are saying that the court will decide in favor of the individual mandate (found unconstitutional by the 11th Circuit Court but constitutional by the 6th Circuit Court). Those who oppose it predict the opposite. Both sides, however, are united in one aspect: the vote will be close – likely 5-4. The Obama administration is confident that they will prevail. So much so, that they don’t have a Plan B should the individual mandate be struck down and moreover, they’ve not even argued that the mandate is severable from the rest of the law. I think that those who oppose it have the better argument, but logic often doesn’t sway the mind.

My take on this law is this: if left in its’ current state, it will A) bankrupt an already financial weak government (you and me) and B) will forever change the nature of the relationship between the citizen and the Federal Government. It will set the stage to wipe out whatever is left of the enumerate powers doctrine and in the long run, will make the state governments virtually meaningless. Under the commerce clause, there will *nothing* that the Federal Government won’t be able to compel its’ citizen to do. If our mere existence on this planet constitutes participation in an economy that the Feds can legislate, then say good-bye to any sense of freedom.

I know my liberal friends are rolling their eyes right now and wondering what planet I was born on. That’s fine. But I’ll go out on a limb and predict this: If the individual mandate is upheld as constitutional, Congress will have no restraint whatsoever on its’ continuing thirst for power. In their arrogance, they will feel that they can regulate and dictate any part of our lives they choose. I’m not kidding. In the 230+ years of our country, I can’t recall one single Congressional term where they voluntarily relinquished power to the states. They have totally ignored the 10th amendment – with the help of the supreme court – and the states have progressively become more irrelevant over the last 10-15 decades. What does it matter what your state does? The Feds control the purse strings ever since I can remember as a way forcing the states to do what they want.

In addition, in short, I fully disagee that Congress should have the power to compel the individual to participate in a particular type of commerce in order to then regulate your actions either within that commerce or that might affect that commerce.

We are at a pivotal point in our history. This isn’t about helping those who can’t help themselves. There were plenty of other ways for Obama to get what he wanted without this going to the Supreme Court. He could have passed a national tax and redistributed that money to government-run health care programs. He could have setup or reformatted DHS with a supporting tax that could have accomplished *everything* he wants. But instead, he chose to go this route. He and his team *knew* what they were doing. It’s not a reach of logic to conclude that this method was chosen because not only did it create a national health care plan, but they wanted it in a way that once implemented, it could *never* be reversed. Changing the balance of power is a sure way to ensure that once you have the power, you won’t let it go.

Republican and Democrat congresses alike have asserted too much power over the states. The 10th amendment is clear, but the states haven’t pushed back. Both Republican and Democrat Presidents have asserted power that was never theirs to assert. For example, do you recall Nixon fixing prices? The constitution didn’t give him this power, yet he took it on himself and no one challenged him on it. Bush 43 and Obama both started or perpetuated wars without congressional approval. Congress bitched about it, but did little in the way of real accountability to stop them. It’s about power, my friends, and this law – under the guise of improved health care – is the biggest power grab I’ve ever seen. Once they control your health care, they have you well and truly by the short hairs. Under the guise of improving health and lowering costs for everyone, they will tell you what food to eat, how often you should exercise, what amusements you can and can’t enjoy, what risks you can and can’t take – even what parts of your religion will be deemed compatible with their ideas of “healthy” and what parts aren’t. You might laugh and write me off. But I’m not kidding. They will control every part of your life. What car you drive, if you can shoot a gun, what sports kids can play in, if you smoke or not, what foods you consume, what kind of cell phone you can use, etc… , because (in their minds), everything you do is related in one way or another to health care and everything you do is an act that falls under the commerce clause.

I don’t care about party affiliations anymore. What I care about is limited government, preserving our Federal system and ensuring that power divided is power checked. I’ll vote for anyone of any party who espouses a view of freedom over equality of results. Obamacare is an example of equality of results.

On a larger point, here is what I believe about politics:

  1. God is in control. Period. In spite of all our problems, I can rest in His sovereignty.
  2. Government’s primary role is to preserve individual freedom and ensure justice. (I don’t believe there are different types of justice such as economic or reproductive justice. Properly understood, justice is a base concept, not divisible by topical focus)
  3. Government should focus on the equality of opportunity and not equality of results
  4. Individuals are endowed by *God* with certain rights that only a Godless government will take away
  5. Socialism is first a Godless system
  6. There is a law given by God that is above our laws
  7. The concepts of private property, self-responsibility, honesty, a strong work-ethic, profits and bankruptcy – all are concepts found in the Bible.
  8. The more a society jettisons God in the public square, the more they move toward socialism because Government replaces God.
  9. We loan to the government power to minimally restrict our freedoms for the greater good
  10. You don’t help the employee by hurting the employer
  11. Bankruptcy is the proper remedy for bad business decisions
  12. Freedom is messy. There is always collateral damage in a free society. There is also collateral benefit in a free society.
  13. Referencing #11, In a socialistic society, you have the former without the latter.
  14. You don’t create wealth through government spending
  15. You don’t create wealth through redistribution of income
  16. Governments never allocate resources as efficiently as the free markets
  17. Power divided is power checked
  18. The government does not exist to solve my problems or remove my pain
  19. Profits are good when earned fairly and lawfully
  20. More guns in the hands of law-abiding citizens reduces violent crime
  21. Government does not have the capacity to “care”
  22. In our system of government, the quality of our government is directly related to the integrity, character and maturity of those we elect into office
  23. Redistribution of wealth to achieve social goals *will* fail in the long run
  24. Every society needs the rich
  25. You cannot spend more than what you have and remain solvent
  26. Well written laws applied fairly without prejudice is a core part of a solid foundation for a good society
  27. I will defend your right to non-violently disagree with me, because that is also a core part of a solid foundation for a free society
  28. God gives us the right to defend ourselves.
  29. Long-term welfare – whether corporate or individual – creates a dependency class that votes in conflict with their own interests
  30. There is a place for proper public/private investments in innovation *IF* the innovation can be proven to be profitable within a short amount of time
  31. #29 and #30 are not contradictory
  32. Classism (hating someone because of their success in life) is just as morally wrong as racism or sexism
  33. It is wrong for politicians to pit one class against another for political gain
  34. It is wrong for politicians to pit one religion against another for political gain
  35. The need does not constitute the reason for another government program
  36. Governments license it, legislate it, regulate it and tax it. It doesn’t really matter what “it” is.
  37. Governments have little self-control.
  38. We elect our government officials, but God chooses our leaders. Did I mention that God is in control?


Bill English, CEO

Friday Five, March 16

Ok – now this is just plain cool, if you like economics and Twitter. The Federal Reserve has finally started their own twitter feed.

After reading 90 Minutes in Heaven over a year ago, my outlook on life continues to be different – more eternal. So much of what we do and invest ourselves in doesn’t matter. When you read through Revelation – the only book in the Bible that is given to describing future events while giving us a glimpse into the activities in heaven, what I learn is that those in heaven are so very unconcerned with what is going on here on earth. Their focus is on the Lord and what He did to redeem us. While we do need to “occupy until He comes”, I would encourage anyone who feels overly concerned with activities on this earth to read this book. Our time here on this earth is so very short. Focus on the future – lay up for yourself treasures in heaven – and you will not find yourself gaining the whole world while losing your own soul.

I hear that college students can now get scholarships at major universities for their ability to shoot. My son is very interested in Hillsdale while my daughter wants to attend Notre Dame. I don’t know that either school has a shooting team, but it’s interesting to see how the shooting sports are taking hold at the high school and college levels. By the way, I’ve heard nothing but good comments about Hillsdale’s Constitution course. I’m going to sign up myself.

I’ve been wading into the Twitter area more – reading tweets on what is trending world-wide. I’m struck by how real people are – how transparent they are. And I’m struck by how much life hasn’t changed for these kids. Mostly young people, really, are using this method of communication. I followed recently the trending hashtag #ireallyhateitwhen, and the comments were remarkable: “…my friends act differently around me” or “…people don’t give you the time of day”. Most of the tweets were about interpersonal relationships and nearly all of them were born in the soil of pain. My heart goes out to these young people. How do we reach them for Christ?

Finally, I’ve had several people ask for the.opml file that describes the sources I follow to stay abreast of what’s happening. Please email me at if you want the file and I’ll email it back to you.  I would attach it to this post, but WordPress doesn’t allow me to do this.

Bill English, CEO

Friday Five, March 9

Most people feel unappreciated at work and at home. Be sure to take a few moments and say “thank you“.

I’m not sure I agree, but it’s an interesting read on how procrastination drives innovation.

The danger of a President believing he can kill US Citizens is bad enough. But when he believes he can do it without any restraint or oversight, this becomes the essence of a dictatorship. Make no mistake – this goes well beyond socialism. No President should be able to kill any US Citizen he deems necessary. It’s not right. If I were to write here that it’s OK to kill the President because I don’t like the color of his tie, it would be fully understandable if I were condemned. But I don’t advocate this because it is morally wrong. Our President is not above this law. He should submit to the Constitution and to basic moral law – he doesn’t have this right and every American of every stripe should oppose him and his stupid legal arguments. This is dangerous to our future as a nation.

Speaking of something that is just wrong, when I read about the efforts of Gregg Williams to purposefully harm opponents, I was furious. This isn’t the NFL I know. I fully agree with Fran Tarkenton – Gregg Williams should never been seen in the NFL again. What he and his players did is the same as MLB     players doping up to hit the ball farther. Drugs has no place in sports – neither does dirty play that purposefully harms the other players as a way to win. In business as in life, we have to believe that how we play the game is as important, if not more important, than whether we win or not. I never thought that Bill Belicheck should have been allowed to stay in the sport after being caught at cheating. I put Gregg Williams in the same camp. Sorry Saints fans. But your Super Bowl win was purchased through devious means. It doesn’t count, IMHO.

You know, some things you just can’t make up. Pat Robertson’s days on TV should be over, IMHO.

Bill English CEO,

Friday Five for March 2

There are stories that you just can’t make up. This is one of them. This is another one.

Leave it to the lawyers to take away my warm car seat     when it is -20°. Is there anything for which they won’t create a product liability class-action suit?

Apple is not only the most valuable company in the world, its’ market value has now topped $500 billion. By the time you read this, they will have clocked over 25 billion downloads from their web site. By contrast, Microsoft’s value is barely half that of Apple at $266B. Read this on why Apple passed Microsoft and decide for yourself if you agree with the authors. What is ironic is that Microsoft infused $150M of cash into Apple roughly 10 years ago to keep them going.

For my friends in Minneapolis, this is a rare chance to interact with the Federal Reserve Chair. Take advantage of it if you can.

The battle continues in the courts over Chicago’s restrictive gun laws. Illinois is the last state in the union to have no permit-to-carry laws of any kind.

Bill English, CEO

Leadership and the Kings of Israel

For my devotional times, I’ve been reading through 1 Kings. While there are a number of lessons that could be elicited in such a study, I’ve been struck with how often the king is assigned responsibility for leading the people of Israel into sin. Here is an example:

26 [Nadab] did evil in the eyes of the LORD, walking in the ways of his father and in his sin, which he had caused Israel to commit.

Even Zimri, who reigned for only 7 days, was charged with causing Israel to sin (16.15-20).

What I take away from this is that leadership, in God’s eyes, is a serious thing. The actions of those who model you or I as leaders accrue to us in a moral sense. While they are also responsible – so are we. This is consistent with the larger Doctrine of Concurrency, which asserts that while God is sovereign and completely responsible for what happens on this earth, we are equally responsible and God holds us accountable for our sin and rewards us for our righteousness.

As business leaders, we need to remember that God holds us responsible to fully model the character of Jesus Christ in the workplace. To the extent our actions lead others into sin, God will hold us accountable.

Bill English, CEO