Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cheaper Dollars Means More Inflation

This morning, it was announced that our Federal Reserve, along with the Bank of England and the Central Banks of Europe, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland would all lower their dollar interbank lending rate by 1/2 percent. In doing so, it is expected that the world economies will be stimulated.

Once again, you have the monetarist, Federal Reserve Charmian Ben Bernanke, believing that he can kick start the worlds economy through an easy money policy. A policy that he's tried in this country and that has failed miserably to stimulate anything. To me, the only thing that will happen is that the value of our dollar will fall again; making those things we import more expensive for us to buy. In fact and true to form, as soon as this banking arrangement was announced, the dollar sank in value and oil prices jumped above $101.

As I have written before, import price inflation just shrinks the total amount of products and services that a consumer can afford to buy. In other words, less bang for the buck. As a result, discretionary spending declines and the economy starts to contract. Let's never forget, much of what we buy in this country is imported. Even if a product says "Made in America", it was probably assembled using imported parts.

The big problem with this interbank lending policy is that it doesn't really address the underlying debt crisis in Europe. And, unless countries like Italy and Greece get their spending under control, we are still at risk for world wide economic collapse.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pakistan's Anger Over Air Strikes Was Inevitable

When last Saturday's NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others, the retaliation by the Pakistani government was only to be expected. For month's, now, the U.S. and NATO have been conducting not-always-so-surgical strikes against the Taliban in that country. Unfortunately, innocent citizens -- including some children -- and the Pakistani military have been been either killed, maimed, or injured in the process.

Since Obama took office, unmanned drone attacks have been escalated in an effort to make the Afghanistan/Pakistan Taliban war as bloodless as possible for our own military personnel. To me, not having to suffer a potential sacrifice of losing one's own troops just makes it easier to make quick -- and possibly bad decisions -- in the battlefield. At the same time, NATO, too, has conducted airstrikes in lieu of troops on the ground.

Sadly, this "air strike" policy and its collateral deaths and injuries have put us in an extremely bad position: Winning the war but losing the hearts and minds of the people in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is as if we never learned the lessons of World War II and how hated the Germans were for their indiscriminate buzz-bombing and V1/2 rocket strikes against British citizenry.

Make no mistake about it, we needed the cooperation of Pakistanis to effectively execute the war in Afghanistan and shutdown the influence of those Taliban militants who are in hiding in Pakistan. But, now, I think we've blown it. We just might have pushed an already-deteriorating alliance into a state of hostility; thus making the possibility of winning the Afghanistan war an impossibility.

Michele Bachmann Will Never Learn

First, she attacked Rick Perry over his HPV vaccination program in Texas. I guess she thought it would somehow elevate her in the race while, at the same time, dethrone Rick Perry -- the then-leader at the time. Instead, just the opposite happened: She fell further while Perry remained ahead of the pack. It wasn't until Perry did himself in that his lead evaporated.

Now, with Newt Gingrich leading, Bachmann is at it again. Since last week's debate, she has spent day after day attacking Newt on his immigration stance. She's acting like a gossip who thinks people will like her because she's able to dish the dirt on someone else. But, most people don't like "gossipers".

To me -- and I think to a lot of people -- this kind of tactic is not Presidential. It's ugly and it does nothing to increase the value of her stock. It only cheapens it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The NLRB Will Start Killing Jobs And Inflating Prices

Next Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will probably pass a ruling that allows unions to organize in as little as 10 days after notifying management. Previously, that time frame was about 38 days; thus giving management an adequate amount of time to present it's case against unionization. The NRLB ruling is sure to pass because, thanks to Obama appointees -- one a non-approved recess appointee -- the board is now heavily skewed as pro-union.

While the unions might think they've scored an easy victory, it's actually labor and the average American who may have lost on this one.

First of all, the shortened turnaround time will certainly blindside many businesses -- especially small ones -- and they will be forced into meeting collective bargaining demands on wages, hours, working environments, and benefits, or suffer the consequence of a strike against them. The result of this will be much higher costs for labor. In some cases, this could spell bankruptcy because, in raising prices, it will have lost all of its competitiveness. If so, all those newly minted union job holders just might end up in the unemployment lines.

For some other businesses, the only option to stay competitive will be to shut down their U.S. operations and move off shore. Again, if this happens, another new bunch of fresh union jobs will disappear. Then, too, for those companies that can raise their prices to cover higher labor costs, it is American paychecks that will suffer the consequence. As I have said many times before, this will only drain the consumer of any discretionary income; causing a slow down in economy due to the lack of any broad-based consumer spending. Further, its the poor and those on fixed incomes who will suffer the most from higher prices.

At a time when our economy is already fragile, the negative impact of the NLRB decision will only be magnified. Years ago, more than a third of this country's private industry workforce was unionized. Today, that number is down to about 7%. The historical reasons that they have lost nearly four-fifths of their membership is that previously unionized businesses either went bankrupt or were forced to move their operations to other countries.

If what I have described above comes to fruition, it will most certainly be Obama's fault. For a President who is supposed to be so intelligent and supposedly focused "like a laser" on jobs, this is just damn stupid. A stupidity that could easily bring this country back down to its economic knees!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rick Perry: Cut Their Pay...Send Them Home

Lately, Governor Rick Perry has be running this TV ad:

While threatening to "cut Congress' pay" and "send them home" might sound like a good, tough-guy kind of strategy to woo voters, in reality, it shows that Perry lacks a basic understanding of one of the primary tenants of our Constitution: The Separation of Powers. Apparently, Perry doesn't seem to know that only Congress can cut Congress' pay and only Congress can decide when and how often they meet. The only power that a President has over them is veto power. And, even that can be overridden. In fact, when it comes to pay, it's Congress who decides how much the President is paid.

Also, when it comes to the passage of a "Balanced Budget Amendment", Perry seems not to understand how utterly impossible it would be to achieve that goal. First of all, most Democrats are vehemently opposed to a forced balancing of spending against revenues. Generally, they argue that such a Constitutional mandate would hamstring Congress' need to spend more money at times of a national emergency; such as wartime. Secondly and because of the lack of Democratic support, the chances of getting a two-thirds vote in both houses is almost impossible.

To me, the Perry ad makes it sound like he's already declared war on Congress. That, in itself, shows a complete lack of leadership.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GDP Growth Revised Down From 2.5% To A Meager 2%

This morning, the Commerce Department released its latest estimate of how much our economy grew in the 3rd quarter of this year. Back in October, they initially said that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 2.5%. Today, after further factors had be taken into consideration (?), the Commerce Department revised that GDP growth number down to just 2%.

For me, this 20% overstatement error came as no surprise. In fact, after the initial 2.5% number was released, I wrote some of the following in my blog entry of October 28:
"On Wednesday, the initial take on the third quarter 2011 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in at an unexpected plus 2.5%."

"...the left-wing media was cheering about it because it is generally assumed a 2.5% GDP growth is the minimum level that's needed to start eating into the unemployment number."

"For me, that 2.5% GDP number has to be suspect. That's because, in a separate report, just released this morning, the consumer...seems to be struggling..."

"...that's why I think the 2.5% GDP growth figure might just be overstated and due for some forthcoming downward revisions."
I don't think I've ever seen as much inept reporting of economic numbers than I have since Obama and his people took over the federal departments responsible for reporting those numbers. Again, I point to the comments I made in my October 28th blog entry:
"But, before anyone gets too excited, this is only a "first pass" on the GDP number. In each of the next 3 months, that number is subject to revisions. Just last August, the 2nd quarter GDP growth was revised from 1.3% to 1%. Then, in September, it was revised back to 1.3%. But, the real shocker of all revisions came on July 29 of this year when the final number on the first quarter GDP was suddenly dropped from 1.9% (as reported in June) to just .4%. A whopping 475% downward revision."
Often, there seems to be a political component in the way the numbers are announced and, then, revised. Last month, when the 2.5% number came out, Obama was on a daily rant pushing his new stimulus package; or, what he commonly referred to as his jobs package. So, I think it was essential, at that time, that the results of his first stimulus package not be put into question with another lousy GDP report. Of course, that's just my opinion. But, it is an opinion that is based on the fact that, all too often, the good numbers being reported never seem to jive with all the other known facts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Reported Truth About Wind Technology

The media and many of our politicians would have you believe that the future of American electric energy is in green wind and solar technologies. But, the reality is that these technologies are quite expensive to operate without taxpayer support. In fact, a recent report by a group known as Minnesotans for Global Warming, has estimated that 14,000 wind turbines have been abandoned for a lack of government subsidies.

For example, in the Tehachapi pass area of the Mojave Desert of California, there once were 5000 operating wind turbines. The companies that built them have long since come and gone; mostly due to profitability issues. Today, much of those turbines have either been cannibalized for parts or left idle to decay. There's a similar story in Hawaii at the South Point,Kamaoa Wind Farm.

The average American is unaware of these failures because the media isn't reporting them in an attempt to keep "going green" alive and well. Additionally, decaying "wind farms" are usually hidden by the fact they are built in remote areas, and, when the turbines are abandoned, they are typically left standing because it is too expensive to tear them back down and relocate them. This then gives the casual observer the impression that an abandoned wind turbine is actually still operational.

Besides being expensive to operate and maintain, wind turbines are highly unlikely to replace any of our existing gas and coal power plants. Their power output is just too unreliable because mother nature's wind strengths are just too unpredictable and, to date, there is no economical way to store wind-produced energy for those slack wind days. When there is no wind, they produce no power and conventional power generating must be pumped-up to take up the slack. When there's excess wind, those turbines can actually overload the power grid; causing damage and massive outages. Just last May, the Pacific Northwest was hit with just such an "overload induced" outage (Click here to See the Forbes Story: Grid Problems Trigger Rolling Wind-Farm Outages in Pacific Northwest). Then, too, there's the increasing loss of bird and bat lives to these rotating guillotines. On top of everything else, they are just plain noisy and ugly.

I predict that, someday, when the history of energy production in the world is written, wind power will be no more than a negative footnote and not the dominant energy producer that the "greens" of today seem to think it will be.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Europe's Debt Crisis And An American Double Dip Recession

No one in this country should be complacent about what's happening in Europe. If, like dominoes, the PIIGS --- Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain --- default on their individually accumulated debts, the Eurodollar could easily collapse. For America, this could spell even higher unemployment and, for sure, a second recession.

40% of all American exports depend on the buying demand that comes from the 17 countries that make up the European Union. Thousands of jobs depend on those exports. As the Eurodollar weakens, our products become more expensive and less competitive throughout Europe. This fact, alone, could spell an increasing amount of layoffs in this country; slowing our economy and raising the unemployment rate. Further, as the cost of bond debt rises in each of the PIIGS countries, inflation will be sure to rear its ugly head; thereby reducing the purchasing power of the average European. This, too, could negatively impact American exports.

Additionally, our banks, brokerage firms, and individuals are holding somewhere between $600 billion and $1 trillion in European debt. No one really knows the exact amount. It might actually be higher than a trillion dollars. But, in any event, if the Eurodollar collapses, all of that debt could be easily at risk; threatening the survivability of our key national banks. Once again, the U.S. government and the taxpayers will be forced to ante up with another too-big-to-fail TARP-like bailout. As it is, we are already exposed to the debt problems in Italy and Greece. That's why, just recently, a derivatives brokerage firm called MF Global was forced to go belly up with thousands losing their money in the process.

I am personally concerned that those troubled European countries will fail to extricate themselves from their debt problems through any real austerity programs. As a result, our own Federal Reserve and Treasury -- knowing the potential consequences of any European defaults -- might decide to shore up the entire European Union by loaning massive amounts of money to the individual PIIGS. If that happens, our own economy would be hurt because our own currency will lose value; making imports more expensive for us to buy. And, we buy a lot. Around the world, governments -- including ours -- need to stop with the liberal-minded spending and make fiscal discipline the priority. Otherwise, more than just the economies of Europe and the U.S. could be a risk.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Obama And Another One Of His Blame America Statements

Now, according to Obama, America has become "lazy" in attracting foreign business to our shores.

This comes from the mouth of a hypocrite that, for 3 years, sat on 3 free trade agreements and the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline deal. All of these would have created jobs for Americans and should have attracted foreign investment in the U.S. This is especially true in the case of the XL pipeline; which has just been put on hold by the President for another year. Obviously, if anyone is "lazy" about creating jobs and attracting foreign investment, its Mr. Obama!

Now In Phase 5 Of the Cain Scandal

It seems like every "sexually related" scandal follows the same old course. The Cain allegations are no different.

First, there's the original allegation. Then, there's the complete denial. This is usually followed up with the accuser(s) coming forth with details that seem to refute the denial. That, then, is countered with an ever changing series of stories that the accused hopes will put the issue to rest. Now, we entered Phase 5 with the "little woman" being dragged out in front of the cameras to stand by and defend her man (Click here to See the WaPo Story: Gloria Cain speaks out about sexual harassment allegations).

If all holds true to form, the next phase will be the final one with Cain bowing out of the race.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smallpox Vaccine Deal Another Pox on Obama

With Congressional hearings heating up over the half billion dollars of taxpayer money given away to Solyndra, a whole new cash give-away -- to a well-connected Democrat donor -- has come to light.

According to a report by the LA Times, the Obama Administration has awarded a no bid, $433 million contract to buy 1.7 million doses of an experimental oral, smallpox vaccine. This is despite the fact that the U.S. government has already stockpiled enough conventional and proven vaccine to inoculate every man, woman, and child in America. Smallpox is also a disease that no one needs to be concerned about because, since 1979, it has been declared as being completely eradicated throughout the world. The only reason we have any stockpile, at all, is to protect this country against some possible bioterrorist attack.

So, you have to question why the Obama Administration would buy an untried drug to be used against an eradicated disease that we are already prepared for. The answer to that question seems to involve a wealthy Democrat donor: billionaire Ronald Perelman. You see, Perelman is the majority stockholder in Siga Technologies -- the company that sold the vaccine to the Obama Administration. Then, too, why would any company theoretically spend millions of dollars to develop a vaccine for an already eradicated disease? That, to me, makes absolutely no sense.

I think this could be a bigger problem for Obama than Solyndra. There is absolutely no rationale behind the deal. It just looks like political payback; wasting another near half billion dollars of taxpayer money. For all we know, the untested smallpox drug could be simple sugar water; and, unless there is a bioterrorist attack, who would know any differently.

So, what's next to be uncovered? Another half billion dollars to fight the dreaded Unicorn flu?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Obama's Tactical Indecision On the Keystone XL Pipeline

We've now learned that the President will put off his decision on whether or not to proceed with the Keystone XL, Canada-to-the-Gulf Coast, pipeline until after the 2012 elections. Many see this as another one of Obama's "present" votes which he had made so famous in his days with the Illinois Legislature. In reality, his indecision is the same as voting "no" without really saying it, because a year's delay will probably sink the project completely. The builder of the pipeline, TransCanada Corp., and the Canadian government aren't going to just sit around and wait for U.S. approval. Instead, they will redirect their efforts by building a truly trans-Canada pipeline that will carry oil to critical parts of Canada and to the Canadian coasts to supply tankers that are probably bound for places like China.

You see, the problem with the Keystone XL pipeline decision is the fact that no matter how Obama votes he's bound to fracture his own political base. If he votes "yes" to the project, the environmentalists will be angered. A "no" vote will be a slap against the unions who have been counting on the Keystone project as a source of thousands of high paying union jobs. By not making a decision, Obama feels like he has threaded the needle; keeping his base in tact.

But, to me, Obama has made a serious tactical error.

First, he's handed the Republicans three big "sticks" with which they can beat him over the head from now to the election. The first is all about jobs and the fact that thousands of jobs will be not be created at a time of such high unemployment. The second stick is the fact that we will become more dependent on imported oil from countries who are not our friends when, in fact, it would have been better off importing that same amount of oil from our friendly neighbor, Canada. Lastly, the pipeline would have had the added benefit of lowering the delivery cost of imported oil from Canada. A cost that would have eventually been reflected at the pumps with lower gasoline prices.

Then, too, the labor unions have to be angry about the delay. If the XL project is finally scrapped, that will only accentuate their anger.

This is another example of Obama putting his reelection bid ahead of the needs of the country. His own EPA issued a report stating that the environmental risk of that pipeline was miniscule. Yet, this President's anti-oil ideology and his concern over losing his environmental voting block has put the environment ahead of all other factors in delaying his decision. This is simply irresponsible and another reason why this man should be voted out of office next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perry's Brain-In-The-Headlights Debate Performance

Viewers have gotten used to Rick Perry's poor debate performances. Initially, his handlers blamed his being tired from campaigning. But, last night's performance was just horrible with Perry only being able to recall two of the three government agencies that he had been campaigning for weeks to cut.

Shamed again, Perry and his people have restated that they may sit out the upcoming debates. Perry, himself, has stated that he acknowledges that he's weak in debates. Then goes on to say that if you want a "slick" debater or politician rather than someone who will fix this country's problems, "I'm not your guy".

But those are just words that are designed to deflect the fact that Perry is not ready for prime time. If he can't do well debating your own party members, you're certainly not ready to go up against Obama. During the debate, the famed Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia political science professor, tweeted: "To my memory, Perry's forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate." I have to agree with Sabato. I have to say Rick Perry is truly a "dead man walking" with no chance of getting the nomination.

Note: I think the clear winners last night were, once again, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I also think Cain did well but still has those harassment charges hanging over his head.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Ohio, The Unions Won and the People Lost

Pro-union groups spent about $30 million dollars in Ohio to defeat changes to collective bargaining for teachers, firemen, police, and nurses. Although the GOP backed changes would not have affected bargaining for wages and working conditions, the pro-union groups managed to make it all about safety. Now, Ohioans are faced with these basic alternatives: fewer public employees and services and/or higher taxes. That's the bottom line. There is no free ride when you have a state like Ohio that can't pay it's bills. The people have spoken and apparently they don't mind giving up services and paying higher taxes so that the state's union workers can keep there jobs, get better pay and benefits, and earlier retirements than most Ohioans.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Obama and the Democrats Big "Occupy" Blunder

Early on, many Democrats and liberal media personalities hooked their wagons to the "Occupy" movement; thinking that these protestors would bring them the same political success in 2012 that the TEA Party brought to the GOP in 2010. But, in typical Democrat fashion, their logic was flawed. That's because they really didn't understand the type of people they were dealing with.

Now, its looking more like the Democrats have got a hungry, violent tiger by the tail. And, that tiger just might eat them all alive when the 2012 elections roll around. As the violence in the streets continues to escalate, public opinion of the movement continues to decline. In the latest Quinnipiac University polling, only 30% of overall respondents approved of the "Occupy" protesters. While the protestors, themselves, might think they represent 99% of the population, that poll hardly supports that belief.

Americans increasingly fail to see these people as a valid political movement like the TEA party. Instead, they are starting to see the protestors for what they really are: Anarchists. On October 18th, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Bill Clinton pollster and political analyst, Doug Schoen, warned Obama and the Democrats about this very real possibility when he wrote: "President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement—and it may cost them the 2012 election." What Schoen knew, then, from the many interviews he conducted with the protestors themselves is that 31% of them advocated violence in order to achieve their goals. (Click here to See Schoen's Article: "Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd")

Violence will only get worse from this point forward. It will grow out of the frustration that the movement is losing support and attention. You can't have a 31% violent underpinning in any movement and expect it to remain civil. In fact, it is my guess that, as the violence increases, the less violent members will leave the movement; only to be replaced with those even more volatile. When that happens, you can expect to see the same kind of inflamed protests that we are now seeing in Europe. Many Americans will then blame Obama and the Democrats for fueling and fanning the flames of class warfare -- the kind of class warfare that initially spawned the "Occupy" movement. That's when Doug Schoen's prediction of 2012 losses for the Democrats will come true. Just mark my words.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Watch "Drain The Swamp" Pelosi Dance Around Her Own Questionable Activities

On Friday, poor, poor Nancy Pelosi got ambushed by a 60 Minutes reporter, Steve Kroft. Kroft went after her on a Visa Initial Public Offering (IPO) stock deal that Nancy and her husband were involved with in 2008. The deal, estimated to be between one and five million dollars, netted the Pelosi's a nice profit in three separate transactions. But, the problem lies in the fact that, at the time Pelosi was buying into the Visa deals, she and her fellow Democrats (and the White House included) were also involved in passing credit card legislation that would greatly affect how companies, like Visa, would operate.

The timing begs the question as to whether or not the Pelosi's Visa deal was, at the very least, a conflict of interest. Then too, one might conclude that the convenient access to the Visa deal was intended to soften the legislation against that company and the industry as a whole. Obviously, Kroft smells a rat. The video (below) is the actual exchange between Kroft and Pelosi. Note how she completely dances around the issue without ever directly answering Kroft's question; or, for that matter, even acknowledging the deal. This, from the woman who, in 2006, said she would "Drain the Swamp". A swamp that, naturally, had no Democrats in it. Only Republicans.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Insanity Of Republicans Ignoring The Cain Allegations

This morning, a Washington Post/ABC poll revealed that 70% of Republicans say that the Cain harassment allegations don't matter when it comes to picking him as a nominee. But, that's just plain stupidity. The Cain situation is a serious political problem and those 70% of Republicans are insane to ignore it. Voting out of spite has no place here. When it comes to getting a nominee into the White House, its not what one party or the other thinks about a person. It's what the overall electorate thinks about that candidate. Herman Cain has been tainted and obviously unable to extricate himself from the bind he now finds himself in.

What's really sad about this whole thing is the fact that Cain actually made it worse for himself. In an interview on the Fox News channel, he admitted that he had a 10-day, heads-up on that story. That means that he had a full ten days whereby he could have hired a P.R. expert and come up with a strategy to defuse the situation before the Politico article even came out. Instead, he allowed the bomb to go off; and, then, as if he was dazed by the explosion, floundered around with ever changing story lines. I'm sorry, that kind of bury-your-head-in-the-sand strategy is just not presidential; let alone even logical or intelligent.

Rightly or wrongly, Cain is toast and the Republicans better move on to someone else who hasn't accumulated the kind of baggage that would sink that person's chances in the general election.

Harry Reid's Teeny, Tiny Tax On The Rich

Just a couple of days ago, Harry Reid took to the after hours podium of the Senate floor to drum up support for what he calls a "teeny, tiny tax" on the rich. But, once again, Reid's words don't match his actions.

Under the Senate Democrat's version of the Obama jobs bill, a 5.6% surtax would be levied on all incomes above one million dollars. Certainly, most Americans would see this as a reasonable increase on high end wage earners to solve our debt problem and to theoretically create jobs. But, you see, Harry's assault on the rich doesn't stop there. Harry fully expects the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire in 2013; meaning that millionaires will see their current tax rate of 35% rise to 39.6%. So, when you add in the new surtax rate, millionaires will actually see their income tax rate rise from 35% to 44.6%; a jump of 26%. Not hardly a teeny, tiny bump in their tax rates.

Then, too, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would increase the capital gains tax from 15% to 20%. This is another 33% rise that will not only hit the rich but anyone else who sells stocks or bonds at a profit. But, the tax rate won't simply stop at the 20% level. When ObamaCare was passed, another 3.8% tax was applied to capital gains activity; meaning that the true capital gains tax will rise to 23.8%. Overall, that's a whopping 58.8% increase in the tax on any capital investment income.

I'm still not done. There's one more teeny, tiny tax increase on the rich. Under ObamaCare, another 0.9% tax would be applied to them as a surcharge to pay for that health care law; bringing their total non-investment income tax rate to 45.5%.

So, Harry's supposed teeny, tiny increase appears to be a 30% jump in income taxes and a near 60% increase on investment income. Combine that with state income taxes, sales taxes, and real estate taxes and most millionaires with be paying more than half their income to taxation while nearly half of this country's wage earners pay nothing. Of course, in the eyes of a socialist Democrat like Harry, it's only fair.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Declining Graduation Rates and the Disparity Between The Rich And The Poor

America's political left wants us all to believe that the rich are getting richer off the backs of the poor. But, that argument simply makes no sense. Using that kind of logic is the same as saying that, if we had no rich, we would then have no poor. In reality, if we had no rich we would look more like some of the poorest, 3rd world, countries on this planet. When it comes to the rich versus the poor argument, I think John F. Kennedy said it best: "A rising tide lifts all boats". Meaning that, as a country becomes more wealthy, even the poorest of the poor will benefit.

To me, the progressive/liberal argument is totally ignorant of reality. Did Steve Jobs, in becoming a millionaire, take money away from those who were poor in this country? Not hardly. If anything, his wealth, his company's profits, and the personal incomes of the workforce that he created have only helped pay for all of the government programs that support the poor; such as food stamps and even the earned income tax credit where that poorest of our tax payers pay no tax and actually get money back.

In my opinion, the real reason that the poor are getting poorer in this country has do with a decline in the value of our human capital. By that, I mean, that our workforce has become less educated and less dedicated and, as a consequence, less able to get the kind of jobs that produce a lifetime of good earnings.

In the 1960's, the average high school graduation rate was 82%. Today, that national average has declined to 70%. Worse yet, in our 50 largest cities, the rate stands at only 53%. Conversely, this means that 47% percent of the people in our highest population centers are without the discipline and motivation to finish high school and, subsequently, are without the education needed to obtain a quality, high paying job.

Based on a March 2011 report from the Bureau of Labor And Statistics titled "Education Pays..," the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma was, at that time, just under 15%. Also, those with a diploma were nearly 50% better off with an unemployment rate of 10.3%. But, for a college degreed worker, the unemployment rate was only 5.4%; three times better than the non-high school graduate.

So, obviously, those who don't finish high school are a real drag on the economy when it comes to the unemployment rate. More importantly, a worker without a high school diploma will, on average, make 41% less money over his/her lifetime than a worker with one. And, that's the the crux of our increasing rich/poor disparity problem. With declining high school graduation rates in America, our overall workforce is becoming less educated and poorer. It's also the reason the middle class is in decline. Its no coincidence that 47% of us pay no taxes and 47% of high school students in our major cities don't graduate.

The rich aren't responsible for this. Yet the Democrats still insist on playing the class game. Just recently, the Government Accounting Office released a set of statistics showing that the top 1% of all wage earners have had their salaries jump by 270 percent in the last 30 years while the bottom 20% only saw a gain of 18%. Of course, to a liberal, this just proves that the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor. But no. This just proves my point that we have an education problem in this country. And, despite decades of effort and billions of dollars being spent on liberal programs like increased teacher's pay, smaller class sizes, preschool and after school programs, etc., the problem has only gotten worse. But, you see, education still all comes down to the student wanting to learn and work hard for that degree. Instead of condemning the rich, we should encourage our nation's students to look up to them and want to emulate them by working hard to get a good education. Maybe then, the disparity between the rich and poor will start to narrow again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Media's Double Standard Regarding Sexual Harassment

When is comes to our national press corps, it really makes a difference if you're a Democrat or a Republican when reporting on supposed sexual misconduct.

Take, for example, former President Bill Clinton. In his case, we had actual living, breathing accusers like Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue, Dolly Kyle, and, of course, Monica Lewinski. Some claimed rape or assault. Others claimed actual affairs. But, in most cases, the press went after these women to discredit them and their stories while essentially giving Bill Clinton a pass.

Now, flash forward to this weekend's charge that Herman Cain sexually harassed two women. Without any real details or actual accusers, the media is acting like rabid dogs in going after Herman Cain. One writer actually referred to this situation as a "full-blown political crisis."

Yes, we do have a full-blown political crisis. It's a press corps that practices politically biased reporting.