Digger Cartwright

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Digger Cartwright - My Own Words

Author | Industrialist | Philanthropist

Should the U.S. be involved in removing Assad from power in Syria?

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

 

No, no involvement in Syria. I do think it was a good move to put some troops on the Turkey-Syria border as a deterrent to it spilling over into Turkey. But we just don’t need to get drawn into this matter. There’s no strategic value for us. My main concern is that Assad gets deposed and the country gets hijacked by terrorist organizations or those sympathetic to al-Qaeda. At least we know Assad and what he’s all about. We can’t say that about the rebels. What’s the old saying about all that glitters is not gold?  

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 5

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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How long does it take you to write a book?

It can take me anywhere from six weeks to seven or eight months to write a book. If I just sit all day every day, I could turn out a manuscript in four to six weeks. Unfortunately, the mind doesn’t permit me to sit and write that long. I’ll generally have the creative inspiration in bursts of maybe an hour or two then in need to take a break. I might come back after a break and realize that I’m not in the zone anymore, so I’ll have to put it aside. I have to be in a certain mindset before I can sit down and write. When I’m in the right mind, it just comes naturally. If I’m not in the writing mode, it feels like I’m forcing it, and I don’t think that lends itself to my best work. Thus, why it may take me seven or eight months to write a manuscript. I might not have the inspiration for several days for a week, but when I get it I might have it for weeks on end. And, of course, I get sidetracked with business from time to time and that takes me away from my ability to sit down and write.

Sometimes I’ll write myself in a bind. You know, I’ll be writing and take the story in a direction I hadn’t anticipated then I have to step back and figure out where I go from there. Sometimes I’ll readily know how to adjust the story for the unexpected change, and sometimes I won’t know right away. I might need to think about it and let it play out in my mind before I can sit back down and start up again. Writing is a real fluid situation. Changes come up and that impacts the timetable. Overall, I think the average for me would be in the six month range, and remember I’m writing in addition to overseeing my various enterprises and charitable endeavors.

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Superstorm Sandy—Do we need to shore up FEMA?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

Shore it up? Hell, we need to get rid of FEMA. Let’s see, they didn’t do much with Katrina, and now we’re finding out that they haven’t done much with Sandy. It’s real hypocritical that the liberal media crucified President George W. Bush in the aftermath of Katrina, but Obama has gotten a free pass with Sandy. Obama went on national TV and said the government was going to cut the red tape and the bureaucracy to get the recovery underway. In fact, no of that was done. Just ask the people who have been displaced. Ask the thousands of people who didn’t have power for weeks and didn’t have heat when the blizzard hit the same areas. And remember all those long lines for gas? And how about the people getting in fights over food and water and gasoline? FEMA didn’t do a damn thing for those people just like it didn’t do a damn thing for the people of New Orleans after Katrina.

You know, there is a bit of poetic justice here. The same liberal elitists in New York who moaned and groaned and bitched and complained about New Orleans and who looked down their noses at the South whenever there have been hurricanes got a big helping of humble pie with Sandy. They didn’t give a damn about us down here in the South anytime we’ve had a storm. Hell, the liberal media would hardly mention it and then move on. But, oh my God! Poor New York and New Jersey! God help us! What are we going to do? The poor people of New York and New Jersey! We’ve got to help them! It’s sickening to see how they’ve poured so much sympathy out for these people. Didn’t they go through something similar on a smaller scale about a year ago? Didn’t that teach them to get prepared? No, they didn’t do a damn thing to get prepared. So, I’m sorry, but I don’t have much sympathy overall. Oh, and how about the unions in New York turning away the volunteers from the South who were going to try to help restore power? Yeah, if you were cold and in the dark for weeks, thank the unions.

But back to the question at hand regarding FEMA. I think the organization is totally dysfunctional. Take the $6 billion budget that we give to FEMA, create a special trust fund, and let Red Cross take over the responsibilities in the aftermath. If there’s a terrorist attack or something cataclysmic, let the federal government send in the military to help out. Otherwise, the federal government shouldn’t be involved. Let the governor of each state call up the National Guard in the aftermath of something like Sandy and let them handle it. The last thing anyone should want is for federal workers to show up to ‘help.’ That’s just asking for problems. Name one thing that the federal government has done efficiently.  

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 4

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Do you have any unique talents?

I’m not sure that I have any unique talents, but I enjoy writing and I happen to think I’m pretty good at it. When it comes to writing, I try to really paint the picture of each scene for the reader. I want the readers to be able to immerse themselves in the book and feel like they’re really there, and I want them to really feel like the characters are real people. I think I excel at painting that picture for the reader with some really good descriptions of the people and places. Other writers will tell a story but be weak on character development and we might get a once sentence description of the place. I go over the top with descriptions—characters’ mannerisms, the sights and sounds around them, what they’re wearing, colors, the other people around them. By the time I’m done, there’s not much left to the imagination regarding the characters. You get to know them in most cases and get a feel for what they’re like, what they’re thinking, what they might do, and so on.

Some people like this and some people don’t. If you’re looking for a quick read where you can paint the picture in your own mind the way you want it, my books probably aren’t for you. I’m going to tell you how I as the writer, the storyteller, envision the scene and the people. With my writing, you’ve got to have the time to commit to sitting down and immersing yourself in the book. You have to be willing to stay focused on the task at hand while you’re reading, particularly my mystery novels. A lot of the clues that I give and the keys to figuring out the mystery are very subtle, so you’ve got to pay attention. If anyone that reads any of my books says there wasn’t enough description or they didn’t feel like they connected with characters or places, they either didn’t read the book or weren’t paying attention.

I get a lot of criticism for my lengthy descriptions and attention to detail. Mainstream writers have gotten to the point where they’re writing on about a fifth grade reading level to accommodate the masses. I’ve been encouraged by a lot of folks to lighten up my books when it comes to how I develop the characters and the scenes, but I’m really very proud of my ability to use words to paint the picture for my readers. I don’t take it personally if some people find my work a couple levels above their reading comprehension or their preferred level of leisure reading, but I’m not about to change my approach and my style and basically dumb down my work to sell a couple more books. In business there’s always this great debate between quality vs. quantity. I prefer to sell a quality product, and I think I accomplish that.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 13

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: Yes, taking too much time off can throw you for a loop! If you have the time I’d add that as a writer you should jot down your ideas while you can so you don’t forget them later or as you go along. What advice do you have for others who are experienced, but struggling in the writing field/industry?

Digger Cartwright: I think a lot of people sit down to write thinking that they have the ability to do so. Writing isn’t easy. It’s very difficult to be creative, come up with a storyline, develop characters, and write a book that flows well, is coherent, and interesting. If you’re struggling with the writing process itself, get some mentoring or take some writing classes. There are plenty of resources available for aspiring writers to help polish their storytelling abilities which helps translate into increased opportunities for the book.

I like to have testers, for example. It has really helped me over the years. I run a storyline and synopsis by a group of people to see if it piques their interest. Once I have a draft of the story done, I’ll let them read it and see what they think. I welcome constructive criticism. They may come back with something that I hadn’t thought of as the author in terms of how it impacts the readers’ experience. In reality, the work product you’re putting out may or may not be interesting to the readers.
I always encourage aspiring writers to make sure they have great editors. Not every manuscript is going to be perfect. I have two or three editors read each book, and inevitably some things escape all of them—typos or incorrect references, etc. It’s human nature, but you’ve got to strive for perfection and produce a manuscript that is as flawless as possible. A manuscript filled with one mistake after another is not appealing to the readers. They’ll let the occasional typo slide, but if you’re work is overrun with mistakes, incorrect grammar, etc, they’ll not look favorably upon that and they’ll let you know about it.

And don’t let the critics get to you. You’re always going to have critics who won’t like what you do no matter what. Don’t let them get to you. Constructive criticism is something that you need to listen to and take seriously. Criticism from someone who has never written a book and who is just jealous of your accomplishment isn’t usually very valuable. Don’t let it get under your skin. You’ve got to have thick skin. If you’re worrying about satisfying someone living in their parents’ basement playing video games and criticizing your work, you’ll be your own worst enemy.

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What’s your outlook for a second Obama administration?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

 

More of the same overregulation and failed economic policies that have driven up our national debt, made us less competitive, killed jobs, raised taxes on American workers and killed business in this country. I think the President has such a big ego and such hubris that his re-election will embolden him in pursuing his radical liberal agenda.

It’s clear that he feels he has this huge mandate in the aftermath of the election, and we’re seeing him try to use that to his advantage with the whole fiscal cliff issue. He’s pursuing this ‘my way or the highway’ strategy that is destructive to the American taxpayers. I have long believed that he has a strong socialist agenda as we’ve witnessed by his massive government takeover of healthcare with the Obamacare legislation. He wants to increase the entitlement state, which he has effectively done. He wants to tax everyone more and spread the wealth. He wants to increase the size and scope of government which he’s done and will continue to do.

Hopefully, after the 2014 mid-term elections, he’ll be a lame duck and he’ll just be relegated to the sidelines. But I wouldn’t put it passed him or his Democratic colleagues in the Congress to try to find a way around the United States Constitution 22nd Amendment to allow him to serve another term.

Let’s just say that he’s probably got about two years of bold ambition left. I think he’ll go after the energy industry. He’s pretty much killed the coal industry. I figure gas and oil will be next on the list. Everyone brace themselves for $6 per gallon gasoline. And everyone’s utility bills are going to skyrocket in the near future. We’re probably going to see massive taxes as Obamacare if fully implemented. He’s still going to work to find ways to increase everyone’s taxes. I think he’s going to continue to find ways to increase government entitlements, particularly for illegals. And I think he’s going to try to find a way to give amnesty to all the illegals here in the United States and open the doors so that we’ll be flooded with immigrants that will vote for him. And I think the biggest push in the next few months is obviously going to be on gun control or an infringement of our second amendment right to bear arms. In the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, liberals are foaming at the mouth that this could be the opening they need to ban guns or otherwise impose severe gun control laws.

I will tell you this. My biggest fear is that the Republicans lose the House in the 2014 election. If Obama gets control of the whole Congress, America is pretty well doomed. We’ll never be able to break free from the Democrats’ radical liberal agenda.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 3

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

The most important thing readers can do to help make any of my books successful is spread the word about it. Post your thoughts about it on Facebook. Tweet about it. Get the word out there. If you’ve got the time, I’d really appreciate honest reviews on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, and wherever else you can put the word out there. Share it with people. Let your friends and family borrow the book and read it and ask them to keep passing it along. Encourage your local book clubs to read it.

There are tens of thousands of books being published as we speak by the mainstream authors, the first time authors, and every Tom, Dick, and Harry out there. Competition is really fierce, and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of all these other authors. Readers who like my books can help by promoting my name, my brand, my books, etc. Get the word out there, familiarize other people with my name and my work, and get people interested. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising there is.   

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Election 2012—What happened to the Republicans?

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

 

The underlying presumption is that we had a choice in the election process. I think that is the first fallacy. We’re given the illusion of having a choice, but these candidates are hand-picked and they go through a dog and pony show in the run up to the election. I actually think it was already predetermined who was going to win the election, and we go through this sham to keep the voters feeling like their vote matters.

 

Four years ago we had our choice between Barack Obama, a left wing liberal, and John McCain, an avowed progressive. The voters had the choice between two less than desirable candidates, and the progressive movement won regardless. This election cycle we have the same left wing liberal and another RINO, Republican In Name Only. The progressive movement would have won either way.

 

I hate to be cynical, but I’ve become very jaded in this political cycle. Mitt Romney wasn’t the ideal candidate for the Republicans, and while it’s notoriously difficult to unseat an incumbent, Obama was like a sitting duck. He had so much baggage from the first term that it’s almost inconceivable we’re sitting here today with him having been re-elected. Either the American people, the voters, are a bunch of brain dead dumb asses or the process was already fixed. Yes, we were given the choice between the lesser of two evils, but Romney couldn’t have done any worse than Obama. So you look to see that we’ve got early voting that is heavily skewed for the Democrats, illegal voting, and rigged voting machines, and it’s easy to see why Obama was re-elected. If you stuff the ballot boxes with enough early votes and rig the machines to vote for you on election day, it doesn’t matter who the other side puts up. You can’t win when you’re playing with a stacked deck of cards.

 

So, if you presume that we actually have a choice in the election process and if you presume that Romney was an all right candidate, and I subscribe to neither of those philosophies, it comes down to one of three things—either the Romney campaign failed in delivering a clear, convincing, and enthusiastic message or the American voters are so stupid that they would prefer to have us continue down the same path of failed economic policies as the last four years or the majority of American voters have been bought and paid for with government handouts from the Democrats. In any scenario, it doesn’t bode well for the future of our country if we’ve got people just voting for the person who’s going to give them the biggest handout. As a candidate, you can’t give someone cash to vote for you, but you can give them an EBT card to ensure they vote for you. What’s the difference? The system is rigged to the detriment of the American taxpayer.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 2

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What can we expect from you in the future?

The future holds a lot of really exciting things. My new book that is coming out in late spring is Conversations on the Bench, which is an inspirational or motivational book. Some people will find it more of one than the other, but this is a book that was inspired by actual events involving a couple of friends of mine. It was really an opportunity for me to step out of the box, step out of my comfort zone in writing and try something different. I’m so used to creating my own characters and places that it was a bit of an adjustment to write about real people and places, but I did it. I’m not sure there’s going to be another book like this, but I’ll keep that option open.

Later in 2013, I’ll be releasing Gems & Jewels Book II: The Restoration. It’s more of a drama with an element of mystery and centers around a wealthy family in the gold, diamond, and precious stones mining as well as the jewelry business. It’s sort of a modern-day Dynasty, Dallas or Falcon Crest. It’s got all the money, power, sex, greed and excess that were characteristic of those shows. It’s going to be a series, so I’m pretty excited about that.

I plan on continuing to write predominantly mystery novels. With Murder at the Ocean Forest, The Versailles Conspiracy, and The Maynwarings: A Game of Chance, I’ve got a lot of characters that I can work with and revisit for sequels or series, particularly with the latter two. I suspect there will be a couple of sequels to those. Then I’ve got a couple of interesting plans on the drawing board. I’ve got a hard-boiled detective story that I’m developing and a couple of political thrillers. I’ve got a futuristic book in the planning stages. It’s one of these what-if prognostications set about twenty years from now.

There are some really exciting storylines in the works. I just wish I had the time to write them all and get them done faster, but I’m just plugging along one manuscript at a time. One thing is for sure, I don’t plan on going away. I love what I’m doing, and I plan on continuing to write for a long time.    

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What are your thoughts on the debt ceiling debate that will be forthcoming in 2013?

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Digger Cartwright
Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.
 

Realistically is anything going to happen when it comes to the debt ceiling debate? No. The Congress will raise the debt ceiling so the President and his friends in the Congress can keep squandering away the taxpayers’ money. I find it the epitome of hubris that the President actually wants the Congress to give him the sole authority over increasing the debt ceiling. That’s a sure recipe for disaster. There wouldn’t be anything stopping him from spending us into bankruptcy. Maybe that’s his goal in the long run. He’s sure doing a fine job of it right now.


But the politicians will take this whole debt ceiling charade right up to the zero hour then agree to increase the limit so that the government doesn’t have to shut down. I don’t understand why everyone in Washington is so afraid to have the government shut down. All we’re talking about is non-essential services shutting down. Social Security checks would still be going out. The military would still be defending us. We’d just be looking at a closure of things like national parks and maybe the folks at the Department of Energy would have to stay at home. Not like they’re doing much good anyway.
Shut down the non-essential stuff. If it is non-essential, they why is the government involved anyway? Use it as an opportunity to downsize the federal government. You know what I’m saying? Sadly, though, that isn’t going to happen.

My prediction is they’ll raise the debt ceiling to $20 trillion, which should be enough to accommodate Obama and the Democrats’ spending until the 2014 mid-term elections. And then, we’ll be debating it all again.

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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s Annual Symposium: Digger Cartwright's opening statement

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

 

Mr. Cartwright’s opening statement was as follows:

 

“Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here today. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this 9th Annual Thinking Outside the Boxe Symposium. This is always a wonderful event, and it’s an honor to be invited here to share with you my own thoughts on some of the most important issues that we face here in America.

 

“Nine symposiums and I understand that 2013 marks the tenth anniversary of Thinking Outside the Boxe. It is an impressive record of dedication and contribution to our political, economic, and social debates in America. I first participated in this symposium about five years ago, I believe it was. It was a refreshing event, and it first introduced me to the dedication this organization has to coming up with creative and sometimes controversial solutions to various problems. And I have to say that I have not been disappointed since then.

 

“Oftentimes, this organization says what millions of Americans throughout this great nation are thinking. They say the things that aren’t necessarily popular or that run counter to prevailing dialogue. They say things that are controversial. They say the things that so often get lost in the high brow discussions of colleges and universities and political circles. They say the things that these so-called intellectuals, these intellectual elitists, look down upon. They speak in real, everyday terms that people of all walks of life connect with. Theirs is a voice of reason and common sense. They say what is on peoples’ minds every day.

 

“It is easy for the mainstream to dismiss what Thinking Outside the Boxe stands for and what they say and the research they do. It is easy to label think tanks as liberal thinkers or conservative thinkers, as promoters of liberal or conservative ideas. It is easy to criticize and say why Thinking Outside the Boxe’s proposals won’t work or why they’re wrong. This organization can be criticized and has been criticized by many for their ideas, but I have come to learn that this organization cannot be criticized for its fairness. Thinking Outside the Boxe gives praise where merit is due, regardless of political party, and it gives criticism where criticism is due, regardless of political party. It has criticized President Obama, but in looking at many of it’s historical writings, it was critical of the Bush Administration on various issues. But at the end of the day, Thinking Outside the Boxe’s commentaries have been clear, concise, balanced and remarkably poignant. More importantly, their proposals and their efforts have been focused on making America a better place for everyone, on making America stronger and more financially secure, and ensuring that the blessings of liberty that this generation and those before us have enjoyed are enjoyed for generations to come.

 

“We are at a great crossroads in our history. One path leads to bigger government and an erosion of our personal liberties, a subrogation of those liberties and our lives to an ever growing and ever intrusive federal government. The other path leads to smaller government, an expansion of personal liberties and freedom, and an economic stability and growth and success that can only be expected from the greatest nation this world has ever known. The path to bigger government is a dark one, yet the Sirens lure in the weak and those with little hope with false promises of abundance for all and equality for all. The path to smaller government is one that is well lighted by the torch of freedom and liberty and is the path that our Founding Fathers chose for this nation.

 

“Politicians today hope to take us from the path envisioned by our Founding Fathers, the path upon which they set us, and divert our efforts to a path that others have followed only find despair, failure, erosion of liberty, and economic hardship. All too many want to walk a tightrope between the two paths and offer the best of both worlds to the masses. But walking the dark path of bigger and more intrusive government however slightly and however noble it may seems is like walking a path that slowly turns to quicksand. Ultimately, the force of its weight and power will suck you in, and there will be no return.

 

“We must be vigilant as America moves forward. We must keep in mind the ideals that were espoused by our Founding Fathers, and we must not let smooth-talking, career politicians corrupt our system with words aimed at dividing us as a nation so that they may conquer us all. False promises and false hope of a better way forward are the deceptions of bigger government. The government doesn’t have the answers and doesn’t know what’s best. The people of America have the answers and know what’s best. But we cannot allow the increasing influence of those who only take from the government to dictate to the government and to those who contribute to the government. To do so is to create a self-perpetuating cycle of bigger government, of taking more and more from those who are productive and from those who contribute to give to those who are neither, and that ultimately leads to a collapse and repression of those liberties that our ancestors fought for and died for.

 

“I know that Thinking Outside the Boxe will continue to fight this good fight and will continue to promote a set of ideals that stem from our Founding Fathers. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this advancement of ideals and the promotion of liberty as espoused by our founders. I share a common commitment to promote non-partisan and fair dialogue on our most pressing problems with the overall goal of making America a better place for our citizens by promoting and protecting our personal liberties and ensuring that America retains a strong economic foundation thereby providing opportunities for anyone with the will and the want to be successful.

 

“Once again, thank you for having me at this event. I look forward to discussing the topics at hand.” 

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 12

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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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Miss Matisse: I totally agree with you! A writer does have to be in a certain mindset in order to produce their best work. Otherwise it can throw the whole story off! So…sticking with the same subject, have you ever made any mistakes in your field that you would like to advise others against?

Digger Cartwright: Stay productive. Keep writing. Don’t take too much time off between books. If you do, you’re likely going to become complacent and take your time before starting the next book. As soon as your current manuscript is with the editor, get to work on the next one. If you’re serious about writing, keep producing as much as you can without sacrificing quality while you can when you can. The day may come when you don’t have the time or the creative juices dry up. I find that if I take too much time off between books that it becomes more and more difficult to start the next one.

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Digger Cartwright Interview 2013: Question 1

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Digger Cartwright
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Do you have any advice for other writers trying to get published?

The publishing world is tough to break into for new authors. If you’re going the traditional route, there are a few things you need to be aware of. First, you have to have a good product to promote. If your book is just mediocre, you’re dead in the water. There are too many other people out there writing to pass off a mediocre book. Writing a really good book takes time, patience and dedication. If you’re just throwing your thoughts together and trying to get something done quickly, you’re wasting your time. It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to get a manuscript where you need it to be so that you can successfully market it. Second, you have to find an agent willing to represent you. That’s like finding a needle in a haystack. There are a lot fewer literary agents than there are budding authors, and they’re getting swamped with query letters, proposals, and manuscripts. You’ve got to be both good and lucky to get an agent. Third, you’ve got to get it sold to a publishing house and they’ve got to be able to market it and so on and so forth.

The reality is that very few authors had their first manuscript picked up by an agent or a publishing house. The one that launches their career may be the second or third manuscript. Anyone can sit down and write one book. It may take a while and it may not be good, but just about anyone can do it. Very few people are actually going to sit down and write the second book. They’ll get discouraged that they couldn’t do anything with the first one and give it up. So, you’ve got a much smaller pool of competing authors once you’ve written the second book. Even fewer of those people will go on to write a third book then a fourth book. With each book written, you move higher and higher up the hierarchy of writers. That’s what really separates the wheat from the chaffe—the ability to write multiple books. They have to be good, of course, otherwise it’s just a waste of time.

If you don’t want to go the traditional route, you can try self-publishing your book. Of course, that comes with its own set of challenges that you have to be ready for. You don’t have the marketing power, budget, editorial staff, or distribution that the traditional publishing houses have, so you’re competing with the big names without the benefits they have in terms of name recognition, resources, etc. that comes from being published via traditional means. Thus, you’ve got to work even harder, be more creative, and more dedicated. You’ve got to make sure your manuscript is perfect before it’s available for sale. You’ve got to make sure it’s edited correctly. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got an eye-catching cover. However, I’d point out that more and more people are going the self-publishing route. There are even some big name authors that are going that route themselves. Despite the obvious drawbacks, there are some benefits. When you self-publish, you maintain control of pretty much all aspects of your work. You’re not subrogating any rights or responsibilities to anyone else, and you’ve generally got a higher profit margin.

My advice for people wanting to write a book is that you need to set realistic expectations for yourself. I don’t want to discourage anyone. I just want to be honest with them and want them to be honest with themselves. Very few writers make it. Very few people have the will power and the stamina to go the distance and write the second and third books. But listen, if you have a passion for writing and you’re committed to it, go for it. Work hard, keep disciplined, and be the best you can. If you’ve got to take some writing classes, so be it. Do what you have to do if you’re really committed to it. Writing is a lot like getting a puppy. A lot of people think it’s fun and cool to have a little creature around for the first few months, but the luster wears off when the dog starts tearing up the furniture or going to the bathroom on the floor or when you’ve got to get up early on a Saturday and take the dog out to the bathroom or for a walk, particularly if it’s cold out. You know what I mean? Much like having a pet, writing is a big commitment. Don’t do it if you’re easily discouraged or if you don’t have the time and staying power to stick with it through the rejections and criticism.

And don’t forget the criticism. There will be a lot of criticism along the way. You won’t be able to please everyone, so you’ll have to get some thick skin. Some people are going to like it, and some people are going to hate it. It’s hard taking the criticism when you’ve put your heart and soul into something, but you better get used to it. Even the biggest names have lots of critics. Just pull up their books on Amazon and look at the reviews. They’re not all five star.   

 

 

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What are the consequences if America goes off the fiscal cliff?

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Mystery Novelist Digger Cartwright Participates in Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium

Orlando, FL, Miami, FL & Washington, D.C. (PRWEB) January 22, 2013— The office of Digger Cartwright, mystery novelist and industrialist, released the transcripts of his responses to the question and answer session from Thinking Outside the Boxe’s 9th Annual Symposium held in Orlando from December 23-31, 2012. The symposium focused on topics such as recent economic conditions and the outlook for the coming year, geopolitical events, domestic politics, etc.

 

Take the bus off the damn cliff and get it over with. Fact of the matter is the end of the Bush tax cuts will have a bigger effect on people in the lower tax brackets than people in the higher tax brackets. And guess what, those in the lower brackets are probably the ones who voted Obama a second term. So, when their paychecks get smaller next year, they can thank him. Don’t blame the Republicans, just thank the Democrats. This is what they want. They don’t care if we go off the cliff.

 

If we go off the cliff, it’s not the end of the world. The government’s profligate spending is what is going to destroy us. No one at this event can individually spend more than what they make on an on-going basis. It just doesn’t work that way. Everyone here has a budget that they have to adhere to. We all have spending limits. We can’t just print money. But the politicians in Washington don’t understand that, because they think they can just print more money or tax people more. They’re economic idiots!

 

There’s a fundamental problem when you constantly budget annual increases, and the only reductions in spending are reductions in the increases in spending. It would be like each of us budgeting for a 10% per year increase in our spending budget when in reality our income is only increasing by 3% or so. After the first year, we find ourselves in debt because we spent more than we made. So, for the second year, our spending budget is based on the prior year’s level but with only a 5% increase. And in reality, in the second year, our income only grows by 3% again. We go in the hole again, then we do the same thing in the third year. This is asinine, but this is the way they do it in Washington! Make any sense?

 

If we are ever to get meaningful spending cuts, we need to cut the base spending not just the rate of increase in spending. So, if we spend $1 trillion this year, we spend only $900 billion next year. That’s cuts in spending. And actually, that’s what the sequester does, but have you noticed that no one in Washington wants to go along with that plan now? Oh, let’s not cut spending. Hell, that’s just what we need, but sadly the sequester doesn’t go far enough.

 

But there’s a second part to this equation that we can’t forget—revenues. If the economy were growing at about 5% or 6% annually for a couple of years, we’d be generating a lot more in revenues and the budget deficit wouldn’t be so large. We you have an economy that is producing at its potential, there are a lot of positive benefits—people are working and paying taxes and spending money. All of that leads to a strong economic base and higher revenues brought in from taxes. Just think, if we reduced the headline unemployment rate from 7.9% to 6%, we’d be looking at about 3 million more people employed. That means there’d be 3 million more taxpayers paying payroll taxes, income taxes, sales taxes on goods purchased, etc. And, if we could reduce the real unemployment rate—that counts people who have given up looking for jobs or who are working less than what they want—to 6%, we’d be looking at about 10 million workers back in the workforce. Think that would have an impact on getting the economy going? Obviously, we’re talking big numbers, but I don’t want to overplay what it can do. People working isn’t the cure for all our problems. We have to have spending restraint at the federal and state levels. We’ve got to make meaningful and deep spending cuts across the board. No programme and no department should be spared on the spending cuts. Everything from entitlement programmes to defense to education to foreign aid should be on the chopping block.

 

Sadly, I’m afraid the Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to cave and give in to the President. So, we’ll get higher taxes and virtually no meaningful spending cuts. We won’t get any tax reform or changes to entitlement. Let’s go off the fiscal cliff now, let the economy go into recession again, then have a meaningful debate during mid-term elections in 2014. By then, maybe the Republicans can have their acts together and actually get something accomplished. Ah, but wait a minute! We’ve got the debt ceiling issue coming back up in early 2013. So, maybe that will be an opportunity to force some massive spending cuts. Or maybe they’ll just raise taxes again.

 

But I’d like to make one more point if I may, and that’s about the effects of Obamacare in 2013 and beyond. We’re starting to get a picture of what this is going to mean in terms of new taxes, fees, or whatever they want to call it. Make no mistake, each and every single American worker and taxpayer is going to be paying more to the federal government starting next year just to pay for Obamacare. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t think it is going to affect them, but they’re going to be in for a rude awakening. There’s stuff in that bill that the IRS is finding out about now that no one ever dreamed of. It isn’t going to be pretty, and businesses aren’t going to take this lightly. Businesses aren’t going to hire or expand if they’ve got this massive new expense. And how are we ever going to get the economy going again if businesses don’t hire workers or start laying off workers again or reducing them all to part time? Not everyone can work for the government. 

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 11

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Miss Matisse: I happen to absolutely love that you keep your fans in mind while writing too! Your new series sounds like it’s going to be a big hit! When it comes to writing, have you ever had to overcome writers block? If so, how were you able to work around it?

Digger Cartwright: I will occasionally encounter writer’s block. For me, I have to be in the right frame of mind to sit down and write. I really have to be in the mood. When I’m in the zone, so to speak, I can just sit and crank it out. If I’m not in the zone, it’s tough; it’s very laborious under those circumstances. Where I often encounter writer’s block is that I create a situation while I’m working that impacts the direction I was taking. I have to work through the change and the implications for the storyline. I like to say I’ve worked myself into a corner and have to figure a way out. Usually it’s just a matter of stepping away for a while and letting it all work through my mind. Sometimes I’ll need to take a break, have something to eat, get some fresh air, go walk around, or even listen to some music. Really it’s just a matter of stepping away and clearing my mind. Once the answer comes to me, I’ll get focused and get back to work.

Ultimately, I think any writer really has to be in the right frame of mind to do their best work. I’ve read a lot of books in the recent past that seemed to indicate the author was trying to force the words onto paper and it came across as being of a lesser quality than their normal prose.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 10

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Miss Matisse: You’re currently writing a piece about Money, Power, Greed, Sex and Revenge…high society has a new first family…in which, the character Jarrod Van Kliem returns from exile in London to reclaim control of the family business that was grabbed from him years ago, and he’ll stop at nothing to get what he wants—even if it means destroying his own family in the process! This I find fascinating! Where did this idea stem from?

Digger Cartwright: I was always a fan of Falcon Crest, Dallas and Dynasty, the prime time soap operas back in the 1980s. I wanted to create a modern-day drama with everything that made those shows so great—money, high society, power, backstabbing, wheeling and dealing, revenge, sex. Gems & Jewels is a modern-day take on that with a family that is involved in the mining and jewelry industry. I actually started out with this as a teleplay years ago in hopes of making it a mini-series that led to an actual weekly series. That never worked out, so last year I decided to make this a series of books, starting with Gems & Jewels Book II: The Restoration. When I wrote the teleplay, I actually had planned out about five seasons of the show, so all the plots for Books II through V are already laid out for me. Now, it’s just a matter of putting them all in prose as opposed to script format. Of course, a lot has changed since I originally wrote these, so I’m having to make some significant changes to the plots and characters. In the end, I think this will turn out to be a very exciting series. I think the successful return of Dallas a year or so ago bodes well for Gems & Jewels. I think the fans are going to love this and really get into it.

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Miss Matisse Interview- With Published Author Digger Cartwright Question 9

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Miss Matisse: You have thirteen years under your belt already! That’s pretty cool if I do say so myself, because that’s more than most authors can say that they have! What should readers expect to find when they pick up a Digger Cartwright book?

Digger Cartwright: Murder, mystery, intrigue, an engaging story with twists and turns when it comes to most of my books. Conversations on the Bench is the lone example at this point, since it’s motivational and was inspired by actual events. Regardless of what book you read, it’s going to be an interesting and unique storyline. There are going to be a lot of memorable characters. There are going to be a lot of descriptions of the people and the settings. I try to paint a picture so that you as a reader feel like you’re in the story. I want you to be able to see the people and places in your heads. Some of the books you won’t be able to put down. You’re going to want to keep reading to find out what happens. Others, you’re going to want to step back and think about it for a while. In any case, you’re going to get an engaging story and a quality piece of work. None of my books are going to be like the run-of-the-mill books being put out by mainstream authors today.

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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

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Twenty-Five Questions You Should be able to Answer…if You Want to Vote

Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty. – Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson considered education to be the foundation of democracy.  Furthermore, he believed that the people should be educated before they should be able to vote.  Simply, only educated people could be responsible enough to self govern in our democracy.  I wholeheartedly believe that each individual who wants to vote should be educated.  An uneducated electorate will ultimately fail to protect the democratic form of government and will fall into dictatorship, despotism, or whatever you want to call it. 

It is one thing to attend school and get a high school diploma.  That doesn’t mean that you’re educated or that you have the intellectual capacity to vote.  I don’t think that a good number of people here in the United States have the intellectual capacity to vote.  Nonetheless, those who have attained the age of 18 years old are allowed to vote

Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t expect you to be an Albert Einstein in order to vote.  I do believe, however, that anyone who wants to vote should have both a minimum level of education and a knowledge of American civics before they can vote.  So, if you drop out of high school, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  If you don’t graduate with a minimum grade point average of, let’s say, 2.5, you shouldn’t be allowed to vote.  However, more important that this, I think that the American voters at large have a deficiency of knowledge in American civics.  How then can these voters be expected to make rational decisions as part of our democracy?  Furthermore, without a certain minimum knowledge of American civics, why should these people be entrusted with a vote that may have an impact on other people?

With voting comes responsibility.  It’s just that simple.  Would you trust your doctor to prescribe medicine to you if he didn’t have medical knowledge?  Would you trust someone to represent you without a law degree or knowledge of the law?  Would you trust a stranger to babysit your child?  I doubt any rational person would answer ‘Yes’ to any of these questions.

Therefore, I think that each person should be required to answer five or ten random questions about American civics, American history, etc. before they are allowed to vote.  It’s real simple.  You go in the voting booth, but before the electronic ballot comes up, you get to answer the questions.  (If there’s any place left using paper ballots, we have a real problem!)  If you pass the quiz, you get to vote.  If you don’t pass the quiz, you don’t get to vote.

I’ve come up with a list of twenty-five questions that are representative of the type questions I think each person should be able to answer before they can vote.  Honestly, if you can’t answer ALL of the following twenty-five questions CORRECTLY, I don’t think you should be able to vote.

1.      1.  Who is the current Vice President of the United States?

2.       2.  Who was the first President of the United States?

3.       3.  How many stripes are on the flag of the United States?

4.       4.  How many states are there in the United States?

5.       5.  The first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are known as the what?

6.       6.  What year did the American Revolution begin/what year did the American colonies declare their independence from Great Britain?

7.       7.  Who was President of the United States during the Civil War?

8.       8.  What are the three branches of the federal government?

9.       9.  How many senators are there in the United States Senate?

10.   10.  How many voting members are in the United States House of Representatives?

11.   11.  How many justices on the United States Supreme Court?

12.   12.  Who is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives?

13.   13.  Who is the current Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court?

14.   14.  The First Amendment of the United States Constitution provides for freedom of what?

15.   15.  Who wrote the Declaration of Independence?

16.   16.  On what month and day does the United States celebrate declaring its independence from Great Britain?

17.   17.  The USS Arizona was sunk on December 7, 1941 in what state, prompting the United States to enter World War II?

18.   18.  In which state is the Alamo located?

19.   19.  The number of representatives that each state has in the US House of Representatives is based on a state’s what?

20.   20.  Whose picture is on the $20 bill?

21.   21.  Only the United States _____________ has the power to declare war.

22.   22.  Whose signature appears first on the Declaration of Independence?

23.   23.  Who are your state’s current United States Senators?

24.   24.  What is the capital of the United States of America?

25.   25.  What is the capital of your state?

So how did you do with the questions…did you get to vote?  I’m not going to give you the answers here.  If you don’t know the answer to one of the questions, look it up.  You’ll never forget it after that.

Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education. - FDR


~Digger


 

 

 

 

 

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I Support Higher Gas Prices at the Pump by Raising the Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline

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I Support Higher Gas Prices at the Pump by Raising the Federal Excise Tax on Gasoline

That’s right.  I support higher gas prices for consumers at the pump.  Let’s get gas prices up there to about $8 per gallon by adding on some massive taxes to gasoline.  I’m talking about gas prices for consumers, the individuals, not the shipping companies.  Quite simply, if you can’t afford the gas, don’t drive.  Or maybe you could carpool or use public transportation or how about walk.

I’m tired of people whining about gas prices.  If you don’t want to pay for gas, don’t buy it.  Stop driving as much.  Most individuals drive a lot more than is necessary to get to and from work.  They take a joy ride to go shopping today then again tomorrow then the next day.  They go out to the movies or run the kids all around town to soccer or baseball or football practice or dance or whatever.  In general, people do a lot of unnecessary running around.  I do it too.

This is what gets me.  No one wants to make any sacrifices in life.  Let’s say gas goes up ten cents per gallon.  If you have a twenty gallon tank, it’s going to cost you an extra $2 each time you fill up.  Maybe you should give up one of those Starbucks’ lattes before you complain about the increase in gas prices.  Or maybe you should give up the manicure or the trip to the spa.  I know a lot of people in the service industry who are always complaining about how high gas prices hurt them, yet every time you turn around they’re out at the bar drinking up a storm.  Maybe you shouldn’t be spending your money on liquor or cigarettes or shooting pool if you can’t afford the gas or think prices are too high.  When cigarette prices go up, people complain but they don’t stop smoking.  When soda prices go up, people don’t stop drinking Coke or Pepsi.

Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of negatives to higher gas prices, mainly from an economic perspective.  Let’s just say that we only have higher gas prices for individual consumers at the pump—not the diesel prices that the trucking industry uses—just the prices for the average guy like me and you.  Let’s consider the positive side to higher gas prices.

·         With high gas prices, a lot of people just won’t be able to afford to drive anymore.  There is an inverse relationship between gas prices and vehicle miles traveled.  As gas prices increase, vehicle miles traveled decreases.  According to the Federal Highway Administration, the average price of gas in 2011 was $3.52 (regular grade) per gallon as compared to $2.78 in 2010.  Total vehicle miles traveled nationwide in 2011 decreased by about 1.2% compared to 2010.  So, for each 10% increase in gas prices, vehicle miles traveled decreases by 0.5%. 

 

·         We all know that there are a lot of people out of the over 200 million people who are currently driving that shouldn’t be driving, for whatever reason.  These are the people who are trying to put on makeup while they’re driving, the kids trying to impress their friends by driving recklessly, the people who can’t afford both gas and their alcohol, the people who can’t wait until they get to their destination to text.  Higher gas prices are going to take a large swathe of these people out of the driving population.  Think the roads will be safer if these people aren’t on it?  

 

·         With fewer drivers on the road, we’ll be releasing less CO2 into the environment.  Americans use about 400 million gallons of gasoline each and every day.  CO2 emissions are about 1 million tons per day.  Even a small reduction in the amount of gasoline burned each day will reduce the amount of pollution.  In addition, about 5% of particles from tires as they wear on the road are released into the air as pollutants.  Ultimately, these tires end up in landfills at the end of thir useful lives.  Not only are these bad for the environment, they’re bad for your health.  Does anyone object to cleaner air and a cleaner environment?

 

·         With fewer drivers on the roads, there would likely be fewer accidents.  There are about 11 million motor vehicle accidents each year resulting in 30,000-40,000 deaths.  Will fewer drivers on the road save lives?  Yes.  In addition, these accidents cost over a quarter of a billion dollars each year.  Will fewer accidents lower insurance payouts?  Yes.  Will fewer accidents reduce the number of lawsuits in the courts?  Yes.  Think accidents only cost those parties involved in the accident?  Think again.  Who pays for this?  Everyone.  If you have insurance, you pay for it.  If you pay taxes, you pay for it.  If you have employees, you pay for it.  If you buy goods and services, you pay for it.  You may not pay for it directly, but you pay for it one way or another.  So ultimately, fewer drivers on the road will save each and every one of us money.

 

·         As gasoline prices increase, there is a direct relationship with the increase in public transit ridership.  When gas prices spiked back in 2008, exceeding $4 per gallon, public transit saw quarterly increases in ridership of anywhere between 5-7%.  Something like 80% of public transit systems saw an increase in ridership in 2008, when gas prices spiked, and as a result, nearly half of them increased the frequency of their service while about one-third expanded service to new areas.  Obviously, this spike in gas prices and the accompanying increase in ridership were a financial windfall for the public transit agencies and systems.  Sustained increases in ridership would stabilize the finances of these systems and allow for expansion of services.  Many places desperately need expanded public transit services.  High gas prices=higher ridership=more money for expansion=more access to more riders. 

 

·    Here’s a real simple one to understand:  Fewer Drivers on the Road=Less Demand for Gasoline=Less Demand for Foreign Oil…Got that? 

As I said before, we best accomplish higher gas prices by adding massive taxes to the per gallon cost of gasoline.  Right now, the federal excise tax on gasoline is only 18.4 cents per gallon.  The US consumes about 140 billion gallons of gasoline each year.  At that rate, the federal government makes about $26 billion annually from the gasoline tax (not including what state and local governments make).  Let’s say we added on $1.316 per gallon to the gasoline tax, so we’re up to $1.50 per gallon just in the federal tax.  Now, it would be nice to think that the federal government would be making over $210 billion annually from this, but realistically, consumption is going to drop dramatically if this happened.  Even so, let’s say consumption dropped to 100 billion gallons annually.  The federal government would make about $150 billion annually.  Think that extra money could go to stabilizing the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare?  How about paying down the national debt?

Look, higher gas prices would cause a lot of people a lot of pain, but it may just cause them to change their driving behaviors.  Let’s just recap a few of the benefits of the higher gas prices that result in fewer drivers on the road.

Fewer Drivers=Fewer Accidents

Fewer Drivers=Less Pollution

Fewer Drivers=Boost for Public Transit

Fewer Drivers=Less Dependence on Foreign Oil

Additionally, the increase in the federal gas tax could provide much needed additional funds that could be used to shore up Social Security, Medicare, build new roads, invest in public transit, pay down our national debt, etc.  Ultimately, we’d see a massive increase in public transit services and ridership, but any increases in public transit services and increases in ridership would necessitate a fundamental shift in behavior of the driving public.  Yes, it might be an inconvenience for some who are used to getting up and driving wherever they want and whenever they want.  Sometimes, we have to make sacrifices, particularly if you can’t afford something.

Higher gas prices wouldn’t be easy for anyone, but it would force consumers to make some difficult choices and sacrifices.  We, as a society, have become too spoiled.  We’re used to relatively low gas prices and people get all pissed off when gas prices go up.  I don’t hear too many people complaining that the price of soda in the machine increased from $1.00 to $1.25.

This whole discussion is pretty satirical.  We’re not going to increase the gas tax that much.  But we have a major problem in this country.  We consume way too much gasoline!  It’s just a fact.  There are a lot of problems that come from our excessive consumption of gasoline.  If we want to end our addiction to foreign oil and lower gas prices, there’s a simple solution…DRIVE LESS.  Not only does driving less help reduce our dependence on foreign oil, there are a lot of other benefits that I’ve enumerated in this article. 

I recognize that changing a behavior that is so engrained in our lives is a highly difficult task.  Most people don’t want to make sacrifices.  So, about this?  Start a “No Drive Day” each month.  Maybe it’s one Saturday or Sunday or your day off.  Instead of getting in your car and running to the mall or the beach or a friend’s house, how about walking or biking or taking public transit on just one day per month?  If everyone did that, we’d reduce gasoline consumption by about 400 million gallons per month or nearly 5 billion gallons per year.  Just think if we all sacrificed driving one day each week…that equates to an annual reduction of about 21 billion gallons of gasoline.  Can anyone argue that we wouldn’t be better off if we consumed less?

 
~Digger

 

 

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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately - Part 2

Posted by Digger Cartwright
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Robert “Digger” Cartwright is the author of several mystery stories, teleplays, and novels including The Versa...
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10 Ways for the Federal Government to Save Money…Almost Immediately

 

 

The massive federal budget deficits of the last several years have resulted in an unprecedented increase

in our national debt. Since President Obama came to office, the national debt has soared from $10

trillion to nearly $16 trillion, a 50% increase. This uncontrolled federal spending and the accompanying

increase in the level of national debt cannot continue. Otherwise we will find ourselves in the same

situation as Greece, Spain, Portugal, Italy and other countries whose massive social programmes

have led them to financial collapse. If we do not control the amount of federal spending, stop deficit

spending, and stop increasing the national debt, several things will ultimately happen. This isn’t

speculation, it is simply economic fact what will eventually happen:



1. Higher interest rates—as borrowing and debt increases, particularly since the US Treasury debt

has been downgraded for the first time in history, interest rates will eventually rise. Not only

will it cost more the Treasury to borrow money, individuals and businesses seeking bank loans,

mortgages, etc. will have higher borrowing costs.

2. Higher taxes—increased spending will result in higher taxes to fund the spending in addition to

the incursion of more debt

3. Lower economic growth—as rates rise and taxes rise, economic activity declines

4. Weaker dollar—Lower growth+Higher Taxes+Higher Interest Rates=Depreciation in the Dollar

5. Inflation—Continued accommodative monetary policy aimed at keeping rates low and

stimulating economic activity has massively increased the money supply. More dollars chasing

goods=inflation

 

If the President and the Congress are serious about reducing the deficit, it’s pretty simple—return the

budget to 2000 levels immediately. There’s absolutely no reason that the budget can’t be balanced

before 2020. Any politician who doesn’t support a return to 2000 spending levels isn’t serious about

cutting spending, eliminating the deficit, or reducing the national debt and should be voted out of

office. Would it be easy to revert to spending levels from 2000? No. Would it be painful for a lot of

government agencies and programmes? Yes. Can it be done? Yes. Would it be effective at eliminating

the deficit? Yes. If there a political will to do this in Washington, D.C.? No.

 

Remember, every dollar that the federal government spends, that is appropriated by members of the

Congress and approved by the President, is a dollar from the pocket of a working American or a business

that employs workers and creates jobs or is a dollar that is stolen from future generations of American

workers and taxpayers. Money doesn’t grow on trees. It comes from someone’s pocket. Borrowing the

money to fund spending is only robbing from Peter to pay Paul. Someone down the road will ultimately

have to foot the bill for spending today over which they may or may not have had any control or any

say.

 

In addition to reverting to 2000 spending levels, I’ve come up with a few additional ways that the federal

government could start saving money.


The first five ways were published last week and can be read by clicking here.



Here are five fresh ways...  ways 6-10!


#6  Federal workforce cuts

 

Federal workers are paid well and receive benefits that would be

the envy of most state workers and private sector employees. There are about 1.86 million

federal workers. The average pay is about $76,000. About 420,000 federal workers make

less than $50,000 and about 420,000 make more than $100,000. Just over 1,000,000 workers

make between $50,000 and $100,000. A lot of Americans would love to fall into one of these

categories. And, this doesn’t include generous benefits offered to federal workers such as the

Federal Employees Retirement System, Thrift Savings Plan, Federal Employees Health Benefits

Program (the Cadillac plan), Federal Employees Group Life Insurance, 13 days sick leave, 10

days paid holiday, up to 26 days of vacation based on years of service, Family Friendly Leave

Flexibilities, Recruitment Bonuses, Relocation Bonus, Retention Allowance, Student Loan

Repayment, Long Term Care Insurance Programs, and Child Care Subsidy Programs.

 

It is an insult to the American taxpayers that hard earned tax dollars are going to pay for federal

workers’ child care, particularly when the majority of the taxpayers have to foot the bill for their

own child care. And why should the American taxpayers repay student loans for government

workers? Look, these federal employees are, on average, making more than private sector

counterparts. Why should all of these benefits be paid for by the taxpayer in addition to these

very generous salaries? Let them pay for their own damn childcare and student loans just like

everyone else. It seems like the bureaucrats, and that’s what federal workers really are, get to

ride the gravy train at the taxpayers’ expense. Salaries for federal workers alone (excluding the

cost of benefits) costs each worker about $684 annually.
 

 

Federal workers can’t go crying poor mouth. The average state employee in the US makes

about $58,000. The average salary of federal workers at $76,000 is over 30% higher than state

workers, who make about $2,500 more annually than comparable private sector workers.

 

I’ve long advocated eliminating completely some federal departments like the Department of

Education, the Department of Labor, the Department of Energy, the Department of Agriculture,

just to name a few. These departments employee tens of thousands of federal workers, and

no one seems to know what they really do. The folks at the Department of Energy haven’t

solved our energy problems and dependence on foreign oil. The Department of Education isn’t

teaching our students, and so on. They don’t seem to be accomplishing much, so maybe we

should start with some personnel cuts in these departments?

 

But eliminating who departments probably isn’t going to happen overnight, so how about this

proposal? Let’s cut the entire federal workforce across the board by 3% OR cut all federal

employee pay by 6% OR reduce federal pay to state worker averages. What would this mean

in dollar terms? Eliminating 3% of the total federal bureaucracy would eliminate about 56,000

jobs at an average salary of $76,000, saving taxpayers about $4 billion annually. Cutting

all federal employee salaries by 6% (this doesn’t touch the issue of “benefits”) would save

taxpayers about $8.5 billion annually. Now, let’s say we cut federal salaries to the average state

worker salary of $58,000. That would say taxpayers a whopping $34 billion annually.

 

I don’t have a problem with people being paid well, but the pay for bureaucrats is, quite frankly,

ridiculous by any reasonable standards.

 

#7  Audit each department for fraudulent spending

 

Here’s a novel idea…let’s have the IRS

not only audit for Social Security, Medicare, and Welfare fraud but also audit each and every

department of the federal government. Remember the scandal at the GSA where the taxpayers

footed millions of dollars in wasteful spending, like the trip to Las Vegas? If the IRS had been

auditing the federal government, maybe the GSA wouldn’t have gotten away with this.

 

The GAO has, in fact, done some auditing of their own and determined that nearly half of all

purchases on government credit cards are improper, abusive, or fraudulent for things like

 

gambling, mortgage payments, liquor, iPods, Xboxes, jewelry, televisions, entertainment,

prostitutes, and vacations. Apparently, bureaucrats like to wine and dine on the taxpayer

dollar—one such dinner cost taxpayers $13,000 at a Ruth’s Chris in Orlando. And how about

the $146 million annually on flight upgrades to first class because some bureaucrats refuse to

fly coach? Where’s the accountability? Purchases on federal credit cards total over $18 billion

annually. If roughly half of these purchases are classified at improper, abusive, or fraudulent,

this costs taxpayers $9 billion annually or about $43 per worker annually. It sort of like each

worker in America buying a federal employee a dinner at Ruth’s Chris each year. How do you

feel about this?

 

#8  Eliminate ineffective or redundant programmes

 

Numerous studies have concluded that there

is a tremendous amount of overlap or redundancy in federal programmes and a high degree of

inefficiency in federal programmes.

 

First, the GAO did a study a few years back that indicated duplication in over 300 economic

programmes, over 100 programmes for at-risk youth, 100 programmes for the disabled, and so

on. These are all duplicate programmes being handled by difference departments or agencies

within the federal government. It makes no sense for multiple departments to be handling

similar programmes. Consolidate them and reduce the overlap and redundancy.

 

Second, the administration of President George W. Bush reviewed over 1,000 different federal

programmes and found that about 20% are either classified as ineffective or results not

demonstrated such as the IRS Earned Income Tax Credit Compliance, Workforce Investment Act,

Trade Adjustment Assistance, Juvenile Accountability Block Grants, AmeriCorps National Civilian

Community Corps, just to name a few. Does anyone actually know what these programmes are

or what they do or what they hope to accomplish?

 

It sounds like these programmes are just a waste of taxpayer money. If they’re ineffective or

if the results aren’t sufficient to be noticeably measurable, they’re probably not doing what

they were intended to do. Pull the plug on them and quit wasting money! In fact, duplicate

programmes or ineffective programmes cost taxpayers over $120 billion annually. That’s about

$580 per worker each year. It certainly seems like these programmes are only intended to give

some bureaucrats a job or the opportunity to misappropriate taxpayer funds.

 

#9  Close overseas military bases

 

Did you know that the US military has more than 700 bases

overseas (not including those in Afghanistan)? These bases cost money to operate. They

aren’t free. There are utilities, maintenance and repairs, rent, etc. In addition, these bases are

concentrated in places where we don’t need to be. There are about 200 bases in Germany,

over 100 in Japan, and over 80 in South Korea. We don’t need to be in Europe. Germany isn’t

going to rise up again and try to take over France. There are some estimates that these bases

overseas cost US taxpayers over $100 billion annually to operate and maintain. Really? Do

we really need to be spending taxpayer money to maintain and operate bases in places that

 

aren’t in danger anymore and that don’t have a strategic value in this day and age? World War

II is over. The Cold War is over. Let’s get out of these places, close the bases, and bring our

troops back home. They can be redeployed to protecting our border and guarding our airports,

nuclear facilities, ports, etc. We’ve got about 81,000 active servicemen and women in Europe

alone! Keep one base with a skeleton crew and bring the rest home. Do you know what kind of

economic boost we would get with 75,000 troops along the border with Mexico? These service

personnel with combined salaries of well over $1 billion would be spending money here in the

United States not in Germany or Italy or anywhere else in Europe. Putting the money into our

economy is a whole lot better for us!

 

Closing a number of overseas bases and bringing the troops home won’t weaken our military.

I’m not suggesting we reduce the size of the military. I’m merely suggesting we close the bases

overseas and redeploy the troops to more strategically advantageous locations—like our border

with Mexico.

 

At $100 billion annually to operate the overseas bases, the 207 million workers in the US are

each paying about $483 per year to keep these bases open. Is it worth it?

 

#10  Sell off government owned properties

Even the Obama administration has realized that

the federal government has a lot of excess properties—about 14,000 unused or underused

properties to be exact. Some government estimates suggest maintaining these properties

costs taxpayers over $1 billion annually. Other estimates suggest the cost of unused federal

properties is upwards of $25 billion annually. The Department of Defense, for example, may be

spending $3 billion annually on maintenance of unused buildings.

 

The simple fact is that the federal government has a lot of property and it isn’t managing its real

estate assets very well. If the building isn’t being used, why keep it and maintain it? Sell it if you

can and get some money for it, or if it’s in an area that would have to be remediated, demolish

it and eliminate the annual maintenance expense. If the federal government has over 1 billion

square feet of excess space, why not consolidate offices as much as possible?

 

If you have two buildings that are half empty, you’re paying utilities for both buildings,

maintenance, etc. Consolidate operations into one building, shut the other building down, save

on the utilities of the empty building, and then sell it. If you have two homes and you can only

live in one of them and you can’t afford to let the other one sit empty, you have a couple of

options: sell the second home or rent it out. In either case, you’re converting an asset that is

only incurring expenses into one that has generated a lump sum of cash or monthly cash flow

from rental income.

 

Evidently, the federal government isn’t concerned about that. Of course, it’s easy to spend

other people’s money. These excess federal properties or unused federal properties are costing

each American worker somewhere between $5 and $121 per year.

 

Conclusion

 

The federal government wastes massive amounts of taxpayer money annually on improper payments,

fraud, simple waste, excessive salaries for federal workers (not including the generous benefits

packages), redundancies, foreign aid, etc. The aforementioned areas where the federal government

could start saving money almost immediately are costing the average American worker about $2,000

per year. The IRS has a lot of tenacious employees who would just love to dig into federal departments

and audit their expenditures. Let’s have the IRS focus on investigating this type of fraud as well. Isn’t

it time we turn the tables and make government departments across the board accountable for the

money they are spending? This isn’t their money. It’s money that belongs to each and every taxpayer

in America. There is a pervasive lack of concern or lack of caring about waste and fraud in the federal

government by employees of government agencies. After all, it’s easy to spend money that isn’t yours,

particularly when there is little or no accountability. It’s like the fox guarding the henhouse. Any federal

agency or department that is spending taxpayer money has a fiduciary responsibility to the American

taxpayer to make sure that money isn’t wasted or misappropriated or fraudulently spent.



~Digger

 

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