Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The Pope's Climate Change Encyclical: A Socialist Manifesto

Anyone reading Pope Francis' Encyclical ('Laudato Si') on climate change is left with three primary takeaways.
  1. Consumerism, driven by capitalism, is depleting the world's resources and raising the world's green house gasses resulting in global warming and climate change. 
  2. Rich nations and rich people must transfer their wealth to poorer countries and poorer peoples to help compensate them for what he calls the "pile of filth" they have created in our common home of this earth.
  3. Population controls (abortion and contraception) are not the solution to fighting climate change. 
Except for point 3 which supports Catholic doctrine, the first two items are basically a manifesto demanding that the world become socialist.  What the Pope calls a needed "revolution".

Now, defender's of the demands will say that he isn't demanding socialism as a means of wealth re-distribution.  Instead, he is merely asking the world to care for the poor as part of Christ's teachings.  Well, if that was true, why did he appoint one of the world's leading socialist and anti-capitalist authors, Naomi Klein, as the co-chairperson of his upcoming conference on climate change?

The trouble with the grand "revolution" is that it won't work.  Socialism has never worked.  Look at Greece today.  They are about to collapse as a nation.  All because of massive social programs being the norm in Greek society.  That same European socialism is the reason why Portugal, Spain, Ireland, and Italy are all lined up to follow Greece down the road to ruin.  Four of those five are Roman Catholic countries.  Which brings me to the point that socialism and Catholicism seem to go hand in hand.  Followed by social strife, poverty, and high unemployment. 

Pope Francis is from Argentina which has many poor.  A country which Naomi Klein filmed a socialist documentary 'about called The Take'. This is why the Pope has probably picked her and why he is a socialist. In fact, Mexico and Central and South America are all poor and, as such, many have turned to socialism to fix extreme income inequality.  Again, all Catholic countries with the worst being Venezuela.  Since Hugo Chavez strongly converted Venezuela to a near-communist form of socialism, the entire country suffers from shortages of basic necessities such as milk, meat, and even toilet paper.  You see, once you destroy the wealth building mechanism of capitalism, the whole country descends into poverty.  Too many takers and too few givers to keep it all going.

Simply, when all the capitalist's wealth is gone, what then?  Who, then, can the poor turn to? Just remember the words of Margaret Thatcher: "The trouble with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people's money."

References:

Pope Francis: 'Revolution' needed to combat climate change:  http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/18/world/pope-francis-climate-technology-encyclical/

Pope's climate change encyclical tells rich nations: pay your debt to the poor: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/18/popes-climate-change-encyclical-calls-on-rich-nations-to-pay-social-debt

Pope Francis recruits Naomi Klein in climate change battle: Social activist ‘surprised but delighted’ to join top cardinal in high-level environment conference at the Vatican: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/28/pope-climate-change-naomi-klein

Naomi Klein: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Naomi_Klein

The Take: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Take_%282004_film%29

Greeks chose poverty, let them have their way: http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/2bc11fe8-0dd5-11e5-9a65-00144feabdc0.html#axzz3f21oK8CI

The troubled PIIGS countries—Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece, and Spain—have been suffering from financial sustainability concerns: http://marketrealist.com/2015/07/piigs-piis/

Rich In Oil, Venezuela Is Now Poor In Most Everything Else: http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2015/02/07/384331225/rich-in-oil-venezuela-is-now-poor-in-most-everything-else

Shortages In Venezuela: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shortages_in_Venezuela

Socialism in Latin America: http://worldissues.weebly.com/socialism-in-latin-america.html

Margaret Thatcher On Socialism: http://www.snopes.com/politics/quotes/thatcher.asp
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Why Baby Boomers Aren't Causing Lower Labor Participation Rates

Once again, the nation's unemployment rate fell on a shrinking labor participation rate and, once again, people on the left are explaining it away on the basis that 10,000 Baby Boomers are retiring every day; starting 4 years ago in 2011.  Therefore, we are led to believe that there are more people retiring than entering the workforce. Well, not according to this population pyramid derived from Census Bureau data:


Simply, there are roughly 17.5 million theoretical retirees (age 65-69) against almost 23.5 million theoretical job seekers (age 20-24). The net of which should result in an annual increase of 1.2 million workers per year. Yet, month after month, the size of the workforce barely increases or even falls.  In fact, it fell by 432,000 workers last month.

References:

Labor force participation rate falls to 38-year low: http://www.businessinsider.com/labor-force-participation-rate-falls-to-38-year-low-2015-7

US Age Structure 2014: http://www.indexmundi.com/united_states/age_structure.html


Saturday, July 4, 2015

Obama Is Trying To Re-Write His Jobs Record

Yesterday, following the release of the June employment report, the President told this to an adoring crowd:
“Now, this morning, we learned that our businesses created another 223,000 jobs last month. (Applause) The unemployment rates now down to 5.3 percent. (Applause) Keep in mind, when I came into office, it was hovering around 10 percent. All told we’ve now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record. (Applause) 12.8 million new jobs all told...” (Applause)
If only it were true.

When Obama came to Office, the unemployment rate was 7.5%; not hovering around 10. Also, he promised that, with the stimulus, we would be at 5.3% three years ago in 2012.  Oh, and by the way.  His stimulus plan was supposed to keep the unemployment rate below 8%.  Instead, it went to 10.  In support of those projections, he submitted this chart that has been annotated with red data points to reflect the actual data:

64 months ago, in March 2010, the number of unemployed was 15 million with the size of the workforce being 153.9 million.  As of June, 8.3 million were without jobs and the workforce was at 157 million.  In theory, the increase in the workforce by 3.1 million and the reduction of the unemployed by 6.7 million should tell us how many jobs were created in the last 64 months.  My math says 9.8 million.  Three million shy of the President's 12.8 million claim.

Lastly, as to 64 months of jobs creation being a new record?  It was a very long and painful time to get to this point. Not something I personally would think that President Obama should be bragging about.

References:

Obama On June Jobs Report:  https://grabien.com/story.php?id=31596

Chart Source 1: http://www.aei.org/publication/the-awful-awful-august-jobs-report/

Another Chart: http://www.rpc.senate.gov/policy-papers/the-obama-stimulus-three-years-of-failure

Employment Report January 2009: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archive/empsit_02062009.pdf 

Employment Report March 2010: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/archives/empsit_04022010.pdf

Employment Report June 2015: http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf


Friday, July 3, 2015

Obama Eliminated Salaried Work for Millions

For most of my adult working life, I was salaried.  Sure, I worked overtime without any compensation for it.  But, usually that was my choice. Often, I would take paperwork home to catch up.  At the same time, it was generally accepted that I could ask to come in late, leave early, take a longer lunch, run an errand, or go to a doctor during the workday without being docked.  As long as my work was being done and the absences were approved and not excessive.

President Obama has changed all that.  With a stroke of his pen, he has basically eliminated salaried pay for anyone making $50,440/year and put them on the clock. That's because, if you are salaried and you work more than 40 hours in any week, you will be paid time-and-a-half per hour based on whatever your equivalent hourly rate is in your 40-hour work week.  By making this change, Obama claims he is giving 5 million workers a raise. But, is he really?

First of all, just because you are salaried and make less than $50,440 doesn't mean you are automatically eligible for overtime pay.

The company you work for must have revenues in excess of $500,000.  If your job is task-defined as executive, administrative, managerial, or professional, you are exempt from the overtime benefit. If you supervise two or more people, or have input in hiring and firing, there's no overtime pay. Also, contract labor and field sales personnel that work on commission are excluded.  Other rules apply as specified by the Fair Labor Standards Act which the President's pen can't touch.   Only Congress can.

As usual, Obama seems to think that employers will roll over and accept his dictate without making changes to avoid the new overtime rule.

In some cases, startup and existing companies who are either unprofitable or only marginally profitable, and who depend on everybody pitching in after hours could go out of business and, as a result, people will lose their jobs; salaried or otherwise.  A generalized rule like this makes no exception for a company in hard times.

Some salaried workers, depending on how close they are to $50,440 and depending on how much overtime they put in, will see a raise to just above $50,440 to avoid having to pay  them overtime.  Others may lose their jobs to outside contractors; a growing trend as a result of ObamaCare.  Some may be replaced with part time workers. Even, a change in duties and responsibilities with a small pay increase could bypass it.  Lastly, anyone left and eligible will be changed to an hourly worker.  They won't get paid for lunch or breaks, coming in late, leaving early, or for exceeding sick days.  Also, their quality of work and timeliness of completing responsibilities will be closely scrutinized.  Employee relations may greatly suffer as a result of the new rule.

My guess is that, maybe, a million workers will benefit, but far more will be hurt. That is usually the case when government intervenes in the business of the private sector.


References:

New overtime rule could affect up to 5 million workers: http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2015/06/30/obama-overtime-rules-huffington-post/29500349/

Fair Labor Standards Act: http://www.flsa.com/coverage.html

Large Companies Double Use of Contract Labor: http://www.computereconomics.com/article.cfm?id=1331

Small Business Is Using More Contractors - Entrepreneur: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236391



Thursday, July 2, 2015

Cuba: Obama's Fantasy Land

For more than 50 years, we have embargoed trade and travel with Cuba, and President Obama has stated, "it hasn't worked". What was supposed to have "worked"?  Does he really think that a resumption of diplomatic relations with the U.S. will somehow cause Cuba to dump communism and adopt a democratically elected form of a free-trade government?

Cuba has allowed trading (on a very limited basis) and inbound-only travel with the rest of the world, for as long as our embargo has existed.  In fact, it has approximately 3 million visitors per year with democracy-loving Canadians representing a third of them.  Those visitors are a main revenue maker.  Thus, tourism is essential to the strengthening of the Cuban government, its police and security forces, and its military, in order to keep order; especially to keep any dissidents in line with hundreds of arrests and imprisonments each year. 

None of that money goes to the people directly because they all work for the government; are paid by the government; and, are housed, fed, and clothed by the government through a system of rationing.  All the hotels are government owned and operated. That is why, today, this communist island looks much like it did in the 1960's.  So, the injection of American tourist money will just add to their financial strength and not somehow create a showcase of democracy 90 miles off our shores, as President Obama seems to think.

As far as trade with Cuba is concerned, Castro's government, not the people, decide what is allowed into the island and how much.  Most Cubans couldn't afford the products that we seem to think they might want. The average Cuban, depending on age and working status, gets between $12 a month for retired persons and $20 for those who work; with an extra $5 for construction workers. That's their allowance.  Some might be able to keep tips as hotel and restaurant workers; but most can't. They must pool those tips to be shared among the other workers. They can't have credit cards or take on any debt. Nor can they take money  that tourists may give them.  Tourist's bills paid with credit cards with tips added, will probably all wind up held by the government.

So, OK, the President has re-opened our embassies.  Other country's embassies have existed for decades, and that has never changed them.  If Obama thinks that we can use our embassies to undermine the Cuban form of government, he is living a pipe dream.  A fantasy. As soon as we are caught trying to do that, they will just shut them down and expel our diplomats.  Maybe even arrest our diplomats.  Also, any tourists from this country doing the same will be arrested as subversives.  Just mark my words.

References:

Obama on US Embassy in Cuba: 'This Is What Change Looks Like': http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/u-s-cuba-relations/coming-obama-announces-deal-open-cuban-embassy-n385001

Cuban Dissidents Arrested Google Search: https://www.google.com/search?q=cuban+dissidents+arrested&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8

Tourism in Cuba: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tourism_in_Cuba

2014: Average salary in Cuba rose 1 pct last year to $20 a month:  http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/news/2014/06/17/average-salary-in-cuba-rose-1-pct-last-year-to-20-month/

Rationing in Cuba: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationing_in_Cuba

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Enough With the Calls to Eradicate Slave-Owning Founding Father's Images

The removal of the Confederate flag from the South Carolina capital grounds has now morphed into demands to eliminate any images and statuary of Confederate heroes and, it hasn't stopped there.  There are now new calls to erase from our history those founding fathers who owned slaves.  People like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, John Hancock, Ben Franklin, James Madison and so many more.

The fact is, that all these men were born into a society where slavery (and resulting racism) had already been institutionalized by the British in 1619 when 20 African slaves were introduced into our first permanent colony of Jamestown.  By the time these founders declared our independence from Britain, in 1776, slavery and its acceptance had been firmly imbedded in society for 157 years.  Over all those years, Britain and other countries happily supplied this country with slaves.

Simply, slavery was prevalent around the known populated world and had been accepted since the time of the Pyramids.  In fact, in Africa, slavery was very prevalent.  In the 19th Century, nearly half of all the citizens in the African country of Sierra Leone were indentured as slaves.  Also understand, that many of the slaves in the new world were sold by the Nigerians.  So, if you want to blame anyone for the attitudes by some whites towards blacks being inferior, then blame the British and the Nigerians for feeding into that idea with the slave trade.  Other people of color such as east Indians, Asians, and also Hispanics are less racially disrespected because they weren't brought to this country as slaves.

Simply, our founding fathers grew up in a society where black slavery was accepted.  Even those who didn't own slaves probably thought of it as a common fact of life.  Let's stop trying to rewrite history about something that was widespread throughout the world at the time this country was founded.  Also, keep in mind that slavery still exists in some parts of Africa while most white populated countries have long since banned the practice. 

References:

Texas Liberals Sign Petition to Remove ‘Racist’ George Washington Statue: http://www.dcclothesline.com/2015/06/25/texas-liberals-sign-petition-to-remove-racist-george-washington-statue/

The Founding Fathers and Slavery: http://www.britannica.com/topic/The-Founding-Fathers-and-Slavery-1269536

History of Slavery: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_slavery#Portugal

African chiefs urged to apologise for slave trade: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/nov/18/africans-apologise-slave-trade

Slavery in Africa: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Africa

Human trafficking:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking

Human trafficking in the United States: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_trafficking_in_the_United_States

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Hillary and Obama's "High Quality" Universal Pre-K

In 2007 and 2008, the Health and Human Services Department conducted a Head Start education Impact Study. The results were available sometime in 2011.

Even though the report was dated October 2012, it wasn't released to the public until after the elections and in December when the American public was consumed with holiday activities. The reason for the delay was that the report did not provide the glowing results  this pre-kindergarten program was supposed to produce.  Essentially, 3rd Graders who had participated in Head Start only had marginally better education scores.  What was more disturbing is the fact that teachers and parents were reporting higher social problems with these students.  Things like aggressiveness and higher rates of conflict with teachers.

We must also understand that these measurements were of 3rd Graders.  Other studies have shown that there is a definite problem with something called "Head Start Fade" whereby  Pre-K students continually lose their Head Start advantage each year until it is completely gone by high school. 

In the President's 2013 State of the Union Address, just four months after the report's release, and knowing full well the results, Obama called for something called "high quality" universal Pre-K.  He could have just requested an "expansion" of Head Start, but, the report made any mention of Head Start toxic.  Now, we have Hillary Clinton also calling for "high quality" Pre-K for 8.1 million 3-to-5-year-old's within the next 10 years.

So, what is the "high quality" Pre-K that Obama and Hillary are referring to?

Well, obviously, it is not an $8 billion a year Head Start Program that wastes $8,000 for each of its 1 million disadvantaged students.  What they are referring to is a program once called the Perry Preschool Project and Study.  At risk, low income, African American students were enrolled in a "high quality" preschool that only remained operational from the years 1962 to 1967.  Then, the study part of the project kicked in and 123 children were followed through ages 27 and 40 to see what impact, if any, the Pre-K had on their lives; with almost half of the study group having attended Perry and the rest not having any Pre-K.

By age 40, the Perry group had much lower rates of imprisonment, violent crimes; and out-of-wedlock births.  The Perry group also earned more money; had higher rates of home ownership; higher high school graduation rates; and, higher rates of advanced education.

What made Perry so successful when Head Start wasn't?

Perry had fully accredited teachers with bachelor degrees, where Head Start only requires one associate degreed (not accredited) teacher and a non-degreed assistant.  Perry's class sizes were about 6 students.  Head Start allows a maximum class size of 20 where there is at least one teacher and one assistant.  A maximum class size for a teacher-only class is 10.  The class day for Perry was just 2.5 hours in the morning; thus not depriving children of also valuable play time and exploration on their own.  Head Start is half-day.  Additionally, Perry teachers were required to spend 1-1/2 hours a week with each student's parents at their homes to discuss and provide suggestions on how to improve at-home education.  That's nowhere to be seen with Head Start.

Lastly, the Perry project was expensive, with a cost of just under $13,000 per student in today's dollars. 62% higher that the $8,000 per student for Head Start. Thus, if we were to spend $13,000 per student today for 8.1 million Pre-K'ers, the cost would be an astounding $104 billion in additional tax payer dollars each year. More than that, Democrats see it as hiring 1.3 million new union teachers that would support them at election time with both money and getting out the vote.  Believe me, your kids aren't in their best interest.  If they were, we'd have a better overall educational system in this country. We already rank number one in the world in per-student spending.  Yet, we rank 36th in overall education when our kids are pitted against students of 65 other countries.  Maybe we should work on that problem before committing to another new layer of education that will probably be as broken as the one we already have?


References:

Another Study Confirms: Head Start Doesn’t Work: http://dailysignal.com/2013/01/13/another-study-confirms-head-start-doesnt-work/

Head Start Impact Evaluation Report Finally Released: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2013/01/head-start-impact-evaluation-report-finally-released

HHS: Third Grade Follow - up to the Head Start Impact Study: http://www.acf.hhs.gov/sites/default/files/opre/head_start_report.pdf

Head Start Program: go to fade: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Head_Start_Program#Head_Start_.22fade.22

Head Start Advantages Mostly Gone by 3rd Grade, Study Finds: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/early_years/2012/12/head_start_advantages_mostly_gone_by_third_grade_study_finds.html

Fact Sheet President Obama’s Plan for Early Education for all Americans: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/13/fact-sheet-president-obama-s-plan-early-education-all-americans

Fact Sheet: Hillary Clinton Calls For Universal Preschool for America's Children: https://www.hillaryclinton.com/the-briefing/fact-sheet-universal-pre-school/

Perry Preschool Project: http://evidencebasedprograms.org/1366-2/65-2

Lifetime Effects: The HighScope Perry Preschool Study Through Age 40 (2005): http://www.highscope.org/content.asp?contentid=219

HighScope: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HighScope

Head Start Facts: https://www.naeyc.org/policy/federal/headstart

Head Start Centers and Use of Space: http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/tta-system/teaching/eecd/Learning%20Environments/Planning%20and%20Arranging%20Spaces/edudev_art_00059_051606.html

U.S. education spending tops global list, study shows: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-education-spending-tops-global-list-study-shows/

New survey ranks U.S. students 36th in the world: http://www.cnycentral.com/news/story.aspx?id=978874