The Beer: I currently have 6 different beers in bottles and kegs and a mead taking its time in the secondary. One remains to brew. This is probably the most beers I've had at one time.
The Bicycle: 48 miles today in 3 hours. My legs just ain't what they used to be.
The VRWC: The talk these days from both sides of the aisle is of increasing taxes to close budget gaps. In what universe does that work. I have yet to see any government entity which will not spend every dime available to it. How would raising taxes change that?
A Joint Economic Committee report in 1996 verified that the Reagan tax cuts brought in more revenue. The problem was that Congress spent all of it and then some. What makes anyone think this will change? The same has been true on state and local levels since I was a child. New programs are developed to "help" someone; the poor, the old, the sick, the children. I argue this results have been mixed at best.
I am unable to find any results I consider unbiased for children's programs. But if one considers the horrific dropout rate in big-city schools and the poverty rate among children, I suggest that "children's programs" are an abject failure.
Welfare programs have been a bust as well. Prior to Johnson's Great Society, there was a burgeoning (though segregated) Black business sector in nearly every major city. Look at those areas today and you see nothing but drugs, violence and hopelessness. What changed? It has become easier to take "the dole" than to work. And it's not just Black society; White and Hispanic America have succumbed to it to, but the disparate impact is on the Black. As of August 2010, 1 in 6 Americans received government aid. And "government aid" has not become a "get out of the hole and back to work" program. It has become a lifestyle.
The old and sick. Social Security. Medicare. Two bankrupt systems. Medicare is rife with fraud and corruption and Social Security has been plundered by Congress. They serve no one well.
But even in all that, how much of this is the responsibility of the Federal Government? None. Not from a Constitutional position anyway.
The government continues to expand and take a bigger and bigger part of our lives. These examples are merely the tip of the iceberg. Until Congress shows the intestinal fortitude to really cut spending, there should be no tax increases.