Posted by: Walt Curtis | July 29, 2011

National Debt – Light and Goodwill or Darkness and Enmity?

The purposes of the Constitution of the United States of America are clearly stated in the Preamble:
–       form a more perfect Union
–       establish Justice
–       insure domestic Tranquility
–       provide for the common defence
–       promote the general Welfare
–       secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity

I consider these purposes to be based in light and goodwill.

The Legislative, Executive and Judicial branches of the federal government have various duties and responsibilities in fulfilling these purposes. The House of Representatives is responsible for bills relating to revenues all branches of the federal government need to fulfill their duties. Revenues mentioned in the Constitution include “Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises” (Article I, Section 8, paragraph 1).

The federal government has incurred debt in fulfilling its constitutional duties for most of its history. There has been much recent discussion about debt limits and debt ceilings and what the Constitution has to say (or imply) about the subject. Some say that Item (paragraph) 4 in Amendment 14 disallows a debt ceiling on the obligations of the federal government. Others say that the wording relates only to concerns arising from the Civil War. I would point out that it could merely have been a reiteration of policy instituted through the influence of Alexander Hamilton with regard to Revolutionary War debt. To be certain, one would need to research the proposals and discussions regarding the items in Amendment 14; and the points included in the amendment may have been the results of notions and ideas that had been discussed or sought for decades before its enactment.

The federal debt has two main parts: 1) debt held by government accounts, and 2) debt held by the public. The debt held by government accounts results from funds the federal government holds in trust for others who have paid (by their own contributions or based on agreements that the federal government and/or their employers would pay) into the accounts for their own future benefit. The debt held by the public is for the deficit (negative balance) between revenues and what the federal government spends by legislative action to fulfill its Legislative, Executive and Judicial responsibilities under the Constitution of the United States of America (for example, the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008—Public Law 110-343, 122 Statute 3765, enacted October 3, 2008).

Payment of both types of federal debt is ensured through securities offered by the federal government to investors, and my best surmise is that this is where a difficulty either exists or has been invented. So many people have paid so much into government accounts (e.g., Social Security Trust Funds, Military Retirement and Health Care Funds, Medicare Trust Funds, Civil Service Retirement and Disability Trust Fund) that the sale of federal securities for debt held by the public may be adversely affected.

In other words, the problem does not seem to be in the amount of debt itself, but in the investment resources available. There must be more to it, however, because a reduction in debt held by government accounts will not increase revenues to pay for debt held by the public. And it seems that investors would likely want to reinvest in order to continue their interest earnings.

In these rather baffling circumstances, one solution that is being sought is to prevent the disbursement of monies invested into government accounts by limiting or cutting benefits or benefit amounts.

Such actions would not prevent the demand for funds by those who have paid into government accounts; it would simply require them to continue working and likely cause many to die earlier than they would have if they had received the full value of the benefits for which they paid throughout their lives.

Of course, the effects would be felt most keenly by the poor and unprepared. In my opinion, this amounts to effectual involuntary servitude and euthanasia of the aged and poor. These types of actions reflect darkness of intent and enmity towards the poor and unprepared.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | July 13, 2011

Transformers: Entertainment and Anchored Living™

We saw Transformers: Dark of the Moon last night. There was an unusually broad cross section of people in attendance. There was the usual chatter together with the same old cell phone users who refuse to silence the light noise from their devices continuing through all the previews (and even much of the movie, unfortunately).

You could feel and hear the audience buying into the scenarios of power-gone-whacko (nicely portrayed by both Patrick Dempsey and Frances McDormand). We all recognized the propaganda lines and visuals from the corporate world and governments (and even from the “good guys”) for what they really are. You could sense how fed-up many in the audience were with this all-too-accurate reflection of our world.

The real power of the movie came from the portrayals of individuals taking a principled stand against power-gone-whacko in all its forms, even when it should have been obvious that you could not win, and even in the face of so many and so much being obliterated by the conflict.

I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the movie, when there was louder and longer applause than I have heard in the last two decades. It seems that individuals of all ages and backgrounds understand what is happening in the world, and we know that the time is at hand to take a principled stand, even if it means risking seeming obliteration.

It would be interesting to know if audience response varied by socioeconomic status.

The anchor principles of light, goodwill, peace, forgiveness and love readily take in and exceed the boundaries of this entertaining film. An Anchored Living™ perspective also allows us to enjoy this movie’s entertainment and to understand the various reactions of people, based on how they integrate these principles in their lives.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | July 2, 2011

The Intention of Light

All businesses and organizations have one or more reasons to exist. (We won’t be discussing the wisdom of those reasons here.) Some businesses write down those reasons in the form of a mission statement, and sometimes a clarification of values.

As individuals, we seem to think and act in the opposite direction. We learn values from our families and friends and develop our own as we mature. Over time, many of us then begin to wonder about our purpose or mission in life.

The trick for people is to keep aware of how your intents, thoughts, words and actions match the purpose and values you believe in or believe. Businesses sometimes use vision statements, but having a vision as an individual can be challenging.

Visionary people are often seen as dreamers … people who don’t live in the real world. Kermit the Frog dwells on this a bit in his song, “The Rainbow Connection.” The song muses about the connection between dreams and reality.

It seems to me that we need vision, purpose and values in order to live a balanced life. I remember Dumbledore saying, “It does not do to dwell on dreams, Harry, and forget to live.” I suggest we discover what we both believe and believe in and act, speak and think accordingly.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | June 30, 2011

Lively Days

June is a pretty lively month. There are the winding up days of school, a recognition of fathers in many parts of the world, graduation, weddings and solstice. On average (from a centuries point of view, at least), it is heating up in the north and cooling down in the south. We’re talking hemispheres and seasons, of course. And just around the corner is the United States celebration of independence.

Also in the U.S., New York state moved to sanction same-sex marriage, Minnesota is looking like it is ready to shut down over a budget crisis, the national debt ceiling conversation continues to grow, and Aol’s “You’ve Got” spots featured Joanne Rogers, wife of Mister Rogers.

Finally something of immediate interest for Anchored Living™. The national items are important within the focus of how law affects everyday living. The items in the first paragraph and the Mister Rogers spot are everyday living.

I guess the point I have is that everyday living seems to give us chances to act with light, goodwill, peace, forgiveness and love. So many newsy items seem to focus on the flip side of these anchor principles.

To quote an old cartoon character, So-Hi (please excuse the stereotypes), “Moral of story, honorable children friends?” … turn the news on its head, and you may have some pretty good stuff for making every day lively.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | May 31, 2011

Sharing and Building Goodwill: Ashton Kutcher

Sometimes people might sound like they have almost lost hope that there is any goodwill left in the business world. But it is always there. You just have to look, read, and think about it.

For instance, I was browsing through AOL and came across an interview with Ashton Kutcher about his business investments. He talked about one company, Airbnb, that is taking social trust and manifesting that into commerce.

There is pervasive distrust of assertions made in commercials and advertisements of various kinds (and often rightly, I’d say). But when we are looking for a product or service, many of us look for a something we can trust, or at least rely on as fairly reputable.

The example here may just be for bed & breakfast referrals, but it illustrates the concept, … and the Anchored Living™  principle of goodwill.

So, keep your eyes open and be aware. Anything that allows us to expand trust in the world increases the goodwill in the world.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | May 8, 2011

Mothers Are Like That

You searched through all the Mother’s Day cards to get just the right one … or you decided to make one yourself. You fretted over what to write in the card and watched with an encouraging, hopeful half-smile that she would be pleased.

Women and men both approach LiGoPeFoLo, the Anchored Living™ principles, on equal footing, but when it comes to the role of motherhood, women give the appearance of starting on a bit of a downhill incline that gains momentum more quickly and with a bit less strain.

I have no proof of this; it’s just my observation based on my mother and discussions with others about their mothers.

Radiating an aura of ‘this is how to be.’

Wanting good for as many people as possible.

Speaking and acting to maintain and accelerate cooperation.

Rushing to hug and show an increase of love for a returning prodigal.

Loving others in as many different ways as there are children in their hearts.

Mothers are like that … and the world needs more people like this.

When you are focusing on a particular anchor principle, look for examples to follow and goals to set based on a mother you know well. You’ll not only set a better goal and have a good example to follow, you will also strengthen a relationship.

Posted by: Walt Curtis | May 7, 2011

Caught Up With Osama

Anchored Living™ principles encourage us to practice forgiveness and resist vengeance. So, we’re not talking about being caught up with Jesus. We’re talking about being caught up in revenge.

In news and commentaries you can read, hear and see that some people are wondering about celebrating Osama bin Laden’s death. I think this is healthy reflection because it points out some differences between how individuals and groups of people (from families and teams to nations and humanity) more appropriately deal with situations that seem to call for vengeance.

The primary focus of anchor principles is to help individuals live with LiGoPeFoLo. The principles are the same for groups of people, but the dynamics (actual actions) are different. Individuals persist in practicing forgiveness. Groups of people consider whether the things that must be forgiven were done on purpose.

If an individual or group of people acts purposely to harm any group of people in any way, they act in darkness. A difficulty arises because we cannot directly observe purpose, or intent of the heart. But when we confront people and groups of people with evidence of the negative results of their actions and words, they will change them if they seek light in life.

If the same individuals or groups of people refuse to stop harming, then other groups of people (government, religions, associations, etc.) are obligated to take note of this refusal. Consistent refusals are evidence that an individual or group of people will continue to do harm and appropriate action must be taken to put a stop to actions and words that continue to do harm.

To be clear, my view is that light, goodwill, peace, forgiveness and love are hallmark characteristics of the Creator, whom some call God. So when we work to improve how we live the anchor principles, we are following the example of the Creator. If we do not follow that example, we follow another.

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