Friday, September 30, 2011

Obama's Fascination With The Number "25"

It's almost laughable. It seems like every time Obama and his people quote a number regarding his policies, some variant of the number "25" is involved:
  • As President-elect, Obama promised that his health care plan would save the average family $2500 a year in health insurance premiums.
  • Also as President-elect, he promised that, by the year 2025, 25% of this nation's energy would come from clean, renewable resources.
  • Currently, he's claiming that 2.5 million jobs were saved or created by his Stimulus Package.
  • He wants to raise taxes on couples making $250,000 a year or more with his so-called millionaires and billionaires tax.
  • He wants to raise the capital gains tax from the current 15% to 25%
  • As President-elect, he proposed spending $25 billion dollars on infrastructure projects to create a million jobs.
  • Also, before taking office, he proposed that the standard for compliance with the Family Leave Act be lowered from companies having 50 or more employees to companies having 25 or more.
  • Then, as candidate Obama, he proposed $25 billion a year in home heating relief to cover the high cost of gas and oil.
  • At the same time as above, he proposed $25 billion to the states to help them avoid raising property taxes.
  • In August, he floated a plan that would convert 250,000 foreclosed on homes into rental properties.
  • In April, Obama claimed that the top 1% of wage earners in this country saw their salaries increase by $250,000 while 90% of Americans saw their salaries fall.
  • Maybe just another coincidence, but Obama's latest jobs plan will save or create another 2.5 million jobs at a cost of $250,000 per job.
  • In September, along with other housing initiatives, he announced that he will push for variable term mortgages that start out at a low interest rate of 2.5% to attract buyers back into the housing market.

Having worked with calculations, projects and numbers all my life, I have never seen such a series of coincidences as shown above; and this was just a sampling. It is almost as if the numbers were being pulled out of somebody's you-know-what; rather than being developed through some form of empirical analysis. But, then, I wouldn't want to accuse this President of ever fudging the facts.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nobel Winner Questions Global Warming As Settled Science

We are always being told that the science is settled regarding Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and Climate Change. People like Al Gore say the subject is not up for debate. It's incontrovertible; and, any deniers are simply on the take from big corporations as a means of fighting the change needed to save the planet from AGW. But, even today, Einstein's theory of relativity is being constantly tested and re-validated. So, why, then, is Global Warming/Climate Change so sacrosanct? The answer is simple: Any discussion and debate might actually expose the fraud of the so-called settled science of AGW.

Just recently, a Nobel laureate physicist, Dr. Ivar Giaever, resigned from the prestigious American Physical Society (APS) because that organization had a policy of not allowing debate or discussion on the subject of Global Warming. (Click here to See Story: Nobel laureate quits group over warming) In leaving, he sent an email to the "society" in which he stated: "In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?" He went on to further say: "The claim … is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degrees Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period..."

Without directly saying it, Dr. Giaever is implying that the science behind mankind-driven warming might not be "as" settled as implied by the warming alarmists and the subject should absolutely be up for debate. What is more astounding about Dr. Giaever's current position is that, in 2008, he was a supporter of Barack Obama and Mr. Obama's pledge to fight Global Warming. But, since then, Dr. Giaever has joined more than 100 scientists who now think AGW is being exaggerated. This kind of talk from Giaever is what the politicians and scientists behind the "incontrovertibility" of AGW have always feared. For them any debate might jeopardize the politically-driven social change that they all believe AGW affords them.

Lastly, I've always wondered why we have so many scientists in this world still being "paid" to research Global Warming and Climate Change. Isn't this in direct contradiction to the fact that the science is settled? Isn't that rather akin to beating a dead horse? Once again, to me, actions seem to speak louder than words. Especially Al Gore's!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Why Aren't Gas Taxes Taking Care Of Our Crumbling Transportation System

For decades, each of our state and federal governments have been collecting gasoline taxes to help build new roads and bridges; and, at the same time, repair or replace those that are in disrepair. Yet, we continue to hear -- in so many recent Obama tax-the-rich speeches -- that we have hundreds of roads and bridges that are simply crumbling due to neglect. So, what gives?

Obama is right. The problem is neglect. But, the neglect has been caused by one Congress after another (and by some state legislatures too) by not putting into place a fuel tax that increments itself each year so that increased costs for road/bridge construction/repair are gradually addressed over time. Instead, every time the gasoline tax needs to be raised, it has always to be done on a one-off basis and at a time when funds have fallen to a critical level; resulting in the possibility of "sticker shock" at the local gas pumps.

The last time the federal gasoline tax was raised was in 1993 when it was set at 18.4 cents per gallon of gasoline (24.4 cents for diesel). Since that time, all the costs associated with building and maintaining this nation's transportation system have logically gone up. Many studies have been conducted over the years to determine what the tax should be today, and by most accounts, that 18.4 cent tax should have been raised to at least 40 cents per gallon by now. All too often, for political reasons, the gasoline tax increases are ignored because raising it would cause that "sticker shock" I mentioned and because it would disproportionately hurt the working poor. So, as a consequence, our complete transportation infrastructure suffers while our lawmakers avoid telling the truth to the country.

But, the funding problems don't stop there. Another problem with the federal fuel tax is that our U.S. Treasury prefers to directly collect those taxes and, then, distribute the funds as federal projects. This way, all these federally-funded projects fall into the federal work rules for road and bridge construction. Once such rule, the one that comes from the recession-era 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, requires that all workers on federal projects be paid the prevailing wage; or, in other words, a union wage. Because of this, all too often, road and bridge work is done at the highest possible cost for labor; thereby reducing the overall funds available and, subsequently, the amount of work that can be done. Additionally, like all money being collected by the federal government, 40% of federal tax money must be diverted to payoff the recurring national debt. The states would be better off collecting the taxes themselves and directing the work as state-run projects; avoiding federal work rules. Then, when needed, forward a percentage of those taxes to the federal government to fund any fed-only kinds of work.

It seems that, whenever you dig into some kind of problem facing our country, political fingerprints are all over it. Mr. Obama would be better off revising how we collect and use the fuel tax and at what amount; rather than using the disrepair of our infrastructure as a means of class warfare for his reelection campaign.

Instead of making infrastructure projects a one-time thing as part of a reelection plan through a mini-stimulus package, let's make them a permanent activity so that the jobs are more permanent. Let's raise the gasoline tax over time so its less painful to society; but, at an accelerated rate in order to play catchup. Let's put in place a cost adjustment system so that the tax is appropriately raised each year. Lastly, repeal the Davis-Bacon Act so that any federal transportation project can be done a best-bid price basis.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Obama: Not Class Warfare. Its The Math.

After raising the level of deficit spending by $4 trillion in just 2-1/2 years, Obama claims his "tax-the-rich" plan will reduce the deficit by $3 trillion over the next 10 years. He claims that it's not class warfare, it's the math. (Click here to See the CBS story: "Obama: Plan not class warfare, it's math")

Well, to me, the President's math really stinks. Over the next 10 years, we'll be spending $1.6 trillion more per year than when Obama took office. Then, against that spending level, his plan proposes to save a mere $300 billion per year. That then leaves a continuing spending deficit of $1.3 trillion, every year, over the next 10 years. Obviously, his "taxing-the-rich" scheme is only a pin prick when compared to the massive spending legacy of this Presidency. Therefore, I don't really think it "is" about the math. And, if it's not the math, then what? Class warfare, maybe?

Monday, September 26, 2011

Simple, Legal Ways The Rich (or Anyone Else) Pay Lower Taxes

Amid all the current "tax the rich" debates, most Americans don't seem to understand how the rich are able to pay lower tax rates. They are able to do so because our tax laws are written to "encourage" them to do so. Here's some of the simple ways they lower their tax burden and how many middle class Americans can save money on their own tax bills:

1. Tax Free Municipal Bonds and Bond Funds. When a community or state wants to build new roads, schools, or perform other expensive building activities, it often spreads the cost of those projects over a period of 30 years by selling debt instruments known as Municipal bonds (aka: Muni's). In order to encourage investors to buy these bonds and, at the same time, keep the payable interest rates low for the states and communities issuing them, the Federal tax laws allow interest income from these bonds to be free of any Federal taxation. Depending on a person's tax status and level of risk aversion, this can be a very effective means to avoid Federal taxes.

2. Charitable Contributions. Generally, speaking, a person can deduct charitable contributions to up to 50% of their adjusted gross income as long as other 20% and 30% deduction rules are adhered to. In other words, if properly done, charitable contributions can lower someone's tax rate by as much as 50%. Actually, more if the the charitable contribution pushes someone into a lower tax bracket. Again, these allowable deductions are intentional to spur charitable giving to help fellow citizens who are less fortunate.

3. Capital Gains and Losses. For the purpose of tax laws, certain buy/sell activities are defined as capital gains or capital losses. Typically, we know these activities to be the buying and selling of stocks and bonds; but other buy/sell activities are also defined as "capital" transactions. In any event, if a capital trading activity results in a net gain; the IRS will tax the entire gain at the current capital gains tax rate which is substantially lower than the normal high-income tax rates. On the other hand, if there is a loss, the taxpayer can only claim $3,000 of that loss in the current tax year and the balance must be carried forward to be applied in the next and, sometimes, succeeding tax years. Therefore, if a taxpayer has a loss or a carried over loss, his/her marginal tax rate will be lowered. The bottom line is that we have advantageous tax laws associated with capital buy/sell activities because we want Americans to invest in America's corporations.

4. Tax Deferred Income. Under the current tax laws, certain types of income are shielded from taxation. For most of us, this is contributions and income generated by Individual Retirement Accounts and other qualified tax deferred retirement accounts such as 401k's. Rich or poor, the maximum contribution that can be made to a traditional IRA is $5,000. However, coupled with some or all of the above tax saving activities, retirement funding and other tax deferred activities can help lower the overall tax rate; especially for the rich.

None of these tax saving techniques are loopholes. They were all intentionally made part of our tax laws to help America grow; build new roads and schools; aid our neediest citizens; and help most of us save for our retirement. While it is true that the rich greatly benefit from these tax deductions, it is also true that these deductions strongly help our country as a whole. Yet, our President continues to demonize the rich for having taken advantage of the very tax breaks that Congress, in the past, has always found to benefit society.

Please Note: No one should get involved with any of the above tax lowering methods without advice from a tax or investment consultant.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Obama's Bridge Too Far

Today, Obama took his "jobs" bill to Ohio. Standing in front of the Brent Spence Bridge, the President, once again, pleaded for America's support of his infrastructure jobs plan to repair our nation's crumbling infrastructure. Unfortunately for the President, the Brent Spence Bridge isn't in need of repairs. It might be well overused due to under-design; but it is a solid structure that won't get a penny of Obama's $447 billion jobs boondoggle. (Click here to See L.A. Times Story: Oops, Obama touts his jobs plan today at an Ohio bridge that won't qualify).

But, you see, it isn't about that bridge or any bridge, for that matter. This is all about a reelection campaign and the Brent Spence Bridge makes a great backdrop. Just another prop for Obama to have his picture taken with. A picture that will hit every news show, newspaper, and news website in this country.

Elizabeth Warren's Socialist Blather

Elizabeth Warren, an attorney and law professor who has worked, primarily, for the Obama Administration over the last 2-1/2 years, is running to unseat Senator Scott Brown in Massachusetts. In a town hall-style event yesterday, she made these remarks:

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own — nobody... You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police-forces and fire-forces that the rest of us paid for. You didn’t have to worry that marauding bands would come and seize everything at your factory — and hire someone to protect against this — because of the work the rest of us did. Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea. God bless — keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

While everything she said sounds "logically" true, the reality is that her viewpoint totally ignores the fact that "if" we didn't have the superior wealth creators that we have in this country, there would be no massive tax base and the taxable jobs to build the roads or to build the schools and pay for the teachers to educate the people. When she talks of the "rest of us" who "paid for" the "roads", who the hell is she really talking about? The 50% of this country who pays zero taxes; yet, still gets to use those roads? Obviously she's ignoring the fact that the "rich" pay 70% of all the taxes in this country.

She's playing a game of flawed chicken-and-egg political nonsense that sounds more like something a communist would have said in the former bankrupt society of the U.S.S.R. A society that, too, had teachers, police, fireman, and roads but never achieved the economic status that this country has. No wonder Obama originally hired her!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Obama Signals Trouble With His Base

Over the past two weeks, Obama has made it publicly clear that he knows he's in trouble with his political base of once-fellow Democrats.

On September 12, in an obvious attempt to win back lost Hispanic votes, he announced that his Administration will no longer deport any illegal aliens unless they have committed a felony; probably saving 300,000 from deportation. Then, there was the jobs bill to provide funding to keep unionized state government workers on the job and to provide "union" infrastructure jobs with billions in project spending. On Monday, there was his rose garden speech. In that "punish the rich" diatribe, he served up as much red meat to the left as he possibly could by playing the typical Democrat's class warfare card. Following that, his Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced in a press interview in Brussels, that Obama will seek to close Guantanamo Bay by the November elections of next year. Then, too, his U.N. speech of today was truly aimed at closing the wounds that he had opened with the Jewish community over Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. Lastly, within his U.N. Arab/Israeli speech, he oddly brought up the topic of Gay/Lesbian rights.

From all of the above, it is obvious that Obama is all out for Obama in 2012 and, could care less if his policies are good or bad for the country as a whole. With so much "base building" politics in just two short weeks, it appears the President is in panic mode and that he will do whatever it takes to "buy" his way back into winning next year's election. Now, who's putting politics before country?

Friday, September 16, 2011

The Stimulus Package Job-Creation Deception

I must have heard this said a hundred times: The Stimulus Package has saved or created 2.5 million jobs. In fact, the President and Vice President have staked this claim in numerous speeches. But, there's a couple of big problems with that claim.

First, the number of unemployed Americans in this country has gone from 11.1 million, when Obama took office in January of 2009, to today's 14 million. That, to me, is a loss of 2.9 million unemployed when the Stimulus Package was supposedly creating 2.5 million jobs.

Secondly, according to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the workforce has remained relatively flat at 154 million workers over the last 32 months. This despite additions through normal population growth. In reality, the workforce should have grown to just under 160 million by now. But, instead, it lost all that growth because, statistically, 6 million workers are being categorized as "discouraged." In a nutshell, a discouraged worker is a special unemployed individual who is no longer being counted as part of the workforce because they, for a variety of reasons, have temporarily stopped looking for a job. Usually, when the employment picture improves, these people will start looking for work again and, then, will be counted back in as a valid unemployed worker. Of course, when this happens, the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate will both rise in response.

While the Stimulus Package might have a legitimate claim to having created some jobs, it's hard to tell when looking at the situation from the top down. That's because, as so noted above, our economy has shed nearly 9 million jobs since Obama took office and since the enactment of the Stimulus bill. That's the reality and that's the truth that is being intentionally hidden when the President claims that the Stimulus Package has created jobs. People understand this and that is why 3 or 4 to 1, Americans give Obama a failing grade on both jobs and on the economy.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Mega Greenbacks for So Few Green Jobs

Today, the Washington Post noted that Obama's $38.6 billion program in loan guarantees to help create 65,000 green jobs has actually only created 3,545 total jobs. On the heels of the Solyndra solar panel bankruptcy scandal, this fact just proves that, once again, green tech is not where the jobs are. Yet, Obama continues to press for even more billions of dollars in his latest "boondoggle" that he calls his "jobs plan". Obama talks about being fed up with Congress but, I think, a lot of people are completely fed up with "his" green jobs B.S. For that matter, all his jobs B.S. Green or otherwise!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Obama Loses Big In The NY-9 Special Election

Last night's New York Congressional District 9 (NY-9) win by Republican, Bob Turner, must have the Democrats and Obama shaking in their political boots. That's because, in so many ways, a Republican should never have won.

First and foremost, NY-9 is almost totally owned by the Democrats with registered Democrats outnumbering Republicans by a factor of 3 to 1. Secondly, the district is heavily Jewish and Bob Turner, a Catholic, won handily against David Weprin, a Jewish Democrat, in what can only be seen as a historically significant contradiction. Additionally, Turner didn't really run against Weprin in defeating him. Instead, he outwardly ran against the policies of Obama. Therefore, it is only logical to assume that Obama was the biggest loser of the night. Furthermore, Turner's win came only days after the President's "big" jobs speech; proving that the jobs plan had no influence in turning things around in this heavily Democrat district. In fact, Turner seemed to gain momentum in polls following the speech. It's also important to note that Turner didn't just squeak this one out. He won by a landslide: 54 to 46 percent. Lastly, by running against Obama, Turner disproved the old political adage that all politics are local.

All morning, Democrats have been trying to downplay the significance of the NY-9 loss. But, in their mind's eye, I'm quite sure they're seeing a potential for big political problems in 2012. To me, last night's Republican win in a heavily Democrat district just shows that the voter sentiment by which the Republicans won last fall has not abated. If anything, there seems to be a growing momentum "against" Obama. Certainly, last night's loss must have Democrat strategists scurrying to find a new tactical direction for next year's election; even though, I think it's too late to change their fate.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Perry's Bachmann/HPV-Gardisil Problem

If you watched the debate on CNN last night, you would have heard Bachmann incessantly go after Gov. Perry for his executive order mandating that young teenage girls be vaccinated against the Human papilloma virus (HPV) with a product called Gardisil. Bachmann's attack seemed to be falsely based on the fact that Gardisil is supposedly a dangerous vaccine and that, somehow, Perry had put young girls lives at risk because the CEO of the manufacturer of the drug, Merck, was a Perry donor.

But, some this argument is littered with falsehoods. First, Gardisil has been administered to over 40 million women worldwide. Of those 40 million, there have been 20 deaths and, none of those deaths have yet been proven to be a result of taking the vaccine. In the U.S. alone, there are nearly 4000 deaths a year that are a direct result of contracting the human papilloma virus. The deaths worldwide are in excess of 230,000 each year and Gardisil has proven it could cut those deaths by two-thirds. Further, and completely contrary to Bachmann's claim, Gardisil has never been associated with mental retardation. In general, the side effects from taking the vaccine have been found to be minimal and the incidence of any serious illness following the administration of the drug has not been statistically different when compared with those not receiving the drug. Clearly, the benefits of Gardisil are enormous in light of the number of HPV deaths. That's why our own Food And Drug Administration has never stopped recommending that every girl, before the beginning of any sexual activity, be vaccinated with Gardisil.

The real Perry/Gardisil problem was that Perry used an executive order to mandate the vaccination of all young, teenage girls in Texas instead of going through the legislature. Ultimately, and for that very reason, the Perry-order was overturned by the Texas Supreme Court. And, last night, Perry admitted he was wrong. Also, the Perry-order wasn't as mandatory as was implied by Bachmann last night, That order had allowed an easy "opt out" for any parent not wanting their daughter vaccinated. To me, Bachmann is desperately trying to regain her second place standing that was lost when Perry entered the race; but, in reality, her slippage in the polls has more to do with her own missteps. I think reasonable voters will again see Bachmann in a negative light in her Gardisil attack on Perry. Once again, she is looking uniformed and subject to considerable gaffes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Paul Krugman's Shameful Political Attack And Rewrite of History

By now, most of the readers of yesterday's Drudge Report are aware that a columnist for the New York Times, Paul Krugman, wrote the following blog entry and published it just prior to the time of day when the first World Trade Center tower was attacked on 9/11/2011:

The Years of Shame

Is it just me, or are the 9/11 commemorations oddly subdued?

Actually, I don’t think it’s me, and it’s not really that odd.

What happened after 9/11 — and I think even people on the right know this, whether they admit it or not — was deeply shameful. Te atrocity should have been a unifying event, but instead it became a wedge issue. Fake heroes like Bernie Kerik, Rudy Giuliani, and, yes, George W. Bush raced to cash in on the horror. And then the attack was used to justify an unrelated war the neocons wanted to fight, for all the wrong reasons.

A lot of other people behaved badly. How many of our professional pundits — people who should have understood very well what was happening — took the easy way out, turning a blind eye to the corruption and lending their support to the hijacking of the atrocity?

The memory of 9/11 has been irrevocably poisoned; it has become an occasion for shame. And in its heart, the nation knows it.

I’m not going to allow comments on this post, for obvious reasons.

Aside from the fact that this criticism of Bush, Giuliani, and Kerik are so politically motivated and so shamefully out of place on a day of solemn remembrance, it is also factually wrong. Krugman would have you believe that the events of 9/11 were something that Bush and other neocons had just been eagerly awaiting: An excuse to go to war. But, this is a pure rewrite of history. Simply, the Afghanistan War would have never happened if the Taliban had complied with George W. Bush's demand that they turn over Osama Bin Laden and stop harboring Al Qaeda. That's the reality that Krugman's blog entry seems to have conveniently and so "liberal-mindedly" forgotten.

As far as being fake heroes, I think Bush, Giuliani, or Kerik would "all" admit that the heroes of that day were those who lost their lives and those who saved the lives of others; and, not themselves. What these men did, following 9/11, was to simply do their jobs to protect the citizens of this country. Each was an extremely strong and competent leader at a time of intensely wrenching turmoil in our history. A fact that we can all be thankful for and a fact that, apparently, Krugman doesn't seem to comprehend.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bin Laden's Failed 9/11 Plot

On this day, ten years ago, 19 hijackers killed nearly 3000 Americans in what, I am quite sure, Osama Bin Laden thought to be his crowning victory for Al Qaeda. But, did the United States cower as a result of that attack? Did we crumble as an economy? No. We strengthened against Al Qaeda and for that reason Bin Laden's 911 attack was a tactical failure.

Osama Bin Laden's attack on America has resulted in more than one million Muslim deaths in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; and, in Bin Laden's own death as the feeble-looking disheveled rat that he really was. Bin Laden did his faith and his people no favors on 9/11. Instead, he inflicted more damage to millions of Muslims; along with their homes, their businesses, and their homelands.

I would hope and pray that this very costly lesson will keep Al Qaeda, or anyone else, from ever again committing an act of mass terrorism on U.S. soil.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Obama Continues His "Free Trade Agreement" Lie

In his jobs speech of last night, Obama, once again, flat out lied about the free trade agreements with Columbia, South Korea and Panama. As he had, time and time, again, he "urged Congress to pass the free trade agreements"; as if it was Congress that was sitting on them.

The fact is that all those agreements were buttoned up and ready for a ratification vote at the end of the Bush Administration. But, it was Nancy Pelosi, speaking for the then-Democrat controlled Congress, who refused to even bring a ratification vote to the floor of the House (Click here to see a typical story regarding Pelosi's block tactics: Pelosi says House will change rules to stop Colombia trade vote). So, Bush was forced to hand over the trade agreements to the Obama Administration for ratification.

Since then, Obama has pursued a course of renegotiating each of the agreements so that the American labor unions are protected and compensated for any job losses that may result from the free trade activity. Further, Obama is demanding that, as part of the agreement, the foreign trading partner guarantee that its workers have U.S. style benefits and working conditions. Here's the actual text from the Office of U.S. Trade Representative website for the Columbia agreement (Click to link to U.S. government website) that explains the continuing process:
President Obama is committed to pursuing an ambitious trade agenda that will help grow our economy and support good jobs for U.S. workers by opening new markets. To achieve that objective, we seek to provide a level playing field that creates economic opportunities for U.S. workers, companies, farmers, and ranchers, and that ensures our trading partners have acceptable working conditions and respect fundamental labor rights. As part of this broader trade agenda, the Obama Administration has worked closely with the government of Colombia to address serious and immediate labor concerns. The result is an agreed “Action Plan Related to Labor Rights” that will lead to greatly enhanced labor rights in Colombia and clear the way for the U.S.-Colombia Trade Agreement to move forward to Congress.
More than anything, the last sentence that I have highlighted above in red, says it all. It clearly states that the agreement is in some kind of agreed upon "action plan" limbo and that, once resolved, it will "clear the way for the" agreement "to move forward to Congress." While the text above was extracted from the Columbia Trade Agreement website, the same text appears on the U.S. government trade agreement website for Panama. On, the South Korea agreement webpage, that agreement is on hold pending a resolution of "concerns that have been expressed regarding automotive trade."

It's just amazing to me that the main stream media of this country allows Obama to keep retelling this lie without ever contesting it. What's really sad is that Obama has placed the concerns of the U.S. labor unions ahead of all those non-union jobs that would have been created by these agreements. Subsequently, Americans have lost 2-1/2 years of jobs opportunities; just so Obama can get labor union support in his 2012 reelection bid. This from a President who hypocritically keeps demanding that Congress act "now" on his jobs plan!

Obama's Call to Pass This (Jobs) Bill Now

In last night's speech on jobs, Obama repeatedly demanded: "Pass this bill now!" The only problem is that no such bill exists for the "now" to even happen. When you think about it, Obama's original Stimulus bill was 1096 pages in length. Therefore, it's only logical that this new jobs bill (a mini-me of the original stimulus) should be about 548 pages. So, I ask this question: "Has anyone seen a 548-page jobs bill laying around so Congress can pass it NOW?" I don't think so.

In typical Obama fashion, the "Pass this Bill Now" statement is just one more attempt at political grandstanding without any substance to support it. Let's face it, yesterday's entire speech was just another campaign speech. Tactically, he wants to run around the country and claim that he put forth a jobs plan but the GOP of Congress are holding it up by not passing the bill NOW. It might have been more useful to have worked across the aisle to cobble something together that would be acceptable to both Democrats and Republican. But, Obama, the dictator, prefers ramming things down people's throats and then playing political gotcha games when things don't go exactly his way.

Lastly, the "Pass this bill now" hardly jives with the fact that he sat on this thing for weeks while he was holed-up on an all expense paid trip to Martha's Vineyard. Once again, this President is a complete hypocrite!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Two Great Internet Ads That Say A Lot About Obama's Handling Of Jobs

Weekly Jobless Claims Still Above 400,000

This morning's jobless claims number of 414,000 was, once again, above the "mystical" level of 400,000 that liberals seem to be eagerly waiting for but, which, has only happened a handful to times since this President took office; as if, somehow, a jobless claims number of 399,999 would be something to really cheer about.

But, this week there was no bogeyman for the left-wing media to blame for the continuation of claims above 400,000; like the "Verizon Strike" excuse of 3 weeks ago. If you recall, the media tried to give Obama cover for the lousy August 25th number of 417,000 claims by fraudulently claiming that it was all due to the Verizon workers strike that drove the number above 400,000 (Click here to See My Blog Entry of August 25th: Verizon Strike Blamed For Jump In Jobless Claims? ). Yet, since then and even before the Verizon strike, the claims number had always been above the 400,000 level. The only thing the left-wing media could come up with about this week's crappy numbers were the words: "claims rose unexpectedly".

The reality is that Obama has a 400,000 jobless claims number problem. That's why we continue to have an unemployment rate above 9%. To really make any dent in that unemployment rate and get those 14 million out-of-work Americans back to work, we really need the jobless claims number to be below 300,000; not just below 400,000. And, I, for one, just don't see that happening for a very long time; no matter what Obama unveils tonight in his jobs speech. His stimulus didn't work and I am quite sure that tonight's plan won't work. That's because Obama is mired in failed Keynesian and silly academic beliefs and is totally clueless as to what the economy needs to actually create jobs.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Wind-Down Of Iraq/Afghanistan Wars Will Hurt and Help The Economy

Not that I am any fan of war but, Americans should be made aware of the economic consequences of winding down our involvement in the two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2012. In a nutshell, we will lose jobs. That's because the military industrial complex, in support of any war effort, is a real job creator. It's what most economists call a "war-time economy" and, for those spendthrift Keynesians, it is often referred to as "military Keynesianism". But, like all Keynesian spending efforts, the direct economic benefits will also stop as soon as the spending stops.

Right now, we have thousands of workers who have been "employed" in the re-arming, feeding, and outfitting of our military. What percentage of those who will actually lose their jobs is hard to determine. It depends on how many will continue in the war effort by supplying Iraq and Afghanistan troops. In the short term, there is bound to be a hit on employment. However, in the long term, the economic benefits will be significant, because contrary to Keynesian spending theory, the U.S. deficits will be reduced; the dollar strengthened; and consumer spending will benefit from lowered import prices.

Of course, this will all be for naught if Obama and the Democrats try to use the decline in war-spending as some kind of new found money they can spend on more economy-killing social programs. Hopefully, the Republicans won't let this happen.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Obama Ignoring Hoffa's Remarks Reflects His Lack of Leadership

Sure, it wasn't President Obama that said "we're going to take these son-of-a-bitches out" when talking about the TEA Party and the GOP at the labor union rally yesterday. They were the words of Jimmy Hoffa Jr., the leader of the Teamsters Union. (Click to See the Hoffa Video)

However, in not condemning those words in his appearance on the same stage, just after Hoffa said them, Obama certified them as if they were his own. If Obama didn't agree with what was said and still remained silent in its condemnation, it reflects a cowardliness and a lack of leadership in taking a stand against one of the most uncivil remarks we've heard this year. In the wake of the "Gabby" Giffords' shooting, it's hard to see how he could condone what was said; especially after lecturing the country on "civility" in the speech that he gave just following that horrendous shooting. Once again, the President leaves the country wondering what kind of person and what kind of leader he really is.

Five Reasons Why Our Economy Won't Recover Any Time Soon

As I have stated before, our economy is 70% driven by consumer spending; and, if in any way, the consumer is forced to spend less of their income on discretionary items, the economy will suffer. To that, I present five reasons why I think the consumer is significantly absent from our economy and why our economy will continue to falter.

1. Unabated Declines in Home Values and a Resulting Higher Savings Rate. Prior to the recession, most Americans saw the rapidly increasing value of their homes as a measure of their wealth. As a consequence, people were only saving about 2% of their income towards retirement. But, when home values collapsed, Americans started to save an increasing amount of their money. Today, the savings rate has nearly trebled from that 2007 rate of 2%. This means that 4% of the average consumer's paycheck is no longer being spent on all those "extra" spending items that would normally help drive the economy.

2. A Continually Weakened Dollar and the Resulting Inflation. Over the last 2-1/2 years, Obama and the Federal Reserve have spent trillions of dollars in money we just don't have. All of it having to be borrowed. As a consequence, the dollar's value has dropped significantly. But, when the dollar is devalued like that, the price we pay for imported goods rises sharply. As a country, we are heavily dependent on imported products in our daily lives. For example, when Obama took office, oil was at $36.15. Just before the so-called Arab Spring, oil had already risen to just above $89 a barrel. Then came the Arab Spring and it jumped to $120 a barrel. Contrary to stimulating the economy, all that government spending is actually depressing the economy by forcing the average consumer to spend an increasing amount of their paycheck to cover inflated prices; leaving less to spend on those discretionary items that would help our economy grow. Many low income consumers are being forced to forgo the luxuries of things we consider essentials; like new clothes. Many Americans have had to cut back on a lot of previous expenditures. For example, recent satellite and cable company reports show the consumer is leaving these services. Something that had never before happened.
However, inflation doesn't just end with import prices. Domestic prices also rise when the dollar is devalued. First, any increases in oil prices affects food and transportation prices because both those areas are so energy intensive. Also, when the dollar is devalued, our domestically produced goods become cheaper to sell on an export basis. This, then, creates a higher demand for U.S. produced products. With this higher foreign demand, we then find ourselves competing worldwide for many of our own, home-grown products. The result is simple: Increased demand means higher prices. Once again, the consumer finds more and more of their paycheck going to higher prices.

3. Regressive Increases in State and Local Taxes and Fees. While the Federal Government may not have increased taxes since the recession started, state and local governments have been busily hiking taxes and fees in their effort to fight off massive deficits. But, in doing so, they have been crippling the consumer by, once again, diverting money away from the economy. In Illinois, alone, the state income tax was upped by 67%. But, the increasing of taxes, especially in a weak economy, only makes the economy weaker. Instead of raising tax revenues, the result is the opposite effect with the consumer becoming less active.

4. Oppressive Government Regulation. The Obama Administration has certainly been the most prolific regulator in U.S. history; with thousands of pages of new regulation being issued each year. From health care to the environment to financial transactions, all these new regs are just adding up to increased costs that will ultimately be passed on to the consumer. ObamaCare hasn't stemmed the rapid rise in health care costs. Instead, it appears to have accelerated cost increases. The EPA's pending crack down on carbon emissions, are only going to make energy more costly for all of us; starting in January. The Interior Department's hold on domestic oil drilling will just make oil even more costly going forward. And, the supposed consumer financial protection will create higher transactional costs for the banks which will result in lower interest on our savings accounts and increased fees for other banking activities. Like it or not, regulation is another form of tax that the consumer will ultimately have to pay. Again, taking money away from the economy.

5. Continued Debilitating High Unemployment. There are 15 million unemployed workers in this country. On top of that, there are 8 million temporary workers; most of which would prefer a full-time job. Then, you have about 10 million workers who are totally discouraged from even looking for a job. All in all, you have about 21% of this nations workforce who are just limping along and who are not being full-time consumers. That means that 1 out of every 5 employable workers are not spending the kind money that would be needed to grow our economy.

Next Thursday, President Obama will take another swipe at trying to grow the economy and create jobs. But, unless he can address all of the above issues, we will see no improvement from this very psychological recession: a recession that isn't technically defined as such but, one that many Americans feel just the same.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Obama's New "Put Country Before Party" Slogan

Thinking that he can continue his incessant drumbeat of divisive rhetoric, Obama has unveiled a new slogan: "Put Country Before Party".

Of course, this is aimed at turning Americans "against" the GOP and the TEA Party as a preemptive strike against any objections to his upcoming jobs plan. However, if you really analyze what he's saying, he's telling the GOP/TEA Party to put "his plan" and "his party" ahead of "theirs". Or, better said: "Put the Democratic Party ahead of Country!"

Unfortunately, it's that very attitude from this ideologically-driven, partisan President that has kept this country from getting any meaningful recovery during these months of drawn-out economic stagnation.

The United States Post Office Is Near Default

If I were to create a business that primarily existed to benefit a labor union, the United States Postal Service (USPS) would be that business. Through its pricing structure for low-cost junk mail, pre-sorted mass mailings, and flyers, the USPS has guaranteed that a mail carrier makes a delivery to nearly every household on a daily basis and does that 6 days a week. That. to me, makes the USPS the most labor intensive and labor beneficial business in the country and it is because of this that they are losing billions of dollars every year. That's why today, the U.S. Postal Service is claiming that they will become insolvent in 30 days unless the Congress passes legislation to bail them out.

I know from my own experience, the legitimate mail I receive each month only accounts for 7 or 8 days of actual delivery. Yet, with all the junk mail I receive, the mail carrier is forced to visit my mail box a total of 24 times in an average month. That means that the ratio of junk to legitimate first class mail is about 3 to 1. In other words, the USPS has 3 times more postal carriers than necessary -- if it only focused on the delivery of legitimate first class mail.

Through its entire history, the management personnel of the post office have risen up through the ranks of its postal workers. In its modern history, the management has grown out of a labor union pool. Over the years, the influence of the postal workers union (American Postal Worker's Union) has created a business model that is too labor intensive and totally unsustainable. I think its high time that the USPS changes its business model. Junk mail should not get a free ride because it is the junk mail that is actually killing the post office. The only way that the USPS can save itself is to get leaner and meaner with its total focus being on delivering first class mail.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Ink Runs Red For Obama-Backed Solar Companies

In just the last couple of weeks, four solar companies have fallen into bankruptcy: SprectraWatt, Solyndra, Evergreen Solar, and Solon Energy.

In the case of all of these companies, Obama has hailed them as the future of job creation in America; when, instead, their bankruptcies just sent jobs to the unemployment lines. What's worse, two of these companies, Evergreen Solar and Solyndra, received combined government funding in excess of one-half billion dollars and it is highly likely that none of that taxpayer money will ever be recouped.

As in the case of wind power turbines, American solar companies aren't able to compete with the lower-priced, Chinese-made products. Furthermore, there just isn't enough demand for solar panels because they're too expensive. In fact, if it wasn't for state and federal funding support, few would ever be installed.

But, the Obama Administration, in its complete ignorance of business, doesn't seem to get it. Solar and wind are not going to be the savior of America's unemployment problems and these bankruptcies just prove it. All that's happening is that we are creating more jobs in China while, at the same time, losing jobs in the solid and economical energy industries of coal, gas, and oil. For what? A Climate Change agenda that just keeps getting discredited.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Striking Verizon Workers Were Counted As Unemployed???

According to the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) at the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) own website, workers involved in an "industrial dispute" -- a strike -- are counted as being employed and should never appear in any section of the Monthly Unemployment Report as being unemployed. Here's the actual text from the pertinent BLS FAQ:
"Who is counted as employed?

Not all of the wide range of job situations in the American economy fit neatly into a given category. For example, people are considered employed if they did any work at all for pay or profit during the survey week. This includes all part-time and temporary work, as well as regular full-time, year-round employment. Persons also are counted as employed if they have a job at which they did not work during the survey week, whether they were paid or not, because they were:

On vacation
Experiencing child-care problems
Taking care of some other family or personal obligation
On maternity or paternity leave
Involved in an industrial dispute
Prevented from working by bad weather"

Yet, in this morning's Employment Report, 45,000 striking Verizon workers were tallied in the unemployment stats for "Information Technology" workers and, then, were rolled up into the final count; reflecting zero jobs being gained for the month. This fact was duly noted in the first paragraph of this morning's BLS news release, when it was stated: "a decline in information employment reflected a strike". (Click here to see the actual BLS new release) However, if the striking workers were properly counted as being employed, there should have been a job growth of 45,000 jobs for the month instead of the reported zero.

So, what gives? Are striking workers now suddenly being included as part of the unemployment stats when they have never been counted this way in the past? Was the inclusion of the striking Verizon workers a convenient way of making this report look worse than it really was in order to help Obama get support for his jobs speech and plan of next week? Something really stinks on ice with this one! After all, the BLS is a government agency that reports to Obama through the Secretary of Labor and, I wouldn't put it passed that agency to tweak the numbers for the greatest possible political leverage. Then, next month, the BLS will just correct the problem with one of their many and constant statistical "revisions". In the meantime, we just might be seeing another one of Obama's deceitful manipulations of the facts.

The White House Predicts Its Own, Failed Reelection Bid?

This morning's Employment Report was just horrible. The job growth for last month was "zero" and you have to go all the way back to 1945 to match that kind of a nearly impossible statistic. Additionally, the unemployment rate held steady at 9.1%.

Even worse than today's horrible report, yesterday, the White House budget office dropped an "unemployment projection" bombshell that hardly bodes well for Obama's reelection bid. In a newly revised projection, the budget office now predicts that the unemployment rate will remain above 9 percent through the end of 2012. Previously, they had predicted an 8.6 percent rate for 2012 (Click here to See "The Hill" Story: "White House downgrades 2012 jobs, economic forecasts; cites 'turbulence'").

To put this into context, no President has won a reelection bid since FDR with an unemployment rate above 8%. One has to wonder why the White House would release this reelection-killing projection right now; just days before the President's jobs speech. Do you think maybe it is a psychological ploy to get Congress to act on Obama's jobs plan. I think so. This President and his team does absolutely nothing without calculating its political impact. Obviously, they're betting that, if they overstate a negative and, then, the economy actually does better, Obama will benefit by saying he beat the estimates.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Obama's Job Plan: Just More Union Jobs

Next week, President Obama will unveil his painfully long-awaited jobs plan. But, my guess is that the only jobs to be created under the plan will be more union jobs. That's because the bulk of Obama's plan will call for federally-funded infrastructure projects; and, based on his "February 2009" executive order #13502, his agencies are "asked" to "seriously consider" union personnel for all Federally-funded projects (Click here to See Story: Fact Check: Did Obama require that all infrastructure jobs in the stimulus bill go to union workers?). Does anyone really think that those agencies, reporting to Obama, are going to ignore his directive to "seriously consider" unions? I think not!

So, once again, the President will help his good friends, the labor unions; while, at the same time, insuring that those unions "shower" him with their much-needed reelection support for 2012. Never mind the fact that he will "only" benefit the 7% of this country's private-sector workforce who are unionized, while totally ignoring the 93% of this country's workers who are non-union and who are highly unlikely to be trained and experienced in any kind of heavy-equipment construction work.