Nincompoop democracy

OUR PRESIDENT-ELECT, a fellow best known by his initials, AMLO, and who takes office in about a week, won in a landslide* on July 1. I did not vote for him.

copy6-1307210385-free-stuff2He is a “man of the people,” which is why so many people voted for him. He crushed the opposition on his third run for the presidency. He came close the other times.

Like Bernie Sanders above the Rio Bravo, AMLO is fond of promising “free stuff.” He’s promised free healthcare like “they have in Canada,” even though the Mexican healthcare system is already excellent and offers various low-cost or free options to anyone who wants to sign up for them.

He wants to give all students scholarships and all graduates employment. This sounds swell, of course, if you disregard the matter of who’s paying for the largess.

How do you promise jobs? You can’t unless you make everyone a bureaucrat.

One of his worst ideas is putting major economic plans to a plebiscite. This has already happened at least twice around the country even though AMLO still is not president.

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Don’t underestimate ignoramuses

“The people know best,” he opines, though they rarely do, of course. “The people” usually are ignoramuses.

The first plebiscite took place quickly after his election win.

The topic was the new Mexico City airport, which is sorely needed due to the current one’s having long since outgrown its britches. The new airport is already partially done, and was scheduled to open in 2020.

“The people,” in all their brilliance, voted against it. Wiser minds in the business community called the plebiscite “Mickey Mouse” and illegal. How this will play out remains to be seen.

Just this week, a senator in the president-elect’s Morena Party presented a bill that would require mining companies to get permission of indigenous people before opening mining operations. Common sense says indigenous people will always say no to such a thing unless a huge payoff is included.

Stocks in Mexico’s two major mining firms plummeted, a loss of $1.6 billion U.S.

Earlier this month, the Morena Party proposed another law to curb bank fees. That sent bank stocks into a nosedive, and it took much of the Mexican stock market with it.

Mexico’s economic growth prospects are looking questionable, thanks to AMLO. But not to worry! We’re gonna give all students scholarships and guaranteed jobs on graduation. And free healthcare all around, just like Canada!

And AMLO has not even been inaugurated yet. By the way,  he’s invited Venezuelan despot Nicolás Maduro to the festivities.

ALMO is telling those invasion caravans from Central America who are passing through Mexico to stay here. He’ll give them jobs too! Latino solidarity, one supposes.

The mind reels.

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Felipe voices his opinion

I voted in a plebiscite on Saturday, which I happened upon by chance on our main plaza. There was a table with two ladies, ballots and a box to drop them into.

I flashed my voter identification card, in color, with photo, something Mexico requires to vote, as should all nations.

I opined on various topics. A Yucatan tourist train, yes. Doubling pensions for people over 68, yes.  (I’m way over 68!) Scholarships to everyone, no. Free healthcare to everyone, no. Some other stuff, mostly yes to my surprise.

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Hold onto your sombreros!

AMLO takes office Dec. 1, and the term lasts for six years. No re-election is allowed, but since the Morena Party is the majority, they could change that. I’m sure AMLO would love it just as much as he loves himself, which he surely does.

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* Universal suffrage is a dreadful idea. Only certain segments of the population should have the right to vote. There should be educational limits. No one without a high school degree should be able to vote. Voters should be property owners too.

Unemployed 17 years

scene
Pastoral scene not too far from the Hacienda.

JUST EIGHT weeks shy of reaching 17 years of no paid employment. Me, that is.

If someone had told me at, say, the age of 40 that I would retire at 55 and, 17 years later, would be living in a lovely Hacienda on a Mexican mountaintop in good health with a child bride, speaking Spanish all day, I would have said:

Yeah, sure. In my wildest dreams.

Yet stuff happens. I would not have believed it, that such good fortune would fall atop my head, but it did.

One reads of people who retire, usually men, and then drop dead a year later, often out of sheer boredom, having lost their reason to live, their job. But I’m not that person.

I’ve never been bored in my adult life. Not a moment.

How does one survive that long with no paying job? I do it with a combination of capitalism and socialism. I profited from the roaring stock market of the 1990s, plus I have a corporate pension, although it’s a puny one.

And then there is Social Security, the socialist element.

None of the above would have been enough were it not for the final element: moving to Mexico. One reads that living in Mexico is not as cheap as it was “in the old days.” Maybe, but it’s sure way cheaper than living in the United States.

Seems like it’s every week that I read about the ever-soaring medical insurance premiums the Gringos have to pay for the ObamaCare scam, the “you can keep your doctor” and “you can keep your current plan” bamboozle.

And the taxes! Lordy, what taxes, especially property taxes in some areas, and paying taxes for those unionized schools that turn out young, brainwashed airheads.

I was sitting at a sidewalk table on the plaza yesterday with a hot café Americano negro, reading a book, when I paused and looked at the cobblestone street and the red-clay roofs, and I thought to myself: Boy, you’re one lucky sumbitch.

Gone fishing — for good

fishing

LOTS OF PEOPLE dream of early retirement, and some even plan for it — giving the middle digit to The Man.

The traditional age is 55 because lots of corporations will start a pension at that point just to get rid of you. Retiring before 55 is possible, sure, but only if you’re fairly rich and have planned well.

Due to the aging of the Baby Boomer Generation, magazines and newspapers frequently run articles about retirement in general and even retiring early. These articles often say how difficult it is, that you gotta have 10 million bucks under the mattress. Baloney.

Even though I did little dreaming of early retirement and even less planning (think zip), the stars aligned, and I bailed at 55.

It was the best move of my life. The year was 1999.

And I’ve earned nary a penny or a peso since. At least, not from any effort on my part. Capitalism is a godsend. You stick five bucks in an account, and later you have seven bucks — or sometimes four, depending on which way the wind blows.

Lots of those magazine and newspaper yarns tell you the best towns in America to retire. And they can be great places, but not if you are living on my income, which is about $24,000 a year. That’s just $8,000 over the 2015 official poverty level in America for a two-person household.

Living in the United States these days on $24,000 wouldn’t be much fun.

Doing it in Mexico, however, is easy as pie.

So here is my recommendation if you want to leave the workforce at 55: Have no debt and enough money to make it to 62, praying that Social Security will not increase that age before you get there.

Probably won’t.

When you hit 62, start Social Security payments, which will likely be more than enough to live sweet in Mexico. An additional corporate pension, even a puny one like mine, is even better.

So come on down. The fishing is good.

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P.S.: Contrary to what’s been hammered into you, living in Mexico is safer than today’s United States of America. Plus, Mexico doesn’t do Big Government, disruptive diversity-worship, #brownlivesmatter, high taxes, and you’re not called racist every day by stupendously silly people.

We’re mellow. Bring a hook, line and bait.

Silly socialism

AS ART LINKLETTER used to say: People are funny.

ArtIn the 132 years since Karl Marx died, plenty of folks still swoon for Marx’s notion of fairness and equality. Let’s look at how Marx’s ideas have played out in real life.

There are varying degrees of Marx’s nutty notions. You’ve got Communism. A little further down the scale you’ll find, with somewhat less impracticality and brutality, socialism and, of course, “social democracy.”

1. Communism. The Soviet Union collapsed after murdering millions of its citizens. Red China, also with rivers of blood on its hands, saw the writing on the wall and is shifting to capitalism while officially saying it’s still communist. Cuba, of course, is a Caribbean basket case.

2. Socialism and Social Democracy. I’ll lump these together because there’s really little difference. In this category, you’ve got much of Europe and its poster boy of Greece where able-bodied youths are running wild in the streets demanding their welfare while the economy collapses.

Another bright ray shining from the Socialist Sun is the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico where just over half of the population is on the dole and another third of the folks hold unionized government jobs.

That big, beautiful island is on the verge of sinking into the Red Sea it has excavated for itself. Blame government unions to a great degree.

Indeed public-sector unions, a terroristic arm of the socialist philosophy, are sending governments into bankruptcy all over the West. A government union job is a great gig if you can score one. Retire at 50 with 99 percent of your salary, full health benefits, etc., all underwritten by taxpayers.

Taxes are highest where social democracy is embraced, but they still fall short of the delicious benefits paid.

Today’s Democratic Party in America, more than ever under President Barry, embraces social democracy as the nation sinks into its own Red Sea. And cities run by Democrats are even worse off financially as their municipal populations also collapse into social pathologies. Related?

And the self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is looking real sweet these days to Democrats as a presidential contender. Stunning.

You have no problem finding millions of people who vote for this egregious nonsense and who call themselves socialist and “Democrats.” Yes, people are funny. Art Linkletter sure did know us.

Moral: Limited, conservative, proudly capitalist governments do not deliver this grief. They deliver prosperity and opportunities.

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” — George Bernard Shaw

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(Shameless self-promotion: Sick of the occasional political polemic? Head over to the new and improved Satellite Moon where you’ll find sweeter seas, photos of your Hacienda hosts, tales of gentle birdies, sometimes lovely music, nothing to offend your socialist sensibilities.