Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Baltimore's July Murder Count Is Even Worse Than Reported

In July, Baltimore had 45 murders.  This was a single-month tally that this city hadn't seen in 43 years ago in 1972.

However, in 1972, the population of Baltimore was over 900,000.  Today, the city has a third less people.  This means that, this July, the murder rate was 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents.  43 years ago, the murder rate per 100,000 residents was only 5.

Thus, July's killings are statistically higher by 50% than what was seen in one month in 1972.

References:

Baltimore killings soar to a level unseen in 43 years: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/60352506f481415c8edf3fc35b6f8103/baltimore-killings-soar-level-unseen-43-years

Population history of Baltimore from 1790 - 1990: http://physics.bu.edu/~redner/projects/population/cities/baltimore.html

Baltimore's Population 1970 To 2013:  https://www.google.com/search?q=baltimore+population&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8



Hillary's False Narrative On The Suppresion of Black Votes

For weeks now, Hillary Clinton has gotten in front of both black and racially mixed audiences, and made the claim that the black vote is being suppressed by the Republicans.  If that was true, why has black voting activity risen every year since 1996:

Source Census Bureau (link below)
In fact, based on their percentage of the population, black citizens have the highest voting participation of any other ethnic group in the country at 66.2%.  If Republicans are truly trying to suppress the black vote, they are doing a lousy job of it.

I only wish that blacks would wake up to the fact she is desperately pandering to them  with outright lies.  Claims like this are probably behind the fact that she polls so low on trustworthiness and honesty.

References:

Census Bureau Report on Diversity In Voting: https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/p20-568.pdf

Hillary Clinton Says G.O.P. Rivals Try to Stop Young and Minority Voters: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/05/us/politics/hillary-clinton-says-republican-rivals-try-to-stop-young-and-minority-voters.html

Hillary Clinton names and shames Republicans for voting restrictions: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/06/hillary-clinton-early-voting-rights-gop-118636.html

Hillary's Lawyer Sues Ohio To Thwart Voter Suppression: http://chicago.suntimes.com/other-views/7/71/600061/hillarys-lawyer-sues-ohio-to-thwart-voter-suppression-tactics-that-helped-the-gop-steal-ohio-in-2004

Poll; Clinton honest trustworthy problem extends to swing states: http://www.cnn.com/2015/06/17/politics/poll-2016-elections-hillary-clinton-trustworthy/

Hillary Clinton not honest and trustworthy, voters say: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/28/hillary-clinton-not-honest-and-trustworthy-voters-/

Hillary Clinton: As honest and trustworthy as Donald Trump: Almost six in ten of those polled said that Hillary Clinton lacks those two traits: http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/07/30/voters-want-someone-who-is-honest-and-trustworthy-in-2016-they-dont-think-thats-hillary-clinton/

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Record: American Wage Growth Near Zero

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, wages only grew by 2-tenths of a percent in the second quarter of this year.  A record low in the 33 years that this report has been generated.  For an average household making $52,000, that's just 29 cents extra per day (based on their quarterly pay).  Even lower after paying FICA and state and federal taxes. Probably, not enough to cover the higher prices for food in the last 3 months.

I don't think it is any coincidence that this record low growth in wages has happened in the same year that the employer mandate of ObamaCare took effect; forcing tens of thousands of employers to offer health insurance or pay a fine.  Nor, is it any coincidence that 29 states now have a minimum wage that is higher than that of the federal minimum.  A fact that was supposed to increase wage growth; not slow it.

Simply, companies don't have some secret stash of money they can use to cover increased expenditures being imposed on them by government.  As a result, in order to keep prices down and remain competitive, they must back off on wage increases.  This report clearly reflects this reality.

References:

Quarterly Increase in U.S. Worker Pay Smallest on Record: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-07-31/worker-pay-in-u-s-rises-0-2-smallest-gain-in-records-to-1982

Consumer prices rise for fifth straight month as avian flu boosts egg costs: http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-consumer-price-index-inflation-20150717-story.html

Obamacare and the Employer Mandate: Cutting Jobs and Wages: http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2011/01/obamacare-and-the-employer-mandate-cutting-jobs-and-wages

State Minimum Wages | 2015 Minimum Wage by State: http://www.ncsl.org/research/labor-and-employment/state-minimum-wage-chart.aspx


Saturday, August 1, 2015

A New Hill.com Low: Cecil The Lion's Killer Donated To Romney

Amid all the outrage over the killing of famed African Lion Cecil, the Hill.com website couldn't resist somehow, tying that killing to Republicans.  What this liberal website found, is that the lion's killer, Walter Palmer, gave $5000 to Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012.

Thus, shamed by association, Romney is now complicit in the death of poor Cecil.  Further, by extension, all Republicans are also forevermore just as guilty as Palmer.  But, why stop there. We may as well conclude that Romney and the Republicans are all racists because Palmer -- a white man -- disrespected a black country's laws by killing an animal that was near and dear to their hearts.

My God!  Could politics stoop any lower than this insane level of stupidity?  What does a political donation to Romney -- who didn't even win his election -- have to do with anything?

References:

Cecil the lion's killer donated to Romney: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/249615-cecil-the-lion-killer-donated-to-romney


Friday, July 31, 2015

The Obama Economic Recovery Is Even Worse Than Previously Thought

Yesterday morning, the U.S. government released its initial report on the economy in the second quarter of 2015; and as measured by Gross Domestic Product (total consumer and government spending+business inventories+the net of imports and exports).  But, also with this reporting, the Bureau of Economic Analysis -- the group that develops the GDP numbers -- will apply the new formulation for how the GDP is calculated and will apply those changes back to 2012.  Many economists predicted that recalculations would smooth out the erratic swings and actually result in higher GDP growth. Boy, were they wrong.

Prior to the revised calculations, 2012 through 2014 had dismal growth rates that averaged only 2.4%.  Now, with the new revisions; the average growth for those years is just 2.1%; which puts it at almost half of the average 3.97% growth rate following all previous recoveries from recessions since 1960. It also puts growth below the previously calculated average of 2.24% since the recovery started in the third quarter of 2009.  Worse than that, the growth rate for the first six months sits at just 1.45% -- when averaged against just 6-tenths of a percent in the first quarter and 2.3% in the second.  This is a slowing of 31% from Obama's previous 3-year average of 2.1%.

Simply, each successive year under President Obama's watch is getting weaker.  Not a good trend, and it reflects on how government imposition in the economy, such as ObamaCare, is affecting economic growth.

References:

US government revises earlier GDPs to fix anomalies in reporting: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/30/us-government-revises-earlier-gdps-to-fix-anomalies-in-reporting.html

Our dismal GDP numbers: Under Obama US stuck in slow growth rut: http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2015/04/29/our-dismal-gdp-numbers-under-obama-us-stuck-in-slow-growth-rut.html

Here are the revisions made to GDP growth over the last three years: http://www.businessinsider.com/q2-2015-gdp-revisions-2015-7


Thursday, July 30, 2015

Why ObamaCare May Kill Jobs For Older Low-Wage Workers

Starting January 1st, 2015 the employer mandate of ObamaCare went into effect.  For those who don't know, this is a requirement that a business with 50 or more full time workers -- those working 30 hours or more a week -- offer health insurance to its employees and their dependents.  Dependents, as defined by the law, are children and not spouses.   Further, if an employee's total household income is between 100 and 400% of the poverty level, the employee cannot be charged any more than 9.5% of their income for coverage.  Therefore, for the first time in U.S. history, employers are required to ask for an employee's spouse's salary so they can determine how much they will have to pay for their insurance.  Also, if the employer fails at any of the above, a $2000 annual fine (tax) will be imposed for every employee at the business.

The way health insurance works, the younger healthier insured pay less than the older and potentially more costly.  Women, too, are more expensive to cover because of different health examinations and the potential of pregnancy. When a company needs to establish a group plan, the contracted insurance company needs to know all it can about the sex and age of the insured.  Some might require an annual physical paid by the employer before the cost of their insurance can be determined.

Companies are going to find out that having too many low-paid, older workers is going to cost them money.   For example, a single employee aged 55, and making less than $30,000 would have the 9.5% rule applied.  While a single person in their twenties might only cost $1500 a year to insure, this 55-year-old would cost at least $4,300.  In that case, the employer would be on the hook for $1,450 of it; and the employee would pay $2,850.  Whereas the young 20-something would not be subsidized at all.  Of course, this assumes that the company achieve that low of a cost to insure a 55-year-old.  Chances are, the smaller the company, the higher the cost of per employee insurance.  So, they could be on the hook for double or even triple that $1,400.

The fact is simple.  Employers now have an incentive not to hire or keep older, low-income workers. Another unintended consequence of such a wide sweeping law.

References:

Employer Mandate: https://www.uschamber.com/health-reform/employer-mandate

Health Insurance Coverage for 50- to 64-Year-Olds - AARP: http://www.aarp.org/content/dam/aarp/research/public_policy_institute/health/Health-Insurance-Coverage-for-50-64-year-olds-insight-AARP-ppi-health.pdf

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Hillary's Capital Gains Plan Ignores Reality

In another misguided attempt to solve a problem by raising taxes on the rich, Hillary Clinton is proposing to place heavy penalties on those in the top 39.6% tax bracket for trading less than a year, or even 6 years; claiming that it would stop "very short-term trading" that takes place over "days, hours, or even milliseconds".  So, she's proposing the following tax plan as shown in this chart from CNBC in the hopes that rich people will hang on to their stocks longer:

To the uniformed and those ignorant of stock market investing and its the associated taxes, punishing the rich in the first two years and, then, provide a declining tax penalty in years 3 through 6 will actually accelerate short-term trading.

Under the current tax law, if you sell a stock or other capital asset in less than a year after acquiring it, you pay ordinary income tax on that transaction.  For those in the top bracket, that's 39.6% or just the same as in Hillary's proposal.  Yet, despite this fact, the buying and selling of stocks still does happen at a rate of "days, hours, or even milliseconds".   So, where is the real deterrent in Hillary's plan?  At least under the current law, there is an incentive to hold a stock for more than a year because the capital gains tax drops to 20% for those in all tax brackets in year two.

But, here's the biggest problem.  With no tax advantage in the first two years to hold onto a stock, there's no reason not to sell in the first year; assuming that there are good profits to be taken advantage of.  The same is true for the successive years after year 2.  Her decline in the tax rate each year is less than the rate of increase of inflation. Thus, if a stock increases at a rate that is less than the rate of inflation after two years, the investor is actually losing money; especially, if the sole intent is to take advantage of a slightly lower tax rate.  Therefore, the chances are high that the smart investor will probably sell rather than take the chance of losing money in the future.  At least the 20% tax rate reduces that risk.

Lastly, there are millions of Americans that aren't in the top tax bracket but will be hurt by this stupidity.  These are average people with managed 401K's and mutual funds.  With the higher tax rate, the cost to manage those funds increases while, at the same time, return on that money is reduced.  This from a person who, in 1978, thought it was fine to trade in cattle futures over a period of just 10 months and turn $1000 into $100,000.

This whole thing is another attempt at taxing the rich under the guise of stopping short-term trading.  However, increasing taxes on the rich for stock market trades only means the rich will go elsewhere with their money, such as long-term real estate investments where, after 5 years, only the profits will be taxed at 20%, and with a lot less risk. This will only help to stagnate growth in the stock market; which has, in the last 6 years, provided much income and tax revenues for the federal government.

References:

Hillary Clinton proposes sharp increase in short-term capital gains taxes: http://www.cnbc.com/2015/07/24/hillary-clinton-proposes-sharp-increase-in-short-term-capital-gains-taxes.html 

Hillary Rodham cattle futures controversy: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hillary_Rodham_cattle_futures_controversy

9 Ways to Invest Without Putting Money Into the Stock Market: http://www.artofmanliness.com/2014/06/24/9-ways-to-invest-without-putting-money-into-the-stock-market/