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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 7/7

I found two easy solutions that may help eliminate or reduce some of the bad habits of America’s Cultural Revolution that have plagued the United States since the 1960s—poor diet and damage caused by the self-esteem movement.

The first solution comes from the 25th Anniversary Edition of The Costco Connection.

In Being Bob Harper, The Costco Connection asked, “Is how you eat today different from when you were growing up?”

Harper’s answer was yes. He said, “I had to reprogram how I ate and what I ate from how I used to eat.”

In addition, Harper said, “People don’t like change. People get nervous when they have to actually look at themselves…” However, “we have a lot of bad habits that simply have to be broken.”

Harper’s advice is to drink lots of water at each meal. He describes a real breakfast as oatmeal (I suggest steel cut oats), eggs (one a day and not fried) or plain Greek yogurt, doctored up with berries and nuts, apples and berries every day along with other fibrous fruits…

In fact, WebMD lists foods that Boost Your Mood and Energy Level. For example: apples, avoid sweets while eating whole grain and whole-wheat bread; cashews, almonds and hazelnuts; Brazil nuts, salmon, leafy greens, fiber, water, and fresh produce.

Traverse Bay Farms also says, “Bananas are one of the world’s finest foods for supplying fuel energy.”

Harper says, “If I had to place it on a priority list, nutrition would be number one and exercise would be number two.”

The second solution that may help reverse the damage caused by the false self-esteem parenting method comes from a book I read years ago, which I used to guide me through changes in my lifestyle to rid myself of a few habits I did not want.

What To Say When You Talk to Your Self by Shad Helmstetter, Ph.D. was released in hardcover in 1986. Parents and want-to-be parents are urged to follow the advice in this self-help book and change those bad habits that might lead to raising children with an inflated, false sense of self-esteem so they do not grow up to be narcissists eating a poor diet and valuing fun over merit.

In fact, Helmstetter’s advice may help people change an unhealthy lifestyle so exercise and healthy food become a daily routine—a healthy habit.

The book’s description on Amazon says, “You don’t have to be crazy to talk to yourself! We all talk to ourselves all of the time, usually without realizing it. And most of what we tell ourselves is negative, counterproductive and damaging, preventing us from enjoying a fulfilled and successful life. Shad Helmstetter’s simple but profound techniques, based on an understanding of the processes of the human brain, have enabled thousands of people to get back in control of their lives (it worked for me). By learning how to talk to yourself in new ways, you will notice a dramatic improvement in all areas of your life. You will feel better and accomplish more. It will help you achieve more at work and at home, lose weight, overcome fears, stop smoking and become more confident. And it works. Helmstetter is a bestselling author of many personal growth books, and the leading authority in the field of Self-Talk.”

“What to Say When You Talk to Your Self” also comes as an audio version. If you buy a copy, listen to it a few times before you start improving your life and the future adult life of your child or children.

Return to The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 6 or start with Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 6/7

Once Americans left the farm where they grew and ate their own food without it being processed and turned into pop tarts and cheese puffs chased down with a 64 oz. Coke, the quality of the American diet went into a nosedive at the same time that the US needed its population eating a healthier diet due to the growing need for a literate, educated workforce.

There is a benefit that comes from eating a healthy diet that helps a child/teen earn a proper and better education.

The WSIPPA report said that high school graduates earn 24% more money over their lifetime than non-high school graduates and it is estimated that high school graduation reduces the chance of future adult criminal activity by about 10%.

In fact, the US Census Bureau in 2010 reported that the median earrings for full-time, year-around workers aged 25-64 by educational attainment was about $35,000 annually for high school graduates (that median is about $10,000 less for drop outs), almost $56 thousand for people with Bachelor’s Degrees and almost $70,000 annually for Master’s Degrees. A professional degree earns a median of almost $102,000 a year.

According to Wise Geek, “A professional degree is generally a college degree that allows you to work in a certain profession. There are some types of employment that are not open to people without a professional degree. For instance you can’t be a doctor, a nurse, a physician’s assistant or nurse practitioner without obtaining the appropriate degrees first. In most cases, some fields require a professional degree before you can even be considered for hire in your chosen career.”

As you can see, for most Americans, working hard to earn an education pays for a lifetime.

If America wants its public schools to improve, parents must do their job first and feed their children’s brains proper nutrition, make sure the child sleeps nine or more hours a night and shuts off the TV weekdays and limits TV on the weekends while limiting social networking Internet time to one day a week for an hour or two at most.  And lock up the video games, the MP3 players, the iPods and there is nothing in the Declaration of Independence or the US Constitution that says a child has to have a mobile phone.

So, ignore the blame game—the attacks on teachers unions and the anti-public school propaganda from politicians and media pundits such as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh, which are misleading, avoid the truth and are a danger to America’s future.

Do you believe that feeding children a poor diet that has too much sugar and bad fat in it will lead to higher earnings and good health when those children are adults?

If you said “NO” to the previous question, there is a solution, a way to change the situation—to turn a bad aspect of America’s Cultural Revolution around. If you said yes, then you are a lost cause and possibly an Internet Troll (a narcissist) with a brain that was damaged by a poor diet and lack of exercise.

Continued on June 10, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 7 or return to Part 5

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 5/7

According to Washington State Institute for Public Policy (WSIPPA – March 2005) the high school graduation rates in the United States in 1870 were less than 5% of school age teens. In 1940 that number reached 50% and by 1960 reached 70% where it started to fluctuate annually a few percent (single digits) one way or the other.

The reason for the need of a better educated population today is because we are no longer an agricultural country. In 1870, 74% of the population lived on rural farms and it doesn’t take a lot of science, math and literacy to farm [before farming became high tech].  By 1990, 75% of the US population had moved from the country to the city.

Along with this shift in rural to urban population centers, parenting methods went through a metamorphosis. In 1870, children were considered property and could be forced to work hard labor on the farms or be sold into servitude to work in coal mines or factories.

The Child Labor Public Education Project says that it wasn’t until 1938 that for the first time, minimum ages of employment and hours of work for children were regulated by federal law. Before that, children were treated as if they were property—treated as if they were slaves.

Parallel to these changes came the self-esteem movement that had its start in the 1890s and by 1960 was the  common practice of the average American parent (about 40% of all parents) to inflate a false sense of self esteem in children while pressuring the schools and teachers to do the same through grade inflation, doing away with rote learning, and dummying down the curriculum so it was easier for children to earn higher grades and feel good about themselves. In addition, having fun is now more important than merit.

The result, generations of young American narcissists that believe they are entitled to have fun and watch TV, eat what they want and not what they need, and have unlimited freedom to play video games, listen to music and spend as much time as they want social networking on sites such as Facebook.

If you have noticed that I am sometimes repeating myself from post to post, you are right. Rote learning does work and helps students remember important facts instead of forgetting them daily. Do you know who America’s 16th President was or its 32nd President and the significance of these two men?

When we ignore the lessons that history teaches us about our mistakes, our leaders (and parents) tend to make the same mistakes again and again.

Continued on June 9, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 6 or return to Part 4

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “E-mail Subscription” link in the top-right column, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

 

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 4/7

Perri O. Blumberg writing for Shine reported on foods that make you dumb. I’ve known about this for some time. There has been plenty of reputable research on this topic for years–for decades.

In a recent animal study, UCLA researchers found that rats fed a solution of fructose had a harder time navigating a maze, a sign of slowed learning and memory loss, compared to a second group of rats who were given the fructose solution as well as omega-3 fatty acids, which are thought to have a brain-boosting effect. The researchers suspect that the fructose-only diet decreased brain activity because it affected insulin’s ability to help brain cells use sugar to process thoughts and emotions. Certain omega-3 fatty acids may buffer the brain from the harmful effects of fructose.

A diet high in “bad” saturated fat may hurt brain function, according to new Harvard research published in the Annals of Neurology. When researchers studied the eating habits and tested the brain function of 6,000 women for an average of four years, they found the women who ate the most saturated fat scored lower on tests of brain function and memory.

A recent British study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology found that chewing gum during a memorization exercise impaired participants’ short-term memories.

After teaching for thirty years, this is what I learned from about 6,000 students by working with them and through obeservation. In addition, I discovered (by asking questions of my students) that the average American child/teen does not eat breakfast, hates water, loves soda, loves French fries and cheese pizza, hates to read, hates to do homework, uses the excuse that the teacher was boring not to study or pay attention in class and then most of America blames the teachers when the child does not remember what he or she was taught.

In addition (and I’ve written about this in detail before on this Blog), studies also show that the average American child/teen spends about 10 hours a day dividing his or her time watching TV, listening to music, playing video games, spending time on social networking sites such as Facebook, sending endless text messages, etc. If this is true, when do those children and teens find time to read, do homework and study?

At the one high school where I worked, after the soda machines were installed, the students were drinking about 2,000 cases of soda a week. There were 24 Cokes to a case and about three thousand students. Do the math. How many Cokes did the average student drink a week at that high school while classes were in session? It cost $1 for one soda and the district was paid 50 cents for each sale.

If you do the math, it works out to three Cokes a day per student. One 12 oz can of Coke has 39 grams of sugar x 3 = 117 grams. However, one 20 oz bottle of Coca Cola, which is what they sold out of the vending machines at the high school where I was a teacher, has 65 grams of sugar or 195 grams for three bottles.

Meanwhile, the average American parent (about 40% of all parents representing an influencial block of voters) continues to inflate a false sense of self esteem in his or her children while pressuring teachers to find ways for the kids to have more fun, feel successful in class by inflating grades and dummying down the curriculum while doing away with boring rote learning, which is necessary for some subjects such as spelling, the rules of grammar and mechanics, math, science and the history of the United States in addition to how the US government works.

How does a child/teen know what the Constitution means when he or she cannot remember what it says?

Continued on June 8, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 5 or return to Part 3

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 3/7

To show how the average American (including children and teens) are getting dumber, let’s look at today’s average American diet.

USDA.gov reported that in 1950-59, the average consumption of fats and oils was 44.6 pounds per capita.  In 2000, it was 75.6 pounds. That was almost a 70% increase in bad fat and oil consumption.

However, total fruit consumption only improved 12% while total vegetable consumption improved 26%. Meanwhile 75% of Americans are now fat and a third obese.

The USDA also reported that consumers eat too much refined grain; too little whole grain. Per capita use of refined flour and cereal products increased by 75%. According to the survey only 7% of Americans ate the recommended three or more servings of whole-grain foods a day.

In addition, America’s sweet tooth increased 39% between 1950-59 – 2000 as the use of corn sweeteners octupled (eight times). In 1950, high fructose corn syrup consumption (the most unhealthy sweetner  choice) was zero.  By 2000, high fructose corn syrup consumption was 63.8 pounds per capita (mostly in sodas such as Coke).

The USDA says Americans have become conspicuous consumers of sugar and sweet-tasting foods and beverages. As for the U.S. Beef and Cattle Industry, in 2011 it was worth 79 billion dollars. The US beef, milk and dairy producers are the largest in the world. There are about one million people that work in this industry. In addition, around 3.5 million work in the fast food industry and Americans spend more than $110 billion for fast food, while the impact of the sugar industry on the US economy adds up to over 142,000 jobs and nearly $20 billion in economic activity in the US alone.

Next, how does a bad diet impact the average child’s ability to learn?

Continued on June 7, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 2/7

An example of America’s continuing Cultural Revolution was reported on ABC News: “The mother of an 8-year-old Arizona girl who was presented with a “Catastrophe Award” for apparently having the most excuses for not having homework believes her child was humiliated by her teacher.”

So what!

When you scan the comments for this ABC piece , many sound like these, which I copied and pasted from the ABC News piece:

  1. “Where has this MOTHER been? why hasn’t she been      aware that her daughter hasn’t been doing her homework? Why is she going      on t.v. to complain about this issue?”
  2. “The mother wasn’t aware that her daughter had a      problem with homework? Maybe she should have gone to a parent/teacher      conference or two. But no. She goes on TV to cry and complain. At least we      know where the daughter gets her talent for making excuses.”
  3. ” It is not the teachers responsibility to have a      child do homework.. it is the parents! If a parent is having trouble      taking time in the evening to help her child than she needs to hire a      tutor.”
  4. “The mother should be more aware of what her child      is doing at school……I’m sorry but kids have homework every night maybe the      mother should go through her back pack once in a while. I’m so sick of      parents no being responsible for their children’s ACTIONS!!!!!”

As you can see, it is obvious that this mother was not doing the best job she could but she is not alone. In fact, she represents the average American parent as you shall discover. If you are reading this, I hope you are not one of those average parents.

Liberty.edu says, “Overall, most findings have shown parental involvement, whether at home or at school, have a moderately significant relationship with higher academic achievement, and this relationship has been found consistently across demographics (e.g., ethnicity, sex, or socioeconomic status) and measures of achievement (e.g., achievement tests, grades, and grade point averages). Research points to the conclusion that “parental involvement is an important predictor of children’s achievement in school” (Englund et al, 2004, p. 723).”

In addition, “A 1999 survey of St. Louis kindergarten students revealed that while 95% of the parents rated reading as very highly important, only 16% of the parents were reading to their children each day… .

“Parental involvement tends to diminish as children move to higher grade levels. In 1996 and 1999 surveys, 86% of parents with children in grades K-5 reported attendance at a scheduled meeting with their child’s teacher. Contrastingly, among children in grades 6-8 and 9-12, only 70% and 50% respectively had parents who attended meetings involving their child’s teacher (U.S. Department of Education, 1994).” Source: Parent and Teacher Perceptions of Effective Parental Involvement – A dissertation presented to The Faculty and School of Education Liberty University

 

A few comments criticized the teacher for giving the child an embarrassing award but most were similar to the few examples posted here.

What will it take to educate the average American parent to understand a parent’s responsibilities to raise and educate children?

However, there is another aspect of this topic that is more important than an eight-year-old that earned a negative award for not doing her homework.

Continued on June 6, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

To subscribe to “Crazy Normal”, look for the “E-mail Subscription” link in the top-right column, or click on the “Following” tab in the WordPress toolbar at the top of the screen.

 

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The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 1/7

One could argue that America’s transformational Cultural Revolution started in 1861 at the start of the American Civil War which ended slavery in the United States in 1865.

In addition, the way the average American parent raises his or her children today, and how the public schools operate and the character of the average American child are all affected by this continuing revolution.

Several significant changes track this Cultural Revolution and metamorphosis—some good and some bad. After all, America’s leaders and citizens are only human. To understand this ignored revolution, one should know a few facts about US history first.

Good changes are in bold print showing improvement.

If the print is gray, the change is questionable.

If in italics, it means BAD things happened!

1. In 1800, about 6% of the US population lived in cities and more 94 % lived on farms and/or small rural communities. By 1990, almost 70% of the rural population had migrated to cities.  This change took place due to the US Industrial Revolution (1820 – 1870), and America needed more educated citizens.

2. In 1850, life expectancy by age in America at birth was 38.3 years. By 1900, life expectancy at birth reached 48.23. In 1990, it was 72.7, and by 2012 (according to the CIA Factbook, life expectancy for all races and both sexes had reached 78.49 (ranked #50 globally).

3. Although critics of public education harp on the so-called low high-school graduation rates in the US, in 2007 the national graduation rate was almost 70%. However, to put this into perspective, in 1870, the high school graduation rate was less than 5% and by the turn of the century in 1900, thirty years later, only 7%. Forty-five years after that at the end of World War II, the rate was up to 55%. It wouldn’t be until 1970 that we would see the highest graduation rate at 76%.  After that, it leveled off and hasn’t changed much and fluctuates a few percentage points up or down.

4. The Chinese Exclusion Act was signed into law on May 6, 1882. This act was one of the most significant restrictions on immigration in U.S. history and focused on all Asians.  The act also affected Asians that had already settled in the US before it became law.  This Act would not be repealed until December 17, 1943—sixty-one years later.

5. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 26, 1920 establishing a woman’s right to vote. This movement started in 1848 and took 72 years to achieve.

6. For more than one-hundred-and-sixty-two years, Children in the United States could be sold by their parents into servitude to work in coal mines and factories up until the Fair Labor Standards Act in 1938, which set federal standards for child labor.

7. During World War II, 120,000 Japanese-Americans lost their homes and businesses when they were rounded up and sent to dozens of prison camps where they languished until the war ended (February 1942 – 1944; the last prison camp closed in 1945.)  This act was challenged in the courts but the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the U.S. Government.

8. In 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 ending segregation in the US armed services: “”It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.”

9. From roughly 1950 – 1954, McCarthyism was the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, subversion or treason without proper regard for evidence. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and became the subject of aggressive investigations and questioning before government or private-industry panels, committees and agencies. This movement was so popular that 50% of the American public supported McCarthy’s vigilante witch hunts.

10. On July 2, 1964, President Johnson sings the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  It was the most sweeping civil rights legislation since Reconstruction prohibiting discrimination of all kinds based on race, color, religion, or national origin.

11. The Spread of American Imperialism: the war with Mexico (1846-48) where the US seized New Mexico and California; the US Indian Wars (1865-1891), which cost the lives of about 19,000 white men, women and children, including those killed in individual combats, and the lives of about 30,000 Indians; in the Spanish-American War (1898) the US gained Guam, the Philippines and Puerto Rico; Philippine-American War (1899-1902); Banana Wars (1898-1935); Moro Rebellion in the southern Philippines (1899-1913); Vietnam War (1955-1975), and the Iraq War (note: this is not a complete list). In addition. to maintain this empire, according to the US Department of Defense, the US military maintains 662 foreign sites in 38 countries around the world. Other sources claim that number is more than 1,000.

Now, just as America need smarter people, the average US citizen is going in the other direction from dumb to dumber, and this change is a continuation of the American Cultural Revolution that has been taking place since 1861.

However, this revolutionary change has to do with how the average parent raises his or her children, and it had its roots with John Dewey in 1886. It would take 82 years for this negative element of America’s Cultural Revolution to reach critical mass when by the late 1960s self-esteem was a fashionable and influential idea and that movement, which spread to the schools by the 1980s  led to grade inflation, an end to rote learning in addition to dummying down the curriculum.

Continued on June 5, 2012 in The Good and Bad of America’s Continuing Cultural Revolution – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga.

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What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 3/4

My goal in Part Two was to show what caused the national debt, why it keeps growing larger and who bears the most responsibility of that debt.

Now I will return to the CalSTRS “Retired Educator Winter 2012” newsletter, which said, “Statewide, CalSTRS benefit recipients (I’m one of them, and there are more than 200,000) received $6.03 billion in payments in 2006.  The economic ripple effect in the form of job creation as those benefits were spent totaled $9.22 billion, according to a 2007 study by the Applied Research Center at California State University, Sacramento.”

None of this was borrowed money. Educators paid a percentage of their gross earnings into CalSTRS during their working years as I did. This money was invested and earned interest, which was more than $30 billion for 2011. This money does not contribute to the national debt.

In fact, California’s economy gained $6.71 for every single dollar committed to pensions by employees, employers and taxpayers and each dollar also generated 44 cents in government revenues.

Furthermore, according to the Pensionomics: Measuring the Economic Impact of State and Local Pension Plans, these pensions support 2.5 million jobs and $358.6 billion in economic activity.


Does this sound as if the wealthy are funding the start up of small businesses?

For example, in 2006 in California, 976,233 state residents received a total of $23.52 billion in pension benefits from state and local pension plans… The average pension benefit received was $2,008 per month or $24,097 per year… Retiree expenditures stemming from state and local pension plan benefits supported 205,221 jobs in the state. The total income to state residents supported by pension expenditures was $15.1 billion.”  Source: Pensionomics – National Institute on Retirement Security (and this was just public sector pensions)

Then, according to Retirement USA, one in five private-sector workers is covered by a traditional pension while 55% of people 65 or older rely on Social Security for half or more of their income—the median income for older households with Social Security and pension and annuity income was $32,105 in 2008, not including earnings from work.

In addition, CalSTRS ended 2011 with net assets of $155.34 billion and that money isn’t sitting around gathering dust. Those billions are invested and earning money. To earn money off those investments, means someone else made money too and this generated jobs.

The CalSTRS newsletter says 53% of those billions were invested in Global Equities, which is a category of mutual funds in which investments may be made in stocks of corporations throughout the world. A portion of the fund’s assets are usually committed to American markets, although the major portions are held in equities of developing countries

In addition, 17.6% of CalSTRS funds were in Fixed Income accounts, 14.8% in Private Equities, 12.1% in Real Estate, etc.  When CalSTRS earns money from those investments, that means those investments also earned money for businesses and created jobs for Americans and for the citizens of other countries depending on where the money was invested.

However, where do the wealthy that benefited from the Bush tax cut keep most of their money?

Continued on March 2, 2012 in What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 4 or return to Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 2/4

It is a tragedy how fast most Americans forget the root causes of the current financial challenges in America.

Three lawmakers, all Republicans, introduced the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act to the U.S. Senate.  During the debate in the House or Representatives, a democrat from Michigan argued that the bill would result in banks becoming “too big to fail” (sound familiar). At first, most democrats were against the bill but eventually, due to compromises, the effort of corporate lobbyists and deal making, many democrats were won over to vote for it.

Keep in mind that the Republicans won a majority position in both houses of Congress in the elections of 1994, and controlled both houses until 2006—except the Senate for most of 2001 and 2002, when the Democrats held the majority in that one House of Congress.

Therefore, in 1999, Republicans were the majority in both houses of congress. When the final Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act passed in the Senate, the vote was 90 to 8 (92%) and in the House 362 to 57 (86.3%)

Even if President Clinton had wanted to veto it, which he didn’t, he wouldn’t have succeeded since a two-thirds majority vote (66%) in both Houses of Congress is required to override a presidential veto. Since the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act arrived at the White House for President Clinton to sign with more than a two-thirds majority vote in favor, there wasn’t much he could have done if he had wanted to.

Then, during the Bush years (2001 – 2009), the United States launched three expensive wars: The Iraq War—based on false claims of Weapons of Mass Destruction—the war in Afghanistan, which was mostly neglected under Bush, and the global war on terrorism.

Due to these wars and the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the national debt exploded.

I’m sort of going off topic with this paragraph, but I saw “Act of Valor,” which is about the Navy Seals and the CIA fighting the global war on terror. I recommend “Act of Valor”. The acting may be a bit stiff but that is not the point. The realism makes this movie worth watching. This is no Rambo or Mission Impossible. “Act of Valor” is closer to the reality and what America’s Navy Seals face as they fight to protect America. Politicians and corporate lobbyists might be corrupt and greedy for power and money, but America’s men and women mostly from the working class serve in the military out of patriotism.

Back on topic—President G. W. Bush, with help from the GOP majority in both Houses of Congress, lowered taxes for the wealthiest Americans (the lowest rate in almost 80 years—the last time the rate was this low was before the Great Depression and experts say this contributed to that economic collapse).

On February 9, 2012, the official debt of the US government had reached $15.4 trillion—an increase of $5.9 trillion since President Obama moved into the White House. While the GOP blames Obama for that debt during an election year, we must not lose focus on how much Obama inherited when he was elected president.

According to the Huffington Post, lowering taxes for the wealthy costs the U.S. Treasure $11.6 million every hour.

Total, the cost of the Bush tax cut for the top 5% of income earners since 2001 is more than one trillion dollars, which is about $100 billion annually. Source: Cost of Tax Cuts.com

Interest from the national debt, which President Obama inherited from Presidents Reagan, H. W. Bush and G. W. Bush is about $400 billion annually. Source: US Debt Clock.org

On top of that $500 billion annually, the wars G. W. Bush started has cost more than $1.3 trillion since 2001—that’s another $130 billion. Source: Cost of War.com

However, the cost was more than just money. According to the Congressional Budget Office, since combat is being financed with borrowed money, the price tag for these wars is not over, and if Bush had not gone to war over false claims of weapons of mass destruction  in Iraq, 4,482 Americans would not have been killed; more than 32,000 would not have been wounded (medical care for these wounded combat veterans will costs hundreds of millions in the decades to come); about 114,000 Iraqi civilians would still be alive and Iraq has cost more than $800 billion so far.

In addition, CalSTRS probably would still be funded close to 100%, as it was in 2001, for future obligations to its 856,360 members, while the 429,600 active members paid about $3 billion dollars into the retirement fund in 2011—money taken from monthly paychecks of working educators.

Continued on March 1, 2012 in What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 3 or return to Part 1

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 1/4

Since I’m a member of the California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS), I receive the “Retired Educator,” a quarterly newsletter.  The topic of this series of posts was motivated by the 2012 Winter edition.

To earn my monthly CalSTRS check, I first had to work thirty years as a classroom teacher in California’s public schools while 8% of my monthly paychecks went into CalSTRS to help fund that retirement system, which proves that it is not an unearned entitlement as some might want the nation to believe.

In fact, according to the 2011 Summary Report in the newsletter, contributions from members, the State of California and the federal government, which is why we cannot collect Social Security, was almost $6 billion in 2011. About half came from working members.

In addition, I do not earn an annual six-figure income through CalSTRS. In fact, when I left teaching in 2005, I took a 40% pay cut, as most teachers do, and lost my medical plan, because I could not afford the cost of COBRA, which was more than $1,000 a month.  Add another 14 years working outside education, and the total number of years I worked for a pay check was forty-five.

I discovered from that “Retired Educator” newsletter that CalSTRS lost $53.95 billion between 2007 – 2009 while President G. W. Bush still lived in the White House, but earned back $36.92 billion (2009 – 2011) with President Obama.  Note: CalSTRS did not receive bail out money from the federal government. That money mostly went to big private sector banks—not retirement programs such as CalSTRS.  If you want to know where the money went and how much, CNN.com shows you.

I’ve read that total losses globally were in the trillions. One financial Website set the total at more than $60 trillion US dollars. In China, alone, about 20 million people lost manufacturing jobs leading to labor unrest in 2008 and 2009. In the US, that number of job losses was about nine million.

Even though the CalSTRS newsletter didn’t say so, I learned that the wealthy do not create most jobs as Republicans claim—the working class creates most jobs by spending what little they earn, while the wealthy hoard most of their money in safer investments than those needed to create jobs as you shall learn from this series of posts.

However, I have an old friend that keeps telling me we cannot raise taxes on the wealthy one percent and/or the top twenty percent (those earning $55,000 or more annually—6.24% earn more than $100,000), because it will stop job growth.  He also happens to be a neoconservative-libertarian, evangelical Christian.  He despises liberal and progressive politics and policies.  He has said more than once that he believes G. W. Bush may have been America’s greatest president, and if anything bad happens in America, it is the fault of those evil liberal-progressive Democrats.

It doesn’t matter what the facts reveal. Anything that does not match his opinions/beliefs are liberal lies. He also listens faithfully to the conservative  Dennis Prager radio talk show and belongs to and attends Dennis Prager Fan Club meetings.

Conservative talk radio in the United States is a phenomenon that got its start in the 1980s when the Fairness Doctrine was allowed to expire under President Reagan (he vetoed it after both Houses of Congress voted it into law). This veto then allowed broadcasters to present a political opinion or point of view or pundit (mostly lies, exaggerations and misinformation) without being required to allow equal time for alternative views or rebuttals. The ideology that benefited the most from the loss of the Fairness Doctrine was conservative talk radio shows such as Dennis Prager’s.  See Prager’s Parrots to learn more.

My old friend and Prager fan has also said that he wouldn’t mind if Social Security were repealed as long as the government refunded him the money he paid into the system—and this comes from a guy that lost a half million dollars in the stock market after saving that money in tax sheltered retirement accounts. Later, he had to do battle with the IRS for years because they came for their share of that tax-sheltered money that he borrowed from his tax shelter and gambled away.

No matter what this old friend believes and preaches as if it were one of the Gospels, I’ve learned that what put America on the road to ruin causing the 2007-2011 global financial crises has more to do with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act repealing the Glass-Steagall Act of 1933 (this was the final nail in the coffin), which deregulated banking, insurance, securities, and the financial services industry, allowing financial institutions to “grow very big”.

The repeal of the Glass–Steagall Act of 1933 effectively removed the separation that previously existed between investment banking, which issued securities, and commercial banks, which made money through deposits.

The deregulation also removed conflict-of-interest rules that had prevented investment bankers from serving as officers of commercial banks.

It was the repeal of these prohibitions that was later claimed by many to have contributed to the 2007 global financial crises by allowing depositors’ money to flow into risky investments, and according to the Huffington Post, in the first 15 months after the start of the 2007 global financial crises, American Retirement Accounts Lost $2 Trillion and the federal government did nothing to slow the tide of those losses as they bailed out banks and the auto industry.  By the middle of 2009, those losses may have climbed as high as $4 trillion, which is much more than the $54 billion CalSTRS lost.

Continued on February 29, 2012 in What the Numbers say about Creating Jobs in America – Part 2

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Lloyd Lofthouse is the award-winning author of The Concubine Saga. When you love a Chinese woman, you marry her family and culture too. This is the love story Sir Robert Hart did not want the world to discover.

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