Sunday’s win by the New England Patriots over the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX, their 3rd win in the past 4 years, has solidified this team as this millenium’s first NFL dynasty. Coach Bill Belichik and quarterback Tom Brady (both off to the NFL’s best postseason records) are but two of many outstanding teammates on this well-rounded team. While the first half was a defensive battle, punctuated by very untimely turnovers by both sides, the second half saw the Patriots open up a lead that proved to be insurmountable.
“I don’t know what happened,” said Donovan McNabb, quarterback for the Eagles. “We were having a pretty good game. New England is the type of team that likes to open things up early, and when the first half ended 7-7, I thought we had a pretty good shot.” Head Coach Andy Reid spoke up next. “Coming down the stretch, though, we really had it rough. (Patriot Kicker Adam) Vinateri and his “Field Goal for Truth” put us down by 10 points, and that late in the game, it was just something we couldn’t overcome.”
While they openly congratulated the Patriots on their win, there are strong feelings among many of the Eagles that the Patriots don’t really have a mandate to traipse about the country proclaiming themselves “NFL champions.” “You know, we scored more points againt the Patriots than any other team had since February 1st. And, of all the points scored in the game, we scored almost 47% of them,” an unnamed teammate said. Another chimed in, “Really - can they really go around saying ‘We won’ when they only won by 6%? These folks are just arrogant.”
And, while the Eagles are grousing about the closeness of the game, other sections of the country are complaining about being disenfranchised. “You know, this was really a regional game - Boston and Philadelphia are just 300 miles apart! Hopefully we can avoid this disenfranchisement next year. Heck, with us going 2-14 last year, we’re trying to make sure the NFL doesn’t disenfranchise us,” said Mike Nolan, recently named head coach of the San Francisco 49’ers.
Warren Sapp of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was more direct. “For New England to say they are ‘World Champions’ is ludicrous. Did they play anyone from Canada? Mexico? Europe? I don’t think so. These commentators talking ‘dynasty this’ and ‘dynasty that’ are really [torquing] me off.” His tone changed a little when asked about his XXXVII (2003) Super Bowl ring. “Well, you know, we really had a tough season that season. To come in with a new coach, and overcome losses and fines, that meant something. I don’t think those goody-two-shoe Patriots have had a dollar of fines in the whole lot of them.”
Is this true? Of course not. The Patriots won fair and square, after a hard-fought contest, and by a slim but adequate margin. No one would dispute their claim to the 2004 NFL Championship. Sadly, similar claims by those in the political arena are true. Think about this the next time you hear a DNC talking head prattling on about “no mandate” for our President. (And, for those of you that think the above just isn’t really all that funny - don’t worry, I’m not quitting my day job.)
John Kerry and John Edwards (“Kedwards” hereafter) are making some significant claims about their plan for this country, and using some pretty strong but rather hackneyed rhetoric to get their point across. The term “demagoguery” is defined as “impassioned appeals to the prejudices and emotions of the populace.” Democrats are renowned for this, from the “New Deal” to Clinton’s famous “I feel your pain,” Democrats base a lot of their policies on what they can spin to appeal to emotions, rather than facts. Let’s take some of these areas, specifically some of those having to do with economics, and see why, I believe, Kedwards is wrong for America.
Tax Cuts for the Rich - This has been a favorite claim of Democrats for ages, and it shows a basic lack of understanding regarding basic economic principles. The biggest thing that Democrats have wrong is their belief that taxes are the governments, to be “given back” to the people. Taxes are the people’s money, given to the government to fund needed programs, such as national defense, highways, etc. Tax cuts are not “giving back,” they are letting people keep more of their money.
Another problem with their rhetoric is that speaking of taxes in dollar amounts is inherently going to sound skewed to someone who isn’t paying attention (which, sadly, represents a lot more of our current electorate than we’d like). Imagine that there are two people - one makes $10,000 a year, and the other makes $200,000 a year. In this imaginary world, everyone pays 10% taxes. This means that person A pays $1,000 in taxes a year, and person B pays $20,000. Now, here come the media reports about a budget surplus, and Congress and the President decide to cut taxes by 1%. Person A saves $100, and person B saves $2,000 - in both cases, a 10% reduction in the total amount of taxes they have to pay. If you use Democrat thinking, person B got 95% of the tax cut.
Tax cuts benefit everyone. Those who make more, by virtue of simple mathematics, will receive a larger amount reduction whenever tax rates are lowered. However, these are also people who will use this money to reinvest in our economy, either through business expansion (which leads to more jobs), investments in stocks and bonds (which helps fund the economy), or through charitable donations (which improves the quality of life in local communities).
Another point on tax cuts - sometimes a reduction in the tax rate can actually increase tax income. If done correctly, tax cuts don’t have to be “paid for,” they pay for themselves. If a gas station lowers its price for unleaded gasoline by $.02 a gallon, they will more than make up for their $.02 loss with their increase in volume. Taxes work the same way - when the rates are reduced, the economy grows; so, while we all pay less rate-wise, we pay more in real dollars. Everyone wins.
Minimum Wage Increase - Yet another favorite topic, and another place that Democrats don’t understand economics. A wage is a negotiated contract between employee and employer. Most often, all negotiating is done on the part of the employee, as an employer would say “Here’s a job, and here’s the pay - want it?” Very few people are raising families on minimum wage, and in their “average annual minimum-wage salary” statistics, the Democrats are including teens, college students, and spouses who work as secondary wage earners in their household. When the government interferes in business by forcing them to pay their entry-level workers more, what do the businesses do? There are either fewer entry-level jobs, or the products and/or services the company produces begin costing more.
There is one segment of the population who benefits from minimum-wage increases - union members. Many union contracts stipulate their wage in relation to the minimum wage - when it increases, their wages increase as well.
Corporate Tax Loopholes - Again, more cries of how these evil corporations are trying to get out of paying their taxes. And, yet again, this is a place that the Democrats don’t just get it. They miss it because, economically, there is no such thing as a “corporate tax”. There is a finite amount of money in this country, and corporations only have money if they extract it from the general public. The most common method is by providing a good or service for which people will give their money. With this money, they have to cover their operating expenses, the cost of the good or service itself, the cost of paying their employees, and what is left is called “profit.” Under the current structure, they also have to pay taxes with that money, which eats into profits. The company sets their price based on a few factors, two of which are desired profit, and the market value of their good or service.
With that, what happens when the government takes more money from the corporation? Who pays that tax? The general public, that’s who. Corporate taxes make everything cost more, while giving no benefit to the economy whatsoever. All they do is penalize success.
(Things have been pretty crazy here lately - lots of work and family events, with little free time. I hope to have time to attack some other lines from Kedwards in the next few days.)
The Republican Party is missing an opportunity this week in New York. I don’t think it’ll be a fatal mistake, by any stretch. Britney Spears, former virginal Mouseketeer who has become a bit more sensual as of late, is a Republican. There had been some folks considering inviting her to the Republican National Convention to entertain the delegates. However, some groups within the RNC claimed that her presence would send the wrong message to the nation.
Britney has, in the past, done much to make the nation blush. From her appearance on Nickelodeon’s Kids Choice Awards wearing a white tank top and no bra, to her kiss with Madonna last year during MTV’s Video Music Awards opening act, from her initial video that some said played on the “naughty schoolgirl” image, to her more recent videos that are quite sensual (the award-winning “Toxic” being bounced from daytime play on MTV after the Super Bowl incident), she has given folks plenty of room to develop these concerns. For many of these folks, the straw that broke the camel’s back was her 55-hour marriage last year.
However, Britney seems to have turned a corner. She’s been dressing a bit more conservatively (and, no matter what she wears, she’s still going to be smokin’), and she seemed to be willing in initial overtures to her to perform at the RNC. The inclusiveness already demonstrated at the convention is great, and I think that a Spears appearance would have gotten the GOP some votes among younger voters. And, with class acts such as Martina McBride and Faith Hill there for her to hang out with and learn from, who’s to say that an invitation might just have been the acceptance that she needed to continue her transition to becoming a real woman.
Acceptance is a powerful motivator, especially to someone who is trying to make a change. Jessica Simpson originally wanted to be a Christian singer; but, due to her well-endowedness, no Christian label would sign her. How different would her life and music be if she had received encouragement from the Christian community, and spent her teen years among Christians, instead of out in the pop world?
The true irony in all this is that Kid Rock was invited to play an after-party at the convention. If Kid Rock can lend his support, why not Ms. Spears?
John Kerry - I can’t believe that we have an anti-war activist running for President who is actually being taken seriously. I also can’t believe that the self-same anti-war activist is running for President on his war record. I guess now that the military is back in vogue, the Democrats like it.
Gov. Jim McGreevey - At least he has more respect for the state of New Jersey that Bill Clinton had for the nation. Although it’s now coming out (no pun intended) that the cause is corruption more than his penchant for those of like gender, his stepping down is the right decision. (He is muddying the issue with his “I am a gay American” schtick - that link has a very interesting take on that part of the situation.) I think he should step down immediately, though, rather than his political ploy of not stepping down until after the election.
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth - Keep on keepin’ on. McCain-Feingold is unconstitutional, and will be ruled as such by the time the next election rolls around. It’s amazing that no one was upset when these 527 groups accused President Bush of poisoning pregnant women (a charge that is repeated on the Democrats’ own web site [scroll to the bottom]), but let them use facts to challenge something a Senator says, and now they need to shut up. (Still no call for moveon.org to stop their ads…)
President Bush vs. Catwoman - Sharon Stone recently said that because of President Bush, there wasn’t a lesbian kiss between she and Halle Berry in the movie Catwoman. I’m not quite sure I buy that - why would arch-enemies be kissing in the first place? And, if our President could control Hollywood, wouldn’t he be using that control to silence the hateful drivel from Michael Moore and his ilk? Sharon Stone has had plenty of opportunities to play oversexed bisexual characters (in fact, wasn’t that her first big role, in Basic Instinct?).