So when I was a junior in High School, my US History teacher told one of the best stories I ever heard about the rich. Well, about one rich man in particular, Andrew Carnegie. If you don’t remember, he was an American Industrialist who led the US Steel Industry in the latter part of the 19th century. He challenged Rockefeller as the richest man in the world. Carnegie spent the first half of his life earning his wealth, and then spent the latter half giving it away. According to my teacher, Carnegie pledged publicly to distribute his wealth back to the people. So one day, a man walked into Carnegie’s office and demanded to speak with him. Mr Carnegie told his secretary to let him in. So the man confronted Andrew and said, “I want my share of your wealth!” Andrew said, OK. He asked his secretary what his current net worth was, did some quick math on the number of US citizens, and gave the guy one dollar and thirty seven cents and told him to get out of his office. I love this story, because it has much a larger meaning. Andrew Carnegie made a lot of money in his life. His story is not perfect. No ones is. But Andrew Carnegie did some amazing things with his money. He built 3000 libraries across the US. (One in my hometown of Hillsboro, OR.) He funded pensions for his former employees. He built 7000 organs for various churches. He built and operated Carnegie Hall to support the arts. He donated millions to education including the Tuskegee Institute for African American education. Through his businesses, he helped build America. Through his charitable giving, he improved education, access to the arts, and ultimately the lives of millions of Americans. Now if he would have given everyone a $1.37 and did nothing else, just imagine how much poorer this nation would be today.
When I first started working at DSU Peterbilt & GMC, Inc, I washed trucks for minimum wage. $3.75 per hour if I remember correctly. It was not a dream job. Climbing on top of semi trucks trying to clean bug guts off of windows is actually not as fun as it sounds. But it was a job and I was thrilled to have it. I worked hard and tried to provide a value to my employer. My schedule was flexible around my schooling since I was only 15 when I started. I learned a lot. I learned responsibility. I learned to work with others. I learned how to problem solve and how to prioritize. I also learned how to drive an 18 speed by the time I was 16 and the company helped me get my Commercial Driver’s License when I turned 18. My wage went up slowly. Slower than I would have liked, but I realized that what I was doing was not that skilled. I washed and drove trucks. Most people do that on a weekend during the summer without pay. Now as I learned things to make myself more valuable, my wage went up. But there is a limit how much you can pay a person to wash trucks. It’s not a $50,000 a year job. Heck, it wasn’t even a $10,000 a year job back in 1991. I knew if I wanted to increase my income, I needed to move into a more skilled position. And that is what I did.
Now take a look at today where people are demanding extremely high wages for low skilled entry level jobs. It is not that what they do is unimportant. On the contrary, those jobs need to be done. And it is not that what they do is easy. As a matter of fact, those jobs are often labor intensive. But much like washing bugs off of windshields, most anyone can do them. In order to justify higher wages, there must be an increase in skill. But many entry level workers don’t understand this. They think they are simply entitled to higher wages. Well, if they want higher wage for low skilled jobs, that will merely cause inflation and everything will cost more. Just like when I made $3.75 an hour and a value meal at Mickey D’s was about 3 bucks. Now wages and Mickey D’s have more than doubled. But still an hours worth of work buys you a value meal. So increasing the minimum wage doesn’t let you buy more stuff. You just pay more for the stuff you buy. And the government is a fan of this because for those who don’t understand such things, they appear as a hero handing out raises. And as a side benefit, it forces people into higher tax brackets meaning the government takes in more tax revenue. So the moral of the story: Work hard, Improve your skills, and never trust anyone who says they are from the government and they are here to help.
So let me get this right. In order to get more people into college, we have given out taxpayer backed loans to people who can’t afford to pay them back even with the degrees they have earned. By lending out unlimited amounts of money. we have allowed the colleges to artificially increase the cost of education without impact on attendance, Does this sound familiar? It is because this is the exact same problem that caused the housing market to collapse. We lent out money to people who could not afford to pay the loans back, but in the mean time, it caused a massive increase of home prices. And when it all crashed, we the taxpayer ended up footing the bill.
This time the problem can not be blamed on the banks. This time the government loaned the money itself. You want to solve the cost of higher education, quit handing out money to anyone who asks. Lending standards are put in place because with everything comes risk. But our leaders have chosen to risk our tax dollars to improve their reelection efforts. My name is Brian Heinrich and I am self financing my own campaign for US Congress. I don’t risk other people’s money.
The housing crisis in Portland will never be solved by its current elected leaders. In fact, it is those officials and their excessive regulation that is exacerbating the issue. Prices are going up due to an increase demand for housing and a low supply. This is basic economics. It is like buying something on Ebay. When there are multiple bidders for an item, the price goes up. Nobody says Ebay sellers are greedy. They are selling something at a price another is willing to pay. To reduce prices, you need to increase supply. Or like on eBay, you hope for multiple sellers. But what has the local government done to increase the supply? Nothing. In fact, they impede it. They draw an imaginary line around the Portland Metro area and call it an urban growth boundary. This artificially restricts the supply of land available for development and thus, increases its cost making it less affordable. Next they threaten fees to potential developers if they cut down trees or tear down old homes to build new ones. Not a great way to entice investment into the community. They then have zoning laws restricting what the developer can build on the property. Minimal parking if near a Max line. Mixed use retail/residential is also required. Density requirements. Not to mention other added building features to make the city “more livable” whatever that means. These all add costs at the developers and ultimately the buyers expense. Then there are the permits and impact fees and what have you. Costs rise before the earth is even turned and the builder sees an ever diminishing return on investment. Why would you build in Portland when there are plenty of other cities that are friendly to developers and appreciate the rights of property owners. Then to top it off, the City of Portland is now attempting to tell landlords they must give a years notice on rent increases and limiting how much it can increase. That is not going going to attract more rental units into the market. In fact, it will reduce them as people will simply sell the homes rather than deal with excessive rental regulation. That is especially true with the high property values right now. If the city really wants to end the housing crisis, they need to quit working so hard to “fix” it.
So there is an old Russian parable called Boris’s goat. Two men, Boris and Ivan live almost identical lives. Both married. Both work. Both have two kids. The only difference is Boris has a goat and Ivan does not. One day Ivan is walking down the road when he comes across a lamp. He rubs the lamp and a genie pops out. The genie says, “I will grant you one wish. What is it you desire?” Ivan thinks for a moment and says, “I want Boris’s goat to die.”
We live in an amazing country. We are free to work where we choose. We are free to practice our own faith. We are free to speak our minds. Anyone in this country can go from poverty to wealthy in a single generation. We have so many freedoms that we take advantage of everyday and think nothing of them. But the class warfare that our political leaders are using to divide us is threat to these freedoms. We think that we are “making things fair” by demanding the theft and redistribution of wealth. But all we are doing is trying to kill Boris’s goat. By creating victims and excusing bad decisions, our political elite have championed mediocrity. The bitterness and jealousy that has become the rhetoric of our political debates appears to match that of Ivan’s. But we are not Russians. We are Americans. We do not make others sacrifice for our desires. When we get knocked down, we do not wallow in self pity or blame others. We pick ourselves up and try again. We celebrate the success that is the result of hard work. Jealousy is for those who have nothing. We as Americans truly have everything. After all, we are the greatest nation this world has ever seen. It is about time we start believing that again.. My name is Brian Heinrich and I am running for US Congress.
Have you ever heard of the Community Reinvestment Act? It was a bill passed by President Carter back in 1977. The law was supposed to pressure banks to give more loans to low income people in urban areas. A bill with very good intentions. But good intentions do not mean positive results. The law was largely ignored by Presidents Reagan and Bush. It was not until the Clinton Administration that it was really enacted. President Clinton asked the Fed to put pressure on the banks to comply with the law. I think he did this for two reasons. First, I think Bill Clinton genuinely cares for those less fortunate. A very good trait to say the least. Secondly, I think it was to show support for a great deal of his voting base. This was done in his own self interest, but again, I think it was done with the best of intentions. Well this law forced banks to lower their lending standards. If they failed to do so, the Fed would block mergers and deny charters. A threat they lived up to when they checked the first bank for compliance during the Clinton Presidency. The banks did not want to lower their standards because people below those standards often failed to pay back the loans. To assist in removing the risk away from the banks, the government backed mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac purchased many of these loans. Since the majority of risk of default was removed from the banks and put on other investors, there soon was no downside to sell a loan. Hence predatory lenders got into the business. Bad people always show up when there is free money being thrown around. Soon the creation, bundling and selling of home mortgages became a business of fraud and or ignorance. We can blame the finance sector for the corruption. But it was forced regulation and coercion that set the stage for the biggest financial collapse the world has ever seen. A lot of movies have been made about this story including The Big Short. They talk of the arrogance and deception of the big finance banks. But most fail to answer the primary question. Why did the banks start selling bad loans in the first place? The answer is, The Government told them to. Here is Bill Clinton talking about it back in 1998, ten years before the Community reinvestment Act really took off and ultimately destroyed the economy and the lives of millions. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTZIB6Sika4
A friend of mine who lives in Arizona went down to the US/Mexican border last week and took this picture. Yes, this is what the border looks like there.
So, When I fly to Long Beach, California from Portland, Oregon, I am body scanned, dog sniffed, and hand swiped. My bags are x-rayed. I have to take my shoes off, discard my pocket knife that I forgot to leave at home and am forced to dump my beverages. As an American flying from one state to another, I am told this is done for my safety. But a non American can enter our country through an unsecured border which appears to be pretty easy to do from the photo. They are not sniffed nor scanned. They get to keep their pocket knife and Starbucks and whatever else they choose to bring. Their bags are not inspected and they get to do it all with their shoes on. What the heck is wrong with our elected leaders? This is not racist. This is not unreasonable. This is a matter of safety and security for all Americans.
It is often said, “Those who seek power rarely deserve it.” That has probably never been more true than in this year’s Presidential Race. I find it amazing how a nation with over a hundred million people to choose from got stuck with what we have left. A friend of mine told me a few years ago that he thought we should not have elections for President, Senators, or Representatives. He thought a better option would be a lottery or possibly drawing straws. Whoever gets the short straw has to serve his or her time. When the term is over, they come home and some other poor sap has to go. In reality it is probably not a bad idea. Their efforts and votes would not be purchased by swayed by financial supporters. They would not be in DC long enough to get corrupted and overstay their welcome. And they could not make any worse decisions than the people we currently elect. Maybe this isn’t a crazy idea afterall. But since this election cycle is already in motion, I would appreciate your support in becoming the first Republican in over 40 years to serve as Representative for Oregon’s First Congressional District. Please “Like” my facebook page, find me on Twitter and share my thoughts with your friends and family. As I am self funding my campaign, I truly appreciate your support..
President Obama recently said, “this is a success of diplomacy” when discussing the Iran nuclear deal. Well anything is a success if you place the bar low enough. I once had a goal of asking a girl out that I worked with. I walked up and asked her. She turned me down. But that’s OK, because according to the President….it was success. The goal was to ask, which I did. The outcome did not matter. So his goal was to get a nuclear deal signed. It did not matter if it was a good deal or a bad deal…success was achieved in signing. Who cares if we removed sanctions which allows them access to military equipment? Who cares if we allow them to develop nuclear technology “for electricity” even though they don’t need it due to controlling one of the largest oil reserves in the world for energy? Who cares if they violate human rights or discriminate against women and homosexuals? Who cares if they are the world’s biggest sponsor of terrorism? Who cares if they deny the holocaust and want to see Israel wiped off the face of the Earth? These were not the President’s goals. His goal was to sign a deal and he got it done. Great Britain’s Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed a similar deal with Hitler in 1938. Neville Chamberlain got it done! In the video attached he brags of his success and flashes the paper document with Adolf Hitler’s signature. 11 months later Hitler started WWII. If you truly want to achieve greatness, you must reach for it. You must know what you need to do, and settle for nothing less. The current representative for Oregon’s 1st District Suzanne Bonamici, the one I intend to replace, voted in approval of the President’s deal. Evidently she would rather accept mediocrity than try to achieve success as well. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sj7b7ufh9tQ
What is the correct climate? Have you ever thought of asking that question? Either to a politician, a Scientist, or an Environmentalist? They all scare us with the fear of climate change. The politicians tell us they need our tax dollars to invest in “green” technologies. The scientists tell us they need more money to study and experiment. The Environmentalists demand more money and more regulation to force us to change our lifestyles. But you know what they all have in common? None of them know what the correct climate is supposed to be. Because there isn’t one.
The last ice age began about 1.8 million years ago and ended around 12,000 years back. That is a long time by anyone’s standards. Fast forward a few thousand years and there was a time called the medieval warm period. That happened around 950AD. Temperatures rose and stayed there for around 300 years. While it was warmer, the increase in temperatures caused plant life to flourish and the planet to become more “green.” But then came the “little ice age.” The period from 1300-1850 where the relative temperature decreased substantially. The temperatures then began to increase into the 1940s and then decreased again through the mid 1970s. Since then, the temperatures have been rising until about the last decade where the have stayed relatively stable. So why would temperatures drop before the industrial revolution, increase slightly as it began, and then slowly drop as industrialization started to really pickup after WWII? Some scientists say it had to do with solar activity. Others say it was due to increased volcanic activity and air pollution which blocked the heat of the sun (never mind the greenhouse gases) In the 80’s we blamed in on Rock Bands and teenage girls for using too much hair spray.
The truth is Water Vapor is one of the most plentiful greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It dwarfs CO2 by comparison. And if you compare the amount of CO2 man creates to the amount of CO2 the Earth produces naturally, it is shocking what little impact we have on that number. Now I am not saying you should go out and remove the emissions controls off your diesel pickup so you can go charging up highway 26. What I am saying is read both sides of the argument. People often cite greed as being the primary motivation for business to take shortcuts in regards to the environment? But everyone is greedy. The Politicians who want to grant favors to financial supporters are greedy for your tax dollars. The scientists who need government funding to continue their research are greedy as well. The environmentalists who need funding to finance their efforts, pay an ever increasing organization, and influence government regulation also have a strong tendency towards greed. To claim one party is greedy and another is not is just not true. So next time someone tells you that we must do something about climate change, dont panic. Simply ask them, “What is the correct climate we are trying to achieve?” I personally like a nice 80 degree day with a light cloud cover.