Regulation Theory And Marxist Bankruptcy

I am enjoying my Fall reading. The Great Equalizer by David Smick has been an incredible source of ideas. Also, Entrepreneurship as Social Change has been a wonderful source of theoretical elements that I am adding as a foundation for my understanding of Entrepreneurship and Main-Street Capitalism.

I will, at a later date, explore the concepts of modernization and dependency perspectives, as associated with indigenous entrepreneurship, but as I was reading this morning I ran across the concept of Regulation Theory. According to the author, “Recognizing the increasing flexibility of modern economic systems. Regulation theory analyzes the global economy in terms of a series of modes of development based on combinations of the currently ascendant regime of accumulation and a variety of modes of social regulation.” The author continues this thought by defining terms. The regime of accumulation describes the production possibility of an economy. When there is great possibility there is a greater opportunity for both growth and redeployment of profit to meet various social needs. However, regulation will occur when the system goes through a change.

Regulation Theory posits something similar to a thermostat in an automobile. The “stability of the economy is dependent on the emergence of a further set of social relations that preserve it.” This sounds very similar to Democratic Capitalism. However, what intrigues me about this theory is its relation to history. It seems that we can see this dialectic occur in the evolution of our US economy. “Another aspect of regulation theory – its historicity – adds further strength to the argument of modes of social regulation, therefore modes of development differing considerably one from another.”

This argument is another way of looking at the evolution of our economy from agrarian, to unfettered industrial opportunity, to government regulation, and now to a new version of market stability, whatever it may be.

Some have called Regulation Theory a “currently-fashionable type of Marxist economic theory. I think this in conjunction with Marx’s dialectic of thesis – antithesis, and synthesis. Some have described this regulatory theory as medieval economic naivety resulting from feudal dominance (regulation). However, within the urban settings feudal regulation was weaker, leading to a more capitalist outcome. However, social regulation occurred through “rules about market days, and locations, who could sell what and when” (Fainatein and Campbell (2001). This illustrates the strong connection between economic freedom and the ability of people to regulate its expression.

There is a question why Regulation Theory was developed? Some would argue that it was developed by “Old-line Marxists” who “had gotten themselves into a lot of theoretical trouble on the issue of reproduction and the question of the social and cultural side of capitalism” (Fainstein and Campbell, 2001). From this I see two things. First, history has proven the bankruptcy of centrally planned socialist economies. Our current lesson is in Venezuela where we can see the results of a regime and its ability to destroy hope, initiative and innovation.

Second, this theory makes sense to me. The connection of the economy and society is strongly correlated. And as we can currently see, Corporate Capitalism is experiencing a strong social regulation. All of us are tired of the system being stacked against the people. This is why I am a strong Democratic-Capitalist. We the people have the ability to regulate our economic system. However, we the people also like our freedoms, and the freedom to own our property, and when we take a risk to reap the reward. If we lose that freedom we will lose our country, as we know it.

And that is my thought for the day!

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Bernie – Healthcare, Democratic Capitalism, Main Street Capitalism, Entrepreneurship, and the Kitchen Sink

Recently I was made aware of the red pill movement. It involves young people who are declaring their disconnect from the Alt-Left. They are saying they have taken the red pill, waking up and disconnecting from the machine, which is from the Matrix. I find this very encouraging. I love it when people decide to think for themselves and ignore the system, whether it is the Alt-Left or Alt-Right, to find solutions to the complicated problems we face.

One of those problems is healthcare. Bernie has proposed that all of our citizens go on Medicare. I am on Medicare and with my supplement I have found it to be exceptional. Of course, my supplement is very expensive. Analysts have stated that Bernie’s proposal will cost about $32 trillion over ten years. The federal budget in 2015 was $3.8 trillion. If we buy into an extra $3.2 trillion a year our national budget will be $7 trillion. I don’t think there are enough wealthy people in the United States to cover that amount. Therefore, every one of us will need to pay more taxes. Those who have disposable income will be able to weather the storm, but those that don’t will be adversely affected.

This means that the government will then need to raise minimum wage, create a basic income, which means small businesses will shut down, which means the government will need to make sure people are displaced from their homes, which means the government will buy all of the property, which means the government will provide our health care, wages, homes, thus destroying the initiative we have had in the past. Wait a minute, I think I just described Socialism – or even worse – Communism.

I know this isn’t going to happen, and I know that Bernie knows that his proposal will never be passed, but maybe, just maybe through the debate we can come up with a more reasonable solution to the healthcare fiasco in this country.

This brings me to my thoughts on Capitalism. I am convinced that the Capitalism young people are against is what we would call Cronyism. David Smick calls this Corporate Capitalism. This is a very different expression than what Democratic-Capitalism and what Main Street Capitalism is.

According to Michael Novak Democratic-Capitalism “is not just a system but a way of life. Its ethos includes a special evolution of pluralism; respect for contingency and unintended consequences; a sense of time; and a new distinctive conception of community, the individual, and the family.” In Democratic-Capitalism we see what Locke describes “as a novel and invigorating sense of human vocation.” Because we have the ability to take risk and receive reward and to own the means of production, we can experience initiative and growth.

What Novak describes is similar to what Smick calls Main Street Capitalism. In his book “The Great Equalizer” Smick states, “Americans feel besieged precisely because in recent decades, a Corporate Capitalism of top-down mismanagement and backroom deal-making has smothered their innovative spirit. Government and central bank policy now favors the big, the corporate, and the status quo at the expense of the small, the young, the new, the inventive, and the entrepreneurial. . . In response I envision a vibrant Main Street Capitalism of mass small business start ups and bottom-up innovation, all unfolding on a level playing field. Main Street Capitalism is the Great Equalizer.” Hmm, I like this.

In the first scenario we see large government stifling innovation and growth. In the second large Corporate Business environment is stifling growth. In either case we see socialism and capitalism leading to the same end “secular stagnation.

Therefore, the answer is better opportunities for entrepreneurs to thrive. According to Smick from 1952 – 2000 “the US economy grew at an impressive annual rate of 3.5%.” Not bad, but during the Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton years growth was over 4%. This was due to their ability to work in a bipartisan way. This is what we need today. We need the support the opportunity for small businesses to thrive. If we do that, maybe we can get away from 1.4% economic growth which is losing ground.

The last element of this blog offering today is the kitchen sink. By the way, that was a joke.

And that is my thought for the day!

Time To Start Writing Again

I just looked, and my last blog was posted July 4, 2017. That was over two months ago. It is time to begin working on writing a bit more. As I pondered what to write about today I thought through many topics. I could write a piece about DACA. I know several students who are covered by DACA. The only reason DACA was necessary was congressional inability. I am afraid that is what will happen now. I hope not because I do support the young people covered by DACA, I guess I am a dreamer supporter. So Congress, do the right thing and help them have a path to citizenship.

Or I could write about the level of hate in this country. Alt-Right and Alt-Left are terms that reflect the level of dysfunction that has developed. There is no place in this country for Nazi’s or White Supremacists, they are hate mongers who have been in existence far too long. We also have the Anti-Facists, Antifa, that are considered anarchists and really don’t care about meaningful dialog in any manner. So the left has their issues too.

However, both of those topics have too many voices inflaming the rhetoric, and I don’t want to add wood to the fire, at least at this point. Therefore, I have decided to write about my favorite topic Social Entrepreneurship. I have just come across a great book, Entrepreneurship As Social Change, which is the “third book in a mini-series of four publications called Movements in Entrepreneurship” (Steyaert and Hjorth, 2006, p. xi). I am finding this book an incredible resource providing theoretical foundations and strong arguments for this thing we call Social Entrepreneurship.

Some of you may not know but where I teach, Warner Pacific College, has a Social Entrepreneurship program that has been both strong and weak at the same time. I was having a conversation about this with my Vice President, and boss, and we came to an agreement that our students have no problem with the Social part of the equation, but the entrepreneurship part is not as strong. This has me thinking about what to do next? How do we fix this?

Obviously, the phrase social entrepreneurship connects business and social in a way that implies transformation. Joseph Schumpeter is his classic work Capitalism, Socialism, and Democracy, develops the entrepreneurial essence of creative destruction. He describes this process as, “The opening up of new markets, foreign or domestic, and the organizational development from the craft shop and factory to such concerns as US Steel illustrate the same process of industrial mutation – if I may use a biological term – that incessantly revolutionizes the economic structure from within, incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one. This process of Creative Destruction is the essential fact about capitalism. It is what capitalism consists in and what every capitalist concern has got to live in.”

This process of Creative Destruction is the life-blood of entrepreneurism. In 2009 the Economist demonstrated this reality in a section called Idea. It started the article with “Jean-Baptiste Say, a French economist who first coined the word entrepreneur in about 1800, said ‘The entrepreneur shifts economic resources out of an area of lower and into an area of higher productivity and greater yield.’ ” This definition has been applied to both entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship, which is consistent with Schumpeter’s postulate.

The reason I want to regroup and revisit my ideas of social entrepreneurship, and main street capitalism in general, is because of the continual frustration with economic conditions in our country. My greatest fear is our young are looking for the benevolent state to provide them with a basic income, instead of working hard for the American dream. Their reasoning for this is because they feel the deck is stacked against them. I know this a huge generalization, but as I am energized to read again, I see the wisdom in what David Smick has written in his book “The Great Equalizer: How Main Street Capitalism Can Create An Economy For Everyone.”

Smick states that world-wide debt has grown to $180 trillion, as of 2015, which he argues is not the really scary part. “Here’s what is really scary. Throughout the world, the return on capital, the rate or income received from an investment, is often so low there are serious questions about how long borrowers will be able to service that massive debt, particularly when their debt is denominated in strengthening US dollars.” This coupled with the reducing number of dollars available throughout the world has created a tenuous situation where “the majority of people believe their children’s future is at risk.” To mitigate this they look to the state for single payer medical insurance, basic income, and other gifts so they can be comfortable in life.

It is my argument that by grasping the power of entrepreneurship, and main street capitalism, we can reclaim the “economic dynamism” needed to improve our productivity from 1.4% to 3.2% annual average, and regain our previous standard of living for all. This dynamic entrepreneurial spirit can create both social and economic growth that will be the great equalizer. This is what I want to write about.

And that is my thought for the day!

I Am Proud To Be An American: Happy Birthday America!

Since the election I have been thinking about a lot of different things. Partisanship, big government-small government, Trump, Sanders, Alt-Right, and Alt-Left are things that continually run through my mind; am I political, not political enough, do I care about those who have not had the wonderful opportunities I have, or does it matter? I do know I believe in the right of people to own their own property, and I believe in the right of business people to own their own businesses and experience the reward of owning said business. In that case I am a Democratic-Capitalist. I also believe that business people can get a bit greedy, and therefore someone needs to watch how business is conducted. This is not government overreach, at least if it is done correctly.

The above is not what I want to write about, but thoughts associated with Democray. I just finished Condoleezza Rice’s wonderful work on Democracy. Democracy: Stories From The Long Road To Freedom is an excellent look at the messiness of Democracy. Rice states in the chapter entitled, 2016, “Democracy’s story is ever evolving. There are always new challenges, new responses, and new possibilities – good and bad.” I thought about this comment on the golf course today, especially in light of what is occurring in our country right now.

Many in our country think that our politicians do not represent our aspirations and fears. Rice emphasizes this is why the United States and Europe are facing strong populist movements. I remember during the election when I said I was not voting for either major party candidate, one side would tell me not voting for their candidate is a vote for the other, and the other side would say the same thing. Thus, I agree with Rice. “Some write darkly that these trends constitute a threat to democracy – if not the end of it as we know it. That seems alarmist and premature. Indeed, democracy is built for disruption and its institutions, its checks and balances, and its shock absorber – the ability of people to change their circumstances peacefully. People are exercising that right – at the ballot box, in the courts, and some in the streets.”

I have to believe that our system will prevail in this tumultuous time. As much as I tire of the negative rhetoric coming from both sides, and have even taken part with name-calling, I have to believe that the Democracy of the United States will prevail. Rice encourages by reminding us, “The statesmen who inherited the broken postwar world of 1945 built a system that trusted free markets and free trade to create an international economy that would grow . . . Countries would find comparative advantage, trade freely, and all would benefit.”

I also agree with Rice when she states, “the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – populism, nativism, protectionism, and isolationism – served neither democracy nor peace very well the last time around.” We cannot allow the fear associated with these horsemen to overwhelm us.

Even today, July 3rd, as we get ready to celebrate the 4th of July, some of us feel like this is not their holiday. I am sorry for that, so we still have work to do. Also, not everyone is participating in the economic prosperity, therefore new jobs programs and apprenticeships should be created to help these folks win the millions of jobs not being filled today because of the lack of job skills. Rice argues, “The postwar global order need to admit that there are those who have not shared in its prosperity and are troubled by its rejection of more traditional values.” She also states, “the trend toward dividing people into ever-smaller groups, each with its own particular grievance and narrative, comes at the expense of the unifying identity that all democracies need.”

Tomorrow will be July 4th, the day we celebrate independence from an authoritarian regime led by George III. Tomorrow we all come together as one nation to celebrate the fact that we are all Americans. Several years ago I asked my Uncle why my grandfather never made a big deal about his coming from Russia. My uncle said that my grandfather wanted to be known as an American. Not a German-Russian American, but an American. That is what I am today and for my humanly existence. Democracy is a wonderful thing. It is one thing to create Democracy and another to keep it. Lets keep it simple and be American. Happy 4th.

And this is my thought for the day!

Capitalism Versus Socialism: The Predator Versus Godzilla

Several days ago I shared a link on Facebook that discussed the negative elements of liberal elitism, and as I expected I received several comments based upon the political beliefs of the respondents. Once again, those comments have caused me to ponder what it is that I believe. Even so called pop stars say we must be political, so how am I political? What is it I believe? I do know I am against Socialism. I agree with Hayak, it is the road to Serfdom, thus the metaphor Godzilla. I believe in the power of Capitalism, if used right, can lead people to freedom, but it can be a Predator. Let me define terms and then why I chose the metaphors I did to represent Socialism and Capitalism.

In my mind Socialism, in any form, is as Hyak stated, “The Road to Serfdom.” Hyak believed that central government planning would lead us once again to working for the lords. “High taxes and large government will have the same effect as it did 1000 years ago.” The question in my mind then, is how big should government be? Can the government provide services more effectively and efficiently than the free market? I think this is a fair question. However, I am not sure it is the right question. A better question would be, are there services that the government should offer because it is a right?

In Condoleezza Rice’s wonderful book, “Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom,” mentions the role of security as necessary for a Democracy to thrive. In the chapter that discusses Columbia, Rice states, “The Columbian government had to provide security for its people.” FARC and other paramilitaries were undermining the stability of the country. Therefore, any Democracy needs to be secure.

I do think there are other responsibilities of a central Federal government other than security. Federalism in the United States expresses the relationship between our central Federal Government and the government provided by the States. After the Civil War the United States moved to Dual Federalism. However, after the Depression FDR’s New Deal policies moved us more to a stronger national government. Ronald Reagan attempted to move us back to what was called the “New Federalism,” where power was moved back to the states.

The size of the state has been debated and continues to be enacted in its various forms, depending on who is in power. I think this reflects the people in the United States and I think it is positive. I believe that for our country to continue to be free there needs to be a Ying and Yang. This will ensure the government does not become too big or too small.

Take healthcare for example. I think everyone should have access to good healthcare. I also think people should take care of themselves. The compromise then would be to have a healthcare that is available to all people, but if they want better health care they can buy a supplement. Whatever level of taxes required to provide that type of healthcare system, then so be it. This is not the centralized planning of the economy. It is people, as represented by the government we elect, taking care of each other.

However, when it comes to the economy Capitalism is the system to have in place. Based in the value of vocation, the system is based in the ability of people to choose what to purchase, where to work, and when to climb the ladder. Where this becomes problematic is when systems are put in place to favor those with power. This is what anti-capitalists focus on when discussing their reasons for being against the free market. However, I am one who believes that even though this system is not perfect, it is better than all the others.

The first premise of capitalism is profit. In other words, having something left over. Through the voluntary exchange process the person who has the ability to own their own business will run the business in a manner that is efficient, therefore, having something left over. Thus the pillars of capitalism are private property, self-interest, competition, a market mechanism, the freedom to choose, and the limited role of government.

In either case, Socialism or Capitalism, there can be excesses. However, I would equate Socialism to Godzilla and Capitalism to the Predator. Godzilla is an iconic character originating in Japan. Metaphorically it represents the horrors of nuclear war. Through its atomic breath, reptilian body, and muscular arms, it can destroy cities, people, and a nation. Godzilla’s roar can send chills into the hearts of those affected by his presence. The size of Godzilla is overwhelming and terrifying. Some would say that Godzilla is a metaphor for the United States, but I am using it as a metaphor of the ability of Socialism to destroy the world. Just as dangerous is Capitalism if not coupled with Democracy.

To illustrate this danger I am using the Predator as a metaphor. The Predator was an alien who came to the world to devour its prey. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Carl Weathers, and Jesse Ventura were a part of the team to kill the Predator. The problems associated with the Predator were evident, skinned bodies and bones, while the Predator was hard to see, but had deadly tools that could be used to destroy the people around him. The Predator is a metaphor for the ability of Capitalism to leave skinned bodies and bones alongside the road as it move along.

If left on it’s own Capitalism, not known for fairness, can lead to the same excesses as Socialism. However, with the right team in place, Democracy, the ability of the Predator to kill can be controlled. Schwarzenegger’s team was made up of volunteers, so I think another control on Capitalistic excesses is personal choice. People should choose to be benevolent.

As I reflect on both metaphors, I think the Predator is evil and dangerous, but I think Godzilla is the larger problem. Once in place Godzilla will be harder to destroy than the Predator.

In conclusion, I am a Democratic-Capitalist. I am not ashamed of this and am willing to shout it from the housetops. I am very concerned with this growing desire to become Socialist, and agree with Hayak, it will only lead us back to becoming Serfs. However, as I alluded to with my metaphors, without controls on Capitalism, it too is a problem, and can lead us to the same place, serfdom.

And that is my thought for the day!

Thoughts On The Future: Retirement and Beyond

Wow, I just realized I haven’t written a blog since last February. I think it is time to gather my gowns and start to run again. Much has happened over the last few months, and I have made many decisions about my future. As an older gentleman, a true Boomer, I think it is time to think about how to move to the latter phase of my life. The question I have right now, is what do I do?

First, I know I will retire. In fact, I have let my boss know that next May I will not teach full time any longer. However, I would like to teach part time in our adult program. This is not a given, they may not want be to teach, but I do need to figure out how to contribute in my latter years. I am not one to just sit around, and one can only play so much golf.

Second, I know I am going to write. I like to write, and I think I can put my thoughts into words that just may encourage people. Another question in my mind is what do I write about? Also, what gives me the right to put information “out there,” and is there anyone who will be willing to read it? As, I think about Strength’s Finder, and my top five strengths – I remember that harmony is one of those gifts. So I think by focusing my writing on harmony, finding equilibrium between opposing ideas, just might be where I should focus.

I am severely conflicted in regards to the contradistinction found today in the church, politics, and business/academics. Within the church there is a struggle in the understanding of liberation theology. In the most polarized constituents found within the church the left is focused on an interfaith universalism that ignores the centrality and distinction of believing in Jesus Christ, while the church on the right is focused on just the liberation of people from sin and appears to have very little care for the marginalized people of our society. Again, these are the extremes, which seem to me to be feeding the increase of apostasy in our nation. This juxtaposition is an affront to my desire for harmony, and therefore seems like something I can write about. Having been a member of the Church for 44 years I have seen many different expressions, and having worked with people who I would consider leftist believers I have an opinion that I am willing to share.

The second area of disharmony is in our political world. Democrats and Republicans are tearing our political system apart. However, I think it is more than just political parties it is how people are looking to political ideology as the savior of our country. So-called progressives have become the intolerant tolerant, who do not see anything positive coming from those with more conservative viewpoints; while conservatives are responding to this moral prejudice by voting for a President that was just not the other. So instead of having valuable conversations as reflected in the past within our Democratic Republic, we talk past one another and try to stop the other from talking. In the past it was trying to stop Angela Davis, now it is trying to stop Ann Coulter. Both are symbolic of the issues within our country. Having been a voting citizen for almost 50 years, and one who is proud of being middle right, I have something to say about this.

The third area that I would like to write about is the relationship between business and academia. Having worked in industry for 48 years, and taught in academia for 20 years, I think I have an opinion about both that just may be able to start a conversation. The business world sees academia as an environment desiring safety, and the young people that emerge from these safe zones are snowflakes that are not able to critically think and make decisions. Although this generalization may be true in some cases, most of the young people I work with are trying to get ready for a meaningful career. Academia, however, sees Business as only wanting to exploit people so the owners of Capital can get richer. That may be true in some cases, but not most. Most business people are proponents of Stakeholder Theory. They want their businesses to be successful providing them with a good life. They want to do right for their communities and employees, while providing a product or service in the best possible way. Most business people I know what to do well while doing good. I definitely have something to say about that.

So there you have it. This will be my future. I was waffling the other day about retiring. However, I had a great conversation where the person I was talking with said, “Roger, what do you want?” I left the meeting and I was at peace. Time to move on to my new endeavor.

To properly define this new direction, I would like to display a philosophical foundation, or theoretical framework, for my subsequent blogs. Think of an inverted triangle. The top two vertices are Democracy and Capitalism. The vertex on the bottom of the inverted triangle is Faith, and in my case it is faith in Jesus Christ. It will be through this lens that I will explore the paradoxes associated with the church, politics, and business/academics. To begin the new focus I will define my political/economic belief as Democratic Capitalist.

Let’s define terms. What do I mean by Democracy? The word’s foundation is from Greek language. It means rule of the people. When I use the term, I am thinking of the classic definition of “a system of government by the whole population or all eligible members of a state, typically through elected officials.” I am thinking of the Constitution as the foundation of this democratic system, and the evolution of this system to ensure that all are enjoying the freedom associated with being a citizen of this democracy.

The second term is Capitalism. There are many terms that are used by people that generate strong emotions, but the word Capitalism demonstrates the polarization of wealth in this country. When I use the term I am thinking of the classic Ayn Rand definition, “Capitalism is a social system based on the principle of individual rights.” However, we need to be a bit more specific. When I say the word Capitalism I mean an economic system where the means of production are privately owned, where individuals have the right to own property, where people have the right to earn money, where people have the right to buy what they want to buy, and where sellers have to compete for people to buy their products or services.

Now that I have defined terms, let’s put the terms together. Democratic Capitalism represents the combination of three systems into one. I will be relying heavily on Michael Novak for this part of my blog. Novak states, “What do I mean by democratic capitalism? I mean three systems in one: a predominately market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all.” This is why I use the inverted triangle as symbolic of this system.

I truly believe that our country has experienced great opportunity because of the combination of Democracy and Capitalism. As Novak states, “ In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one,” it is by combining the three, not one or the other, that we can ensure people have a full and rich life.

In his book, Reinhold Niebuhr and the Economic Order, John Carlson illustrates Niebuhr’s thoughts that Capitalism should die. In 1933 Niebuhr, in regards to Capitalism, said “it should die because it is unable to make the wealth created by modern technology available to all who participate in the productive process on terms of justice.” Carlson responds to this, “the claim that capitalism is dying is dubious given that this global economic system reigned even before the fall of the Soviet Union, and has only accelerated further since communism collapsed as a tenable global economic model.”

It is my argument that the problem is not the system, but the application of the system. This is where my faith perspective comes into play. I recognize the ability of human beings to take something good and make it bad; thus the need for this three-fold system, Democracy, Capitalism, and a Faith foundation. The Faith foundation, in my system it is Christianity, provides external accountability for actions. Because there is an external judge who controls my future I will think about my actions. As I adhere to the tenants of my faith, I will ensure that I apply those tenants to my political and economic practices.

I think this is enough for now. I will be writing about this over the summer. One last thought about my future. Never try to hold on to something too long, it may go stagnant, and it just may keep you from that fresh new thing that wants to emerge in your life.

And that is my thought for the day!

Welcome To My Crazy Family

High my name is John Q. Public, and this is my wife Jane. “Hi everyone!” We are here to tell you about our extended family. Although we don’t have any children, we do have some pretty crazy relatives. Our family picnics and dinners can be interesting. It has been years since our family events have been quiet. In fact just the other day cousin Mitch, a feisty old guy, yelled at my wife’s crazy aunt, Comrade Warren, and told her to sit down and be quiet. Oh my, you could hear a pin drop during our family get together. I think Mitch just got tired of Comrade Warren talking incessantly and he just lost it. This is just one example of my crazy family.

Jane and I just moved after eight years in California. We had a good time, but boy those Californian’s are pretty crazy. They really do want everything for “free,” we always tried to tell them nothing is free, but they never quite got it. They are Californians. So Jane and I worked very hard to give our family as many free things as we could. But what that did was drive up our debt. Now we owe almost as much as we make each year. I hope now that we’ve moved to Texas that maybe we can stop spending so much on our relatives.

In California we lived with our likable Uncle Obama. He really wanted to help our family, and he did pretty well, but many people in our family didn’t think it was fair to give all the free things away. Some of our family members thought that everything needed to be earned.

I have to admit it was my side of the family that got upset. My cousins Rubio, Jeb, Paul, and Ted all complained a lot. I just tried to ignore them, but the family began to listen, and as a result, we all decided to move to Texas. This upset my wife’s side of the family especially her crazy uncle, Comrade Sanders, and her nutty aunt, remember I already mentioned her Comrade Warren.

However, my side of the family was happy. In fact, my crazy uncle – Herr Trump (the one with the orange hair) – loved the fact that we were moving to his side of the nation. It was a little surprising, my other aunt Hillary thought we were moving to her neck of the woods, Colorado, but we figured, like our crazy cousin Jeff from Alabama said, “they smoke pot there so we don’t want to associate with them.” Seem pretty crazy?

Just wait, it gets weirder. It turns out that my wife, Jane, has several cousins that like to tell people about our family. Charlie, Corrine, and Nancy (CNN) love to tell stories about our family. They really like their aunt and uncle Comrade Warren and Comrade Sanders, but they hate uncle Herr Trump. So when they tell the stories, events that occur at our family parties, they always spin it to make Comrade Sanders and Comrade Warren’s side of the family look good. However, my cousins, Frank, Olivia, and Ximena (FOX) also like to tell stories about our family events. But, they will spin the stories to make Herr Trump look good. They really like that side of the family.

Sometimes each of these story-tellers relay information about events that Jane and I were at and we don’t even recognize the story. We’ll say to each other, weren’t we there? CNN and FOX, rather than write their names I ‘ll just use the acronym associated with their names, are amazing at how they can spin things. Sometimes Jane and I will call friends in England just to find out what really happened. Bob, Bill, and Camelia (BBC) sometimes has a better vantage point on what happens during our family meetings than our cousins.

Our family has been pretty dysfunctional over the years. It appears that Comrade Sanders and Comrade Warren, my wife’s aunts are trying force our family to join INGSOC. They don’t seem to like how Jane and I have been making decisions. They think if they, and Comrade Schumer could take over the family, and make us a part of INGSOC, we will be better off and everyone would be more equal. However, when I look at them they remind me of the saying from the book Animal Farm, “some people are just more equal than others.”

However, my side of the family are just as bad. Remember my Uncle? Herr Trump? He is trying to get the family to dress in brown-shirts and goose-step. I am not too sure why he is trying to do that, but it worries me a bit. I know we just moved to his neighborhood, but my gosh he has been upsetting the whole family trying to change things. Moving from California to Texas has been hard on all of us.

It really does seem that our crazy uncles are tearing our family apart. But let me tell you this. We have this distant relative named Vladimir. The whole family thinks he is a thug. Although Herr Trump seems to like Vladimir, most of our family does not. And if Vladimir wants to pick a fight, he will see that even crazy family members will join together and fight.

I haven’t told you about the rest of the crazies in the family. There is cousin Betsy who really likes grizzly bears, and cousin Kellyanne, who really likes hitting the sauce. Oh, and my favorite cousin Spicer. He really likes to talk a lot about our family, he is so much fun to watch.

Oh, and let’s not forget crazy Nancy who thinks George Bush is still president. Oh, and good old Merkley from Berkley. He is so much fun at our parties. He is a Comrade Sanders wannabe who makes the whole family laugh. Oh, and I can’t resist mentioning cousin Patty. She is a mother who likes to walk around a lot in her tennis shoes.

Then there are the really crazy cousins. They all said that if we moved to Texas they would move to Canada instead. There was cousin Jon, Chelsea, Neve, Barry, Lena, Keegan, Choe, Al, Whoopie, Natasha, Eddie, Spike, Amber, Samuel, Cher, George, Barbara, Raven-Symone, Omari, Miley, Ruth, Amy, and Katie. Yet, all of them moved to Texas. They would say crazy things like #notmyTexas.

As crazy as this family sounds it is my family. I do love my family, and regardless of where we live Jane and I love our family. They are a crazy bunch, but they are our bunch and I wouldn’t trade them for anyone, and I would not live anywhere else.

And that is my thought for the day.