Friday, September 30, 2016

The Consequences of America's Shrinking Cities and States

Americans are on the move. They're leaving various cities and states to avoid high taxes, crime, high costs of living, and to seek better jobs; or, to simply retire.  The downside to this is potential bankruptcies as the tax bases shrink; leaving cities and states with expensive pensions and other commitments that are left over from a time when populations were much higher.

This was certainly the case in the now-bankrupt Detroit.  In 1950, that city's population was 1.8 million. By 2013, it had only 700,000 residents.  But, Detroit's problems -- as the largest city in Michigan -- are taking that state along with it.  Right now, Michigan is on the verge of losing one of it's  Congressional seats due to it's slowing growth.  As a state with nearly 10 million residents, the population increased by only 6,270 from 2014 to 2015; according to the Census Bureau. 

Illinois is in a similar "state" of affairs.  It, too, is close to losing a Congressional seat to some other faster growing states like Texas.  Key to the loss there, is the fact that its largest city, Chicago, is shrinking in size.  New York state is also losing people, but in its case, many of those leaving are high end earners.  Even the weather-desirable California is seeing its population growth slowing.  The fact is that 8 states have growth rates of less than 1/2 of a percent and well below the inflation rates for running the state's expenses.

We are getting very close to an actual bankruptcy of the entire State of Michigan, and not just a single city like Detroit.  Not far behind are Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Youngstown, Ohio who have all seen losses greater than 50% from their peak populations.  The list of all the cities (see references) that have lost populations is substantial.  As a result, people located in those areas are bound to see higher taxes as the legislatures try to cope with increased costs and a lower tax base.  Raising taxes would only cause even more people to leave.  This is a serious spiral that America cannot afford.  The city/states that are effected need to rethink ways to restore population without raising taxes or we will all wind up paying higher taxes to bail them out.

References:

The Incredible Shrinking Illinois: http://www.chicagomag.com/city-life/February-2016/Where-Is-Illinois-Losing-Population/

Chicago area sees greatest population loss of any major U.S. city, region in 2015: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-population-record-loss-met-20160324-story.html

Taxpayers are fleeing New York in droves: http://nypost.com/2016/09/15/taxpayers-are-fleeing-new-york-in-droves/

The Decline of Detroit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Decline_of_Detroit

Mich. population rebound is slowing, census shows: http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/12/22/mich-population-rebound-slowing-census-shows/77746798/

Once a boom state, California sees a historic period of slow population growth: http://www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/article69054977.html

Warning: New Jersey in Midst of Millennial Outmigration: http://www.njspotlight.com/stories/16/02/15/new-report-warns-that-new-jersey-is-in-midst-of-millennial-outmigration/

New Jersey Herald: Time to address population loss: http://www.njherald.com/article/20160327/ARTICLE/303279973#

List of U.S. states by population growth rate: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_U.S._states_by_population_growth_rate

Shrinking cities in the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shrinking_cities_in_the_United_States







Thursday, September 29, 2016

Hillary's False Implication That the Rich Don't Pay Their Fair Share

Time and time, again, Hillary Clinton keeps repeating her Bernie Sanders-lite comment that she would pay for all her spending plans by taxing the rich, because they should pay their fair share.  But really, what is the definition of "fair share"?  To Bernie Sanders, it was 90%.  Hillary believes that there should be another 4% added on to the current top tax rate 39.6%, plus a 3.8% surcharge that was introduced for ObamaCare. In addition, they pay hefty real estate taxes on all their properties and large amounts of monies in state income taxes. But, Hillary says that's not enough.  In fact, if she does become president, she will ask the rich to pay even more so she will be able to buy even more votes with some new social program that conjures up.

It was no surprise that she brought up Trump's wealth during the debate and reiterated the "fair share" pitch. But, here's the reality, the top 1% of tax payers pay more in taxes than the bottom 90% of tax payers.  At the same time, 45% of American's pay no taxes.  Well, is that fair?

Personally, I would prefer a person like Trump to keep more of his money because I know he will use it to build more properties, and in the process: Create Jobs.  Highly paid jobs to construct the buildings and good paying jobs to staff them. That is something the federal government doesn't do with the money it is given.  Trillions in tax dollars has been paid, and still we have a large number of people living in poverty, without jobs.  The worst place for money to go is the federal government, where abuse and fraud are rampant.

Lastly, increasing taxes on the rich will only give them a reason to take their money and leave the country.  France found that out when it raised taxes on the wealthy.  After all, the rich are highly mobile and aren't necessarily tied to a specific job.  Of course, if we start losing our rich, who will pay for all the benefits that those 45% who don't pay taxes are enjoying?

References:

To Ensure Tax Fairness, Clinton Unveils New 'Fair Share Surcharge: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/briefing/factsheets/2016/01/11/to-ensure-tax-fairness-clinton-unveils-new-fair-share-surcharge-on-multi-millionaires/

The Top 1 Percent Pays More in Taxes than the Bottom 90 Percent: http://taxfoundation.org/blog/top-1-percent-pays-more-taxes-bottom-90-percent

45% of Americans pay no federal income tax: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/45-of-americans-pay-no-federal-income-tax-2016-02-24

New figures published this week suggest that an increasing number of France’s top earners are leaving the country, with some observers blaming high taxes for the rising “wealth drain”: http://www.france24.com/en/20150808-france-wealthy-flee-high-taxes-les-echos-figures

pb

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Hillary vs.Trump Debate: No Clear Winner

On the Tuesday following the presidential debate, leading liberal media outlets declared Hillary the winner.  Right leaning media outlets thought Trump the winner.  Snap-shot online polls followed the same trend depending on the right or left leaning of the outlet taking the poll.  But, online polls are historically biased towards the politics of the media outlet conducting it, and thus, are highly unreliable.

I personally think the debate was, at best, a tie.  Trump was good at the beginning but lost ground in the second half by not taking advantage of obvious openings and distortions of facts.  For example, when Hillary talked about a single architect being stiffed by Trump, he should have countered with the thousands of jobs that Trump properties have created.  And, it certainly didn't help Trump to have the moderator, Lester Holt, clearly take sides, badger, and constantly interrupt him.

The only way we will know who had the best night, is if the polls going forward shift.  If Trump's improving poll numbers start to slide again, Hillary can be confident that she won the night.  Obviously, the inverse effect would reveal Trump as the winner. However, I think the polls won't show much movement either way.  Just my opinion.

References:

How Trump won over a bar full of undecideds and Democrats: http://nypost.com/2016/09/26/the-best-debate-takes-come-from-inside-the-bar/

Byron York: Donald Trump's missed opportunities: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/article/2602948

Post-debate poll: Hillary Clinton takes round one: http://www.cnn.com/2016/09/27/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-debate-poll/

Online Polls Declare Trump Debate Winner, Despite Media Consensus For Clinton: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/27/online-polls-declare-trump-debate-winner-despite-media-consensus-for-clinton.html

Lester Holt: The Third Debater?: http://heatst.com/politics/lester-holt-the-third-debater/

NBC Crank Lester Holt Interrupted Trump 41 times, Hillary 7 Times ...And Lied About His Positions: http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2016/09/nbc-crank-lester-holt-interrupted-trump-41-times-hillary-7-times-lied-positions/


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why North Korea is Becoming More Dangerous

With all the presidential politicking consuming our daily intake of news, one event, that should have been front and center, went by with little notice.

On August 24, North Korea launched a ballistic missile from a submarine.  The missile flew more than 300 miles towards Japan before falling into the sea.  Experts believe that, had the arc been higher, it  could have reached a distance of over 600 miles.

This is a very dangerous move by North Korea.  Subs are silent killers that are difficult to detect without airborne magnetic anomaly detection (MAD).  And, then, only if the sub is within a narrow range and shallow depth for detection.  A sub with a nuclear tipped missile could easily roam off the West coast of the U.S., be undetected, and put many of our cities at risk like Los Angeles, Seattle, and San Francisco.

While it is highly unlikely that North Korea has currently achieved the miniaturization of nuclear technology to place a nuke on a sub launched missile, it probably is just a matter of time before they have that technology.  Add to this the obvious irrational behavior of Kim Jong-un, and our allies such as Japan could be facing a very dangerous future.

References:

North Korea fires submarine-launched ballistic missile towards Japan: http://www.reuters.com/article/us-northkorea-missiles-idUSKCN10Y2B0

Magnetic anomaly detector: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_anomaly_detector

Monday, September 26, 2016

Was This the Reason for the Charlotte Policeman's Killing of Keith Scott?

Just recently, the Brennan Center for Justice released its 2016 preliminary report of projected year-end increases in violent crime activity in the 30 largest cities.  Based on the news reports, one would think that Chicago would be number one on the "Brennan" list.  But, no.  Instead, San Antonio saw the largest increase in projected violent crime for 2016 at 52.5%. In second place was Charlotte, with an increase of 22.5% over 2015.  Chicago was actually third at 16.2%.

While spending years working as a manager, I can honestly tell you that when the workload increases unexpectedly, the level of stress goes up, and even the best employees, will start to make mistakes.  This is apparently the case for the police in Charlotte.  A 22.5% projected increase in violent crime, along with increases in almost every other category of crime in 2016, has apparently caused a quick increase in stress in just a short time.  The police chief has called for enough money to hire 50 more officers, 20 additional dispatchers, and five more crime scene techs, in order to deal with the relatively fast increase in crime activity.

I can't say that stress was solely responsible for the police shooting and killing of Keith Lamont Scott, but it certainly could have been a contributing factor.  And, why, unlike other cities, Charlotte's crime rate is soaring is a question that has to be addressed to insure that police aren't overworked; making what is already a tough job a lot tougher.

References:

Study: Violent Crime And Murders Slightly On The Rise This Year In Largest Cities: http://www.npr.org/2016/09/19/494293952/study-violent-crime-and-murders-slightly-on-the-rise-this-year-in-largest-cities

Charlotte-Mecklenburg: Crime on the rise in nearly every major category:  http://www.wsoctv.com/news/local/cmpd-to-release-2016-q1-crime-stats-announce-summer-initiative/261701976


Friday, September 23, 2016

The Greens are Nervous About Hillary's Climate Agenda

Just recently, the U.K.'s 'The Guardian' posted a story noting that a green activist group was sincerely upset with the fact that Hillary Clinton doesn't talk about climate change anymore.  In fact, a review of her speech transcripts showed that once she was endorsed by Bernie Sanders, the words "climate change" have generally disappeared from her campaign.

However, it isn't just  'The Guardian' that is questioning Hillary's dedication to climate change.  Liberal MSNBC criticized her in an opinion piece titled: "Clinton’s ‘comprehensive’ climate change policy is anything but".

Perhaps green activists should recognize that 'climate change' is a low priority among most Americans.  Why talk about it when there are better vote getting issues to discuss?

References:

Green Panic: Hillary Barely Mentions Climate Anymore: https://wattsupwiththat.com/2016/09/21/green-panic-hillary-barely-mentions-climate-anymore/

Hillary Clinton 'dropped climate change from speeches after Bernie Sanders endorsement': https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/20/hillary-clinton-dropped-climate-change-from-speeches-after-bernie-sanders-endorsement

Gallup: Americans still rank climate change as low-priority concern: http://climatechangedispatch.com/gallup-americans-still-rank-climate-change-as-low-priority-concern/





Thursday, September 22, 2016

The U.S. Has Nearly a Quarter Million Unsolved Murders Since 1980

Much of the recent news about Chicago has been regarding this year's number of shootings and murders.  What isn't well publicized is the fact that only 21% of murders in the city are cleared (solved).  A similar problem exists in Detroit where only 30% are cleared.  Los Angeles is only slightly better at 40%. In the country as a whole, only 64% of murders are solved.  This average is well down from 90% in 1965.  All told, nearly a quarter of a million murders have gone unsolved since 1980 with another 5,000 added each year.

One would have thought that with today's high tech tools such as DNA and the national fingerprint data base and identification system, crime fighting would have gotten much better.  But, the ability to solve murders still relies heavily on the human element.

In Chicago, the low clearance rate is a result of three factors that are probably common to many of the cities that have this problem.  First, many of the murders are committed by gangs and the members of the community fear that they too will be murdered if they come forth as witnesses.  Additionally, there is an increasing mistrust of the police; and again, witnesses not coming forward.  Finally, because of budget cuts, too few personnel are available to perform proper crime scene investigations and  detective work.

It always seems as if videos are taken when a police officer shoots someone, but where are those same cameras when someone is being murdered or shot without police involvement?  Also, mistrust has only increased because we have a President and other leaders that continually imply that police are guilty of racial bias.

Something has to change, or many more murders will go unsolved.   This is especially true due to the rising murder rates in our major cities as a result of the Ferguson effect.  Sending in the Justice Department to discipline our police on the reckless assumption that they're racist isn't going to resolve anything.

References:

Getting Away With Murder: Police fail to make an arrest in more than a third of the nation’s killings: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21656725-police-fail-make-arrest-more-third-nations-killings-getting-away

As Chicago killings surge, the unsolved cases pile up: http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-homicide-clearance-rate-20160909-story.html

Shoddy LAPD record keeping muddies murder statistics: http://www.dailynews.com/general-news/20140628/shoddy-lapd-record-keeping-muddies-murder-statistics