Monday, April 30, 2012

The Democrats And Oil Speculators

It was just a matter to time before the Congressional Democrats would follow the President's lead on going after oil speculators.  Fresh with news that Federal investigators had just snared themselves a real case of  oil manipulation by an electronic trading firm, Optiver, Representative Chris Van Hollen and 42 other Democrat Congressmen wrote Attorney General Eric Holder a letter; urging him to use every means possible to "insure the proper functioning of our oil and gas markets."  Of course, that letter wasn't really necessary because, just last week, President Obama had announced, in a Rose Garden address, that he had committed the Justice Department to doing just that.  But, what the hell, Van Hollen and his buddies saw a political opportunity and they took it.

Now, to keep the politics going,  Van Hollen went on Neil Cavuto's Your World show to argue with Neil over how oil prices are being jacked up by speculation and manipulation of the markets.  Of course, Van Hollen immediately brought up the Optiver case as proof of this.  But, is Optiver any real proof of any  manipulation of the markets?  I don't think so.

First, the kind of charges that were brought against Optiver are extremely rare.  In terms of frequency, the feds charged that, in 2007, Optiver (one the world's largest oil and commodities trading companies) attempted to manipulate the market 19 times and were successful in at least 5 cases.  Wow, 19 times by a company that probably trades oil futures contracts thousands of times a year!  But here's another thing.  No guilt was ever proven and the court never found any real wrongdoing.  Optiver negotiated for and accepted a $15 million penalty; probably, to just get the feds off their backs and avoid any further attorney fees.  But, for a deceptive politician like Van Hollen (the former Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee), the penalty itself was enough proof that oil speculators are widely and illegally manipulating the oil and gas markets.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

My Take On The Romney Veep-Stakes

With Mitt Romney well on his way to the Republican nomination, the media and pundits have been busily trying to predict who his running mate will be.

At the top of everyone's list is Florida's U.S. Senator, Marco Rubio.  The thinking is that he could help Romney win Florida and help reel in some of the much needed Hispanic votes.  But, to me, Rubio is young with limited experience. What Romney needs more than the Hispanic votes, themselves, is to present a ticket that is stronger and more capable in all aspects than Obama-Biden.

The rest of the people on the so-called short list are almost all persons with domestic, budgetary, and state governance experience.  Basically, all or in part, somewhat weaker copies of Romney himself on an overall basis. But, the job of being President is not just limited to domestic responsibilities; and, an obvious weakness on Romney's part is the fact that he lacks foreign policy experience.  I think the strongest ticket that Romney could present to America is one that is solid in its ability to handle both domestic and foreign policy issues.

In my opinion, that pick would be George W. Bush's former Secretary of State, Condoleeza Rice. First of all, Rice was extremely popular while Secretary of State; always polling higher than every other top politician in Washington.  She's fairly current on world affairs; having only left her job in 2009 when Obama and Hillary Clinton took office. For that reason, she has personally interacted with most of the existing world leaders.  And, as an obvious bonus, she is both black and a woman; two other areas of known weakness for Romney.  As the former Provost at Stanford, she actually has some administrative experience.  As far as domestic policy and the economy is concerned, she is a Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the Hoover institute.  She is also a professor at Stanford's Graduate School of Business and a director of that university's Global Center for Business and the Economy.

Probably, her greatest weakness as a Republican is her position on abortion; saying in an interview that she is mildly pro-choice.   While she is definitely against late-term abortion and abortion without parental notification, she understands that abortion is the law of the land and she believes the conversation should be shifted away from trying to overturn Roe v. Wade and, instead, aimed at highlighting the psychological impact that a mother goes through when having an abortion. But, I know very well that some would refuse to vote for a ticket with her on it because such  a vote would compromise the religious stand on abortion.  How much of an impact that would be, I just don't know.

Anyway, that's my pick for VP.  And, one has to wonder that, if Romney did pick Condoleeza, would Obama then counter that by dumping Biden and choosing, instead, Hillary Clinton as his running mate.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Friday's GDP Report Proved Me Wrong. Or, Did It?

Thursday, I posted a blog entry which suggested that the GDP report might, for political reasons, come in better than expected; and, then, adjust downwards later in the year.  But, I was wrong.  The report was actually a lot worse than expected with growth at only 2.2%.  On the other hand, its possible that I just might have been right. There is a possibility that the true number was even worse the 2.2% and, for political reasons, the number was posted higher to soften the political impact. We'll have to wait and see.

The real question, now, is what the rest of this year's GDP growth will be like. Will 2012 follow the pattern of 2010 where the First Quarter was the best quarter for that year?  Or, will it be like 2011 where the First Quarter GDP number was the lowest in growth for the year?  Certainly, the Obama Administration is hoping for a repeat of 2011; because, if the GDP reporting follows 2010, Obama is sure to be a one-term President.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Hidden Agenda Of The Labor Department Ban On Children Doing Chores On Farms

Unless Congress is able to step in, It appears that Hilda Solis' Department of Labor will issue new child labor rules that will effectively ban all farm children from doing any daily chores on their parent's farms.  The Labor Department claims that the ban is needed because the children are being injured in the process of these chores and they are being abused by having to work long hours.

While I can't address the "long hours" issue, I can say that accident statistic for children on farms is about 7 per 1000 farms per year.  By contrast, 1 in every 5 high school athletes will suffer a painful injury in all their years of sports participation.  So, the "accident" claim seems to be a canard.  And, if one claim is a canard, the other on "long hours" just may also be falsified.

For as long as there have been farms in America, parents have their children working on them.  It helps farmers lower operating costs and it teaches the children many valuable life and work ethic lessons.  Generally, it prepares children so they can eventually run the farm themselves.  Now, all of a sudden, the Obama Administration has decided to break that long tradition.

But, why now?  To me, the "real agenda" here is all about forcing farmers to hire more workers.  Hilda Solis knows that the work will have to be done by paid workers if the children are no longer involved. This means more jobs for both nationals as well as illegals.  However, it also means that the farmer's costs will go up.  Of course, with higher costs you get higher food prices.  For the working poor, that means even more food stamps. Lastly, it also means that some number of farms will go bankrupt because the higher costs will make them less able to operate profitably.

Update:  Apparently the political heat got too hot for Obama and the idiots at his Labor Department and the new rules on farm children have been dropped.  But, mark my words.  The rules haven't been actually dropped.  They've just been shelved.  I guarantee you that, if Obama is reelected and he no longer has anything to lose, those child labor rules will be reissued.

Romney! Run, Duck, Hide! Jimmy Carter Just Endorsed You!

I told you this would be one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns ever and proof of that came just this week when Jimmy Carter proclaimed that he's "comfortable" with a Mitt Romney presidency.  My God, I think Carter just put some kind of hex on Romney.  Please!  Would someone get Mitt an amethyst to ward off this evil spell!

A Jimmy Carter endorsement of a Republican?  How diabolical! Now people are going to start mentally associating Mitt with one of the worst President's in U.S. history.  A person that referred to his recent meeting with Fidel Castro as a "meeting of old friends."  A useful idiot who certified Hugo Chavez's election as El Presidente when, in fact, all other election monitoring groups said there was obvious fraud.  Basically, a person who never met a left-wing dictator he didn't like. This, then, begs the question: Is Carter so old, demented, and confused that he possibly thinks that Mitt Romney is some kind of left-wing dictator?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Will We Get An Unadulterated GDP Report Tomorrow?

Tomorrow, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) will, for the first time this year, report on the nation's economic health for the first three months of 2012 in what is called the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report. The consensus is that it will show the economy slowing from 3% growth in the Fourth Quarter of last year to just 2.5% in this latest quarter.  At the same time, the BLS will report, for the fourth and last time, their take on the GDP growth for last quarter of 2011.

Now, anyone who has consistently read this blog knows that I'm skeptical of any "first time" report of economic numbers coming out of the Obama Administration.  I say this because week after week in reporting the jobless claims and month after month in reporting the GDP growth, there's been a consistent habit of reporting better than expected numbers that are ultimately revised to actually show worse than expected performance.  For that reason, I'm betting that this first pass on First Quarter GDP will exceed the consensus estimate; maybe even coming in at 3%.   But, then, over the next 3 months, expect that number to be revised downward until finally it is worse than the current consensus estimate of 2.5%.  That's also why I wouldn't be surprised to see the last quarter of 2011 revised well down from the previously reported 3%.

Of course, I could be all wet in my skepticism.  We'll just have to see.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Arizona And The Feds Spar Over Immigration

This week, the Supreme Court will begin its constitutional review of the new Arizona law mandating that during traffic stops, police check the immigration status for anyone suspected of being here illegally.  In doing so, anyone found to be illegal would be arrested. The Obama Justice Department argues that the Arizona law is unconstitutional because only the Federal government can enforce immigration laws.

First let me say that this is an obvious electioneering attempt by the Obama administration to secure the Hispanic vote in the Fall. And more importantly, I believe Arizona to be well within its rights to arrest illegals.  It is certainly no different than when a police officer conducts a background check for federal wants and warrants during traffic stops.  Certainly, in those cases, the Department of Justice absolutely "expects" the officer to make an arrest for a federal crime.  If so, then why shouldn't a police officer do the same for the federal crime of illegally entering and living in this country?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's Only Puppy Love

In poll after poll, when asked about Obama's handling of specific issues, the respondents typically give this President very low marks.  For, example, only about 25% believe he's doing a good job on the economy.  Generally only about 25% believe he's taking the country in the right direction.  A little more than a third approve of his handling of Iran.  And, only 40% agree with the passage of Obama's signature legislation: ObamaCare.  Yet, when asked that bottom line question on overall job approval, nearly 50% approve of him.

This makes absolutely no sense.  It's irrational to believe that so many dislike what this President is doing on so many fronts and, then, still conclude that they approve of the job he's doing.  Its as if they aren't listening to what they, themselves, are saying. My only explanation for this kind of behavior is that we have a bunch of supposed adults in this country who are all caught up in a bad case of puppy love; silly as it that may seem.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Obama: Fundamentally Changing America

I would also add:

       If I wanted America to fail, I would:
  • Cancel manned space flight, allowing other countries like China to take the lead. 
  • Take over and ruin one of the best health care systems in the world. 
  • And, most importantly, create so much crushing debt that capitalism can't survive and the country, in the process, is fundamentally forced to move towards pure socialism.
The video was produced by and was actually aimed at environmental extremism.  But, I felt it speaks volumes about Obama's 2008 campaign promise to fundamentally change America.

The Montana Governor's Scurrilous Polygamy Attack On Romney

On Friday, Montana's Governor, Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, decided to link Mitt Romney to polygamy by noting that, when Mitt was born, his parents resided in a polygamist, Mormon commune in Mexico.  Obviously, this was a very intentional, but deceptive attack; knowing full well that neither Romney nor his father were polygamists.  But, Schweitzer also knows that, by simply floating that information out there for the media to disperse, many people will just read the headlines and truly believe Romney to be a polygamist.

Some believe that this Schweitzer attack was actually orchestrated by the White House because Schweitzer won't be seen as having any direct ties to the Obama reelection campaign; thus keeping Obama "clean" in the process.  And, I certainly wouldn't put it past a guy like David Axelrod to pull something like that.  This kind of thing just reinforces the belief that the 2012 presidential election will probably be one of the dirtiest in the history of American politics; with Obama and his surrogates floating half-truths and outright lies to destroy Romney.

Though, sometimes, when the dirt is being thrown around in a political contest, the contestant who was supposed to benefit from the throwing actually gets a lot of mud on themselves as well.  This is true in this case.  What the idiot Schweitzer doesn't seem to know is that Obama's own roots have polygamy as close to him as his own father.  You see, polygamy was widely practiced in Kenya; the birthplace of Obama senior.  The President's great grandfather had five wives.  His grandfather had an estimated 4 wives. Estimated because there are no true records as to how many wives he actually had.  Then, too, Obama's own father married Obama's mother while having never been divorced from his prior Kenyan wife.

Unfortunately, these truths about The President's polygamist past didn't get the same amount of press that the Schweitzer statement did.  Sadly, once again, the media has come to the reelection aid of Obama.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Mitt Romney's Gender Gap Problem?

In 1980, Ronald Reagan won handily over Jimmy Carter by 10 percentage points; 51% to 41%.  This was despite the fact that exit polling showed that women, by a spread of 7 percentage points,  overwhelmingly voted for the loser in that contest. So, decidedly, it was a lopsided men's vote that did Carter in.

Right now, pundits and media are making a lot out of the fact that Mitt Romney is lagging behind Barack Obama when it comes to the women's vote; as if this so-called "Gender Gap" never existed before. The reality is that every Republican candidate for president has had to face the same lack of women voters.  That's because, over the years, Democrats have been successful in catering to women's needs and fears by providing one new social or safety net program after another. This election year is no different with Obama targeting the women's vote with "free" contraception. Yet, in modern times, Republicans have managed to win this nation's top job fifty percent of the time. And, in each case where a Republican won, it was the men  who became the deciding factor.

One thing we know from the Carter/Reagan match-up is that men break late for one candidate or the other. In 1980, right up to the election, most polls had Carter in the lead.  Yet, when was all said and done, Carter lost by a landslide.  That may be because men, with their alpha dog mentality, saw Carter as being the weaker of the two candidates.

I personally think that this year's election will be a repeat of the Carter loss; with men breaking decidedly for Romney on the day of the election.  And, like the 1980 election, the women's vote will be less important than how men view the electoral match-up. Obama is "a" weak, not-able-to-get-things-done leader; just like Carter. The classic male mentality rejects such weakness.  Men don't want hear constant excuses and blame for things not getting done; and, that's all Obama does.  Whereas, Romney has a proven track record of accomplishment.  To me, all this talk of the gender gap is an attempt by Obama-loyalists to psych Americans into believing the Romney can't win because he doesn't have the women's vote.  But, we know from history that's just not true. That's why I think that, barring any major misstep by Romney, Obama is likely to follow in Carter's footsteps as a one-term president.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Social Darwinism: Are The Poor Really Getting Poorer?

Last week, Obama referred to Republican Paul Ryan's budget proposal as a form of Social Darwinism. At the same time he took aim at Romney and his wealth for supporting that Ryan proposal.

Expect to hear a lot about Social Darwinism in this year's Obama reelection campaign.  It is a continuation of his class warfare attack on the 1% who are considered "rich".   To a liberal, Social Darwinism is code for conservative (Republican) activism to stop wealth redistribution so that the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.  It's a political/social take-off on Darwin's theory that the strongest will survive and the weakest will be allowed to die; where the strong are the rich and the weak are the poor. In support of this, liberals often, superficially, point to statistics that have shown that, over the years, the rich have garnered a bigger piece of this nations wealth; when, at the same time, the poor have lost ground. But statistics can be, a lot of times, deceptive lies.  And, the lie in the poor-are-getting-poorer argument is the fact that most of this nation's poor don't stay poor.  Most all move up in class over time as is deftly explained in this video:

But, the Democrat's poor-are-getting-poorer argument is even sillier when you consider which political party has been primarily in control of Congress over the years.  Since FDR's time in office, the Democrats have dominated Congress.  When coupled with a Democrat President (FDR, LBJ, Carter, Clinton and Obama), they have managed to pass one major social and wealth redistribution program after another. Yet, despite all these programs and a near complete control of Congress over the years,  the Democrats continue to argue that the poor have only gotten poorer.  In a way, stupidly implying that their social programs have done nothing to improve the lives of the poor.

But, even the Republicans have gotten into the wealth distribution game.  Take, for example, the Bush tax cuts.  When implemented, 10 million additional lower income American's were relieved of the burden of having to pay any taxes. Then, too, people in the lowest tax bracket saw their taxes reduced by 33% from 15% to 10%.  While, at the same time, the nation's rich only got a 3.5 percentage point break in their tax burden.  However still today, the Democrats have successfully managed to label the Bush tax cuts as tax cuts for the rich.

The bottom line is that, contrary to word being put out by the Democrats, this nation's poor are better off than the poor of even 10 years ago.  Admittedly, some of this might actually be due to the Democrat's social engineering programs.  But, a lot has to do with the strength and power of the U.S. economy to create wealth at all ends of the economic spectrum.  And, when Democrats do everything possible to stymie economic growth, they actually do more harm to the poor than good; offsetting much of the benefits that the poor may have received from their so-called social programs.  Then, too, social safety nets have a tendency to lock some dependent poor into a lifetime of being poor.  This was certainly the case with Welfare until it was reformed by a joint collaboration between Newt Gingrich and Bill Clinton.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Keynesian Economics: Planting Apple Trees and Expecting Oranges

In the past, I have always argued that it was the devaluation of the dollar that kept Keynesian fiscal stimulation from truly pulling any economy out of a recession.  I still believe that to be true because massive spending and the resulting weak dollar adversely affect consumer spending.  Then, just last week, I had an epiphany (of sorts) that better explains why Keynesian fiscal stimulation, like the Obama Stimulus Plan, is ineffectual.  It all has to do with apples-and-oranges spending. So, let me explain.

Keynes, like almost every other economist, believed that an economy is driven by two sources of demand (aka spending):  (1) the Private Sector (made up of consumer and business spending) and (2) the Public Sector (made up of spending by federal, state, and local governments).  Further, he correctly believed that recessions are typically caused by a slowdown in private sector spending.  But, where he gets it wrong is in his belief that the federal government should increase spending through work-projects to compensate for the loss of private sector demand. However, the spending for federally-sponsored work projects is nothing like the loss of either consumer or business spending.  Federal projects involve buying massive amounts of things like concrete, asphalt, sand, gravel, steel, etc. along with purchasing heavy equipment to build roads, bridges, airports, or whatever.  Consumers typically spend their money locally on things like entertainment, food, clothing, TV's, and so on.  Five guys, filling potholes, twenty miles away from a restaurant struggling to stay in business isn't going to save that restaurant and its employees from unemployment.  This is why Obama's stimulus hasn't "really" made a single dent in the number of unemployed.  Further, because most federal work programs are so material and equipment intensive, the amount of jobs being created is actually miniscule.  Therefore, no amount of federal projects can truly offset the loss of jobs in the private sector. And, when the project is over or when the stimulus funds dry up, the federally-supported workforce goes back to being unemployed.

In a nutshell, Keynesian fiscal stimulus fails to stimulate the specific sectors of the economy that need to be stimulated to pull the economy out of recession.  And, if the economy does improve while Keynesian stimulus is being applied, its only because the economy is correcting on its own.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Obama's Latest Ruse: Oil Riggers/Spectulators

Throughout his presidency, Obama has blamed one straw man after another in an attempt to deflect blame for his own shortcomings. Now, in what can only be called the biggest ruse of his presidency, he is trying to make you and I think that the only reason oil prices are high is because of oil price rigging and speculation.  Even for Obama, this is a new low.

In his Rose Garden campaign photo-op of yesterday, he called on Congress to pass new legislation that would strengthen the government's ability to prosecute them. But, think about this.  If oil rigging and fraudulent oil speculation is such a rampant problem, why is it that the President's own Securities and Exchange Commission, or his Department of Justice, or his Federal Trade Commission haven't prosecuted a single case of it in the last three years.  Why is it that his year-old Oil Speculation Task Force hasn't exposed such illegal activity. The reason is simple. There isn't any.

So, Obama is calling for stricter regulation, increased oversight, and higher fines for something that his own people have "never" proven to exist. All he's really trying to do is prove to the dumbest of voters that he's doing something to lower oil costs when, in fact, he is more responsible for high oil and gasoline prices than anyone else due to his excessive spending and his blocking of new oil exploration on federally-controlled lands and offshore locations.  But, more than that, Obama expects to use this as another one of his anti-Republican campaign messages.  Clearly, if his call for new regulation is ignored by Congress, he will, again, say that it's because the Republicans are putting the rich speculators and big oil companies ahead of what is really good for this nation.

By the Way. oil prices went up yesterday with oil traders obviously laughing off Obama's grandstanding on increased regulation.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Jesse Jackson: The Gun-Control Activist That Can't Shoot Straight

Apparently, Rev. Jesse Jackson wants to use Trayvon Martin's death as a means to repeal the "Stand Your Ground" and other related gun laws such as the "Castle Law", that exist in 24 states.  The hypocrisy here is that he using a single incident to try and overturn laws that have been created from the desperation over an increasing number of shooting deaths at the hands of home invaders and liquor and convenience store robbers.  All you have to do is Google "killed in a home invasion" to see what is actually driving state legislatures to consider such laws.  People are frightened.  By far, the incidents of home invasion killings far exceed the single Trayvon death.

Mr. Jackson would better serve the Black community by going back to the City of Chicago where there are no "Stand Your Ground" laws and where Black-on-Black shooting deaths are completely out of control. This. in a city that is supposed to have the strictest gun laws in the nation. In most cases, the people being killed don't even have a chance to stand their ground.  They are simply executed for, maybe, having an exclusive pair of shoes; or, sitting on their front porch; or simply sleeping in their own beds.

If Jackson wants to be a gun-control activist, he needs to work on changing the mentality among Black youths that guns are a necessary part of life. That killing of any kind, is a criminal, moral, and spiritual offense. Maybe if Jackson and other leaders would start condemning the amount of prevalent Black on Black crimes and stop focusing on obscure, questionable racial shootings, more Blacks would be saved from death and imprisonment in the process.

Lastly, in Chicago, the murder rate rose 60% in just the first 3 months of 2012 as compared to the same period last year.  Of the 120 murders in that period, 101 were shooting deaths, and the majority of those killed were Black. Yet, Jackson has spent the last month highlighting a single shooting in Florida that does not, in any way,  indicate a widespread problem.  Talk about taking aim at the wrong target!

The Really Horrible Employment Number That No One's Talking About

Last month's employment report revealed that a record 88 million people are no longer part of the workforce.  When Obama took office that number was around 80.5 million. In just three years, those not working has increased by nearly 10% or 7.5 million people.

This fact is a horrible reality.  It means that millions of graduating high school and college seniors never got a chance to the enter the workforce.  At the same time, it means that millions of former workers, who lost their jobs, just, frustratingly, gave up looking for work. And, let's not forget that these 7.5 million are over-and-above the official 1.1 million increase in the number of unemployed since Obama took office; moving from 11.6 million in January 2009 to last month's 12.7 million. This certainly flies in the face of Obama's claim that, some how, he has created 2.5 million jobs since taking office.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Jay Carney's Hilary Rosen Triple Play Deception

At Thursday's White House Daily Press Briefing, Jay Carney tried to downplay the fact that, according to White House visitor logs, Hilary Rosen's name appeared 35 times in the last three years.  Of course, those all too many appearances of the Rosen name implies that Rosen's slam of Ann Romney as a stay-at-home-mom might just have been politically orchestrated by the White House. So to lessen the impact of Hillary Rosen's frequent visits, Jay Carney stated that he personally knows three Hilary Rosen's as noted in this video:

From that exchange, the media seems to have concluded that there are 3 separate Hilary Rosen's that have visited the White House.  But, Carney never said that.  He only said he "knew" 3 Hilary Rosen's.  That statement, unto itself, seems quite unbelievable. According to, there are only 24 people in the entire United States with the name of Hilary Rosen; spelled with one L.  Additionally, PeopleFinder shows 16 people who spell Hillary with two L's.  But there are overlaps between the two lists so, effectively, there are probably only about 35 Hilary/Hillary Rosen's in the United States (maybe even less).  Either way, for Carney to know nearly 10% of all of them is almost a  mathematical impossibility.

But, even more unbelievable is the fact that there are only 3 Hillary/Hillary Rosen's who live in the Washington D.C. area; and, apparently Jay Carney knows 100% of them all.  Simply, amazing!

Whether or not you believe Jay Carney is up to you.  But, I, for one find it extremely difficult.  I personally think Mr. Carney should have those glasses of his checked.  He apparently isn't just seeing double.  He's seeing triple.

Friday, April 13, 2012

And So, The Jobless Claims Games Continue

Yesterday morning, the news media was shocked and dismayed to see that first-time claims for unemployment insurance rose to a 4-month high at 380,000.

Just three weeks ago the claims number was reported to be 348,000 -- a four-year low -- and the left-wing news media was doing victory laps for Obama.  The always left-wing LA Times wrote: "New claims for unemployment benefits fell again last week to 348,000, a new four-year low as the economic recovery continues to accelerate."  But, what most people don't seem to realize is that the very next week that 348,000 number was corrected upwards to 368,500.  Not exactly a four-year low anymore. And, certainly not an economy that the Times claimed was accelerating.

While it is obvious that we are much better off than last year when claims consistently remained above the 400,000 mark, this economy is not roaring back.  But, in an election year, expect the news media to nuance everything to help Obama out.  In fact, this morning's terrible claims number is being tamped down by opinion writers and reporters finding every possible excuse for it.  Some idiots even blamed the number on  the Easter holiday.  The silliness of that argument is that any holiday usually results in an abnormally lower claims number because the unemployment offices are typically closed for at least one day and people are out of town and unable to file. If anything, the 380,000 might be understated and subject to an upward revision next week.  Something that the Obama Labor Department has consistently done for the last three years.  That's why, almost every week, the news headlines will read something like: "Jobless Claims Fall Again."   But, in fact, the "Fall" is always due to a revision upwards of the prior week's number; a game that continually results in better headlines for the President.  In reality, the claims number is merely running in place.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Buffett Rule Is All Politics

This week's reelection campaign agenda for Barack Obama is to push the Buffett Rule.  In another we-versus-them, socialist offensive, Obama hopes to convince Americans that, by increasing  taxes on the rich, America will be a better place and, the 99% of us who aren't rich will all benefit.  In reality, Obama's pushing of the Buffett Rule is like someone digging around in the sofa for some loose change in a futile attempt to retire $10,000 in credit card debt.  In a report released days ago, the U.S. Treasury Department stated that the Buffett Rule will only increase tax revenues by $5 billion per year.  While that may sound like a lot of money, that $5 billion would only cover 4 days of interest payments on our federal debt.

The Buffett Rule is a sham. Barack Obama is using it to rev up his liberal, political base.  A base that hates the rich and who believes that the there can be no limit to the amount of taxes the they should pay.  That hate is founded in the irrational, socialist belief that the rich only got rich off the backs of the poor.  This is why Obama always frames the "Rule" in the context of "social justice" and "fairness".  At the same time, Obama is using it to avoid the real issues of spending and debt that are killing this country.

The reality is that the Buffett Rule won't make anyone, except liberals, feel more "fairly" or "justly" treated. It will hardly reduce the debt or deficits. In fact, Obama will probably use that increase in taxes as an excuse to spend  and waste even more money.  For sure, no one is going to see their taxes go down because of it.  That is especially true for Buffett's s well-paid secretary. This, the very person that Warren Buffett used as an excuse to create the tax plan that now bears his name.

Maybe the Buffett Rule should be that Warren Buffett coughs up the billion dollars in back taxes that he owes this country; something the rest of us could never get away with.  Or, that rich, environmentalist liberals who buy $41,000 Chevy Volts "shouldn't" get a $7500 tax break.  Or, that there should be consequences for a President and his Energy Secretary blowing away billions of taxpayer dollars on  green technology companies who were obviously doomed to fail; like Solyndra.  Obviously, there's a lot of unfairness and social injustice around that's being ignored by this President.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Americans ForThe Repeal Of ObamaCare Matches The Make-up of the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court is made up of 5 conservative and 4 liberal justices. On a percentage basis, that means that the court is 55% conservative. Coincidentally, the percentage of Americans who believe ObamaCare should be repealed is about 55% (Click here to see Rasmussen's tracking polls on the repeal of ObamaCare).

The President keeps trying to hammer home the fact that ObamaCare was passed into law by a "duly elected majority" in Congress. Sadly, his duly elected majority doesn't match up with the number of American voters who want it repealed. So, even if the Supreme Court strikes down the law on a narrow conservative basis, it will be doing so in line with the will of the people. Something that was ignored by the Democrats when they created ObamaCare.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Obama Didn't Fix The Economy. He Made It Worse.

Anyone who has watched the 17-minute, Tom Hanks narrated, Obama web documentary, The Road We've Traveled, saw a President being portrayed as the "hero" who put together an economic team that saved the economy from one of the worse recessions since the Great Depression. But, was the economy really saved by team Obama and their Keynesian-minded economic strategy of spending our way out of a recession? To that, I say no. In fact, I contend that all that Keynesian spending has actually retarded growth.

To prove this point, one needs only to look at the last three years of economic growth in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). But, first, lets look at the economy in the last quarter of 2008 through the end of 2009:

From the graph above, you can clearly see that economy hit rock bottom in the last quarter of 2008. After that, there was a steep recovery as noted by the trend line that I applied to this chart. Most economists would say that this kind of sharp recovery was to be expected because, historically speaking, the deeper the recession -- the faster the recovery (aka the Zarnowitz rule). Of course, Obama and his supporters would have you believe that this snap-back in the economy was all their doing. That might well be true if it weren't for the fact that the economy was improving on its own before any stimulus monies ever got out the door. In fact, only about 26 to 28% of the $787 billion dollars in stimulus funds were actually spent in 2009. There were delays because most of the so-called shovel-ready projects had to be re-bid to conform to Federal work rules. More importantly, the Stimulus Package was intentionally back-loaded by the Democrats with 60% of the spending to occur in 2010; an election year.

Certainly, the last quarter of 2009 was economically beautiful with an outstanding 5.7% annualize economic growth rate. In fact, that quarter was so good that many Keynesian-minded economists were projecting that 2010 would grow by 6% or more as even more stimulus monies would be applied. All over the place, in early 2010, economists thought they were seeing "green shoots" and Joe Biden boldly proclaimed "a summer of recovery" in June of 2010. But, the "shoots" turned brown and the summer didn't recover very much at all. Instead, the economy slowed down to a meager 3% growth for the year; proving that all that extra stimulus did very little to contribute to an economic rebound. As a result of the disappointing numbers, Obama started to use the excuse that the "recession was deeper than we had thought"; even going so far as to blame the Bush economic team for hiding data about how extreme it was. Then, too, Keynesian economists like Paul Krugman of the New York Times began blaming the slowing economic recovery on the fact that stimulus spending was too little. In their minds, the stimulus should have been well over a trillion dollars; maybe even two $trillion.

Then, after that dismal growth rate in 2010, the once-enthusiastic Keynesian economists took a more somber position on 2011's GDP growth. For 2011, the consensus estimate for growth was 3.1%. Once again, the economists got it all wrong and 2011 only grew by 1.7%. For the second year in a row, the economy's growth rate declined. In fact, one could say that the 1.7% growth in 2011 wasn't really growth at all because you need at least 2.5% growth to start making any real dent in the unemployment rate.

So, that brings us to this year. Economists are now saying that the economy should only grow by 2.1% to 2.2%. But, if the history of prediction over the last three years repeats itself, I'm betting that we will again see another decline in the growth rate. That's why I think we will only see growth of about 1% this year or worse. There are a lot of roadblocks out there for any real growth. Gasoline, food and other energy prices are hurting the consumer and consumer spending is likely to retreat. The housing market is still stagnant and foreclosures are still too high. One of our many trading partners, the European Union, has moved into recession. Most importantly, spending by the Obama Administration continues unabated.

In conclusion, I think the economy was recovering on its own in 2009; just as the Zarnowitz rule predicted. But, spending and debt accumulation has its consequences. The dollar is devalued in the process and, subsequently, the consumer is pinched by higher and higher food, energy and import prices. And, that's where John Maynard Keynes got it wrong.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Update: Will High Oil Prices Drive Hybrid and Electric Car Sales?

In my blog entry of Tuesday, titled Will High Oil Prices Drive Hybrid and Electric Car Sales? , I wrote this: "Most people would rather buy a less expensive, but fairly fuel efficient, non-hybrid. In fact, when costs are compared over any period of time, hybrids always lose to highly fuel efficient conventional vehicles. Obviously, the people buying hybrids aren't very good at math."

Well, its not often that the New York Times is in concert with this blog. But, on the topic of cost effectiveness of hybrids and electrics, we're in sync. A day after I published the aforementioned entry, the Times published a news article titled: Payoff for Efficient Cars Takes Years. In that commentary, the author noted that it would literally take 27 years for a Chevy Volt purchaser to breakeven on fuel savings versus the cost of buying and operating Chevy's gasoline powered cousin of the Volt: the Chevy Cruze. As part of that same article, the Times published this chart showing the breakeven points of many hybrids and electrics as compared to their cheaper gasoline powered siblings.

Like most everything green, the cost benefits are totally out the window.

More on Obama v. Supreme Court

Monday, Obama implied that any Supreme Court decision other than finding ObamaCare wholly constitutional would either be some form of "judicial activism" or would somehow result from a "lack of judicial restraint". At the same time, he referred to the Supreme Court as a "an unelected group of people" as if they were some rogue group who "would somehow overturn a duly constituted and passed law". (Click here to See Story: Obama: 'Unelected' Justices Shouldn't Kill ObamaCare)

Apparently, Obama, the Constitutional Law Professor, is unaware of the words that can be found in Article III, section 2, of our Constitution: "The judicial power shall extend to all cases, in law and equity, arising under this Constitution." I would also remind the President that there are many unelected functions within the Federal Government that are imposing rules on all of us today without any real congressional approval. Everyone of Obama's cabinet members and Czars are unelected. But, just like his cabinet, the Supreme Court Justices are elected by proxy. When there's an opening on the high court, a duly elected President nominates a Justice and, then, a duly elected Senate finally approves the appointment.

The bottom line is that the framers of the Constitution knew that the country needed an independent high court to keep any President, his people, and the Congress from acting outside the limits of our Constitution. Something that ObamaCare just might be guilty of. It's what is commonly referred to as the separation of power. Without that separation acting as a counterbalance, a majority-ruling political party and its President could easily do anything they wanted; completely outside the will of the people. And, let's not forget that ObamaCare was one of the reasons that the Democrats suffered such a crushing defeat in the 2010 elections. The majority of this country doesn't want it. Now its time for the Supreme Court to decide if what the Democrats did in early 2010 was even constitutional.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Impeach The Supreme Court Justices?

A writer for the Daily Beast, David R. Bow, seems to think that any Supreme Court Justice who votes to strike down ObamaCare should be impeached. Well, to Mr. Bow, I say the only person who should be impeached is President Barack Obama. He took an oath of office to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Yet, this week he violated that oath. He undermined and defiled the Constitution by questioning the authority of the Supreme Court to rule against ObamaCare. He publicly disparaged the members of the high court in an attempt to undermine their authority and integrity. And, he attempted to intimidate a co-equal branch of government.

Under his oath of office, the clear operative is to "preserve the Constitution". Not to reinterpret it. Not to Change it. And, certainly, not to ignore it. But, his words this week implied all of these things.

If you're so inclined, you can read Mr. Bow's commentary at this link:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Gingrich and Santorum Are Delusional

As Rick Santorum so aptly indicated in his non-concession concession speech last night, we are at half-time in the Republican nomination process. With 3 decisive wins yesterday, its quite apparent that Mitt Romney -- barring any Howard Dean-like meltdown -- will be the Republican nominee for President. At this juncture, Romney has, on average, captured nearly 60% of the delegates that had been up for grabs. He now only needs to capture 40% of the remaining delegates to win the nomination; and, its obvious that he is gaining momentum. Yet, Santorum and Newt Gingrich refuse to drop out.

To me, Gingrich is the most delusional of the two. He seems to think that, somehow, he and Santorum will garner enough delegates to deprive Romney of the 1144 needed to win. Then, he's got this egotistical idea that he will make one, single speech at the Republican Convention and the delegates will fawn all over him and switch there allegiances to give him the nomination. This from a guy who has been fighting with Ron Paul for last place in the primaries. Think about this. If, consistently, 85% or more of the Republicans won't even vote for him in the primary races then, why, in the world, would a majority of Americans vote for him in the general election?

Then, there's Santorum. He now thinks he's some kind of reincarnation of Ronald Reagan. In last night's speech he compared himself to Reagan by implying that, like Reagan, he will run the table in all the remaining primaries. But, Santorum is no Reagan; neither in notoriety, personality, temperament, cleverness, or experience. Santorum believes he should attack Romney to win the nomination. Reagan believed in the so-called 11th commandment and he didn't attack other Republicans running against him. He won the nomination by attacking Carter's policies. And, when attacked by other Republicans, he simply deflected their attacks by using facts and, often, humor. Santorum is being a destructive attack dog that may well hurt Romney in the general election; thus, reelecting Obama. He can certainly stay in the race but, he should tone-down his harsh rhetoric. Lastly, Santorum has only been able to capture 24% of the delegates as compared to Romney's 60% win rate. Like Gingrich, the math is surely against him.

Another Obama-funded Green Tech Company Bites The Dust

Yesterday, another Obama-funded solar company went bankrupt. This time it was Solar Trust and they managed to get a $2.1 billion loan guarantee from Obama's Department of Energy. Out of the eight that since failed in the last year after having been funded by taxpayer money, this one is even more laughable than the rest.

The first joke is its name: Solar Trust. Trust what? Trust that they stay in business. Trust that they won't waste taxpayer money. Trust that their technology is sound.

Then, the other joke is Solar Trust's original parent company, was a German company with the name of Solar Millennium. They went bankrupt last December. Wow! Millennium! They could barely stay in business for 13 years; much less a millennium.

Finally, there's the second parent company who took over "Trust" after "Millennium" died. They were another German company named: Solarhybrid. They too went bankrupt just last month; leaving Solar Trust to fend for itself. Of course, we now know that Solar Trust couldn't even survive a month on its own.

Obviously, there's a pattern here that is no joking matter. More than $3.5 billion dollars of taxpayer money has been thrown away on unsound green companies. Yet, neither Obama nor Energy Secretary Chu are being held responsible for this Madoff-equivalent irresponsibility.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Will High Oil Prices Drive Hybrid and Electric Car Sales?

Logic would say that, during periods when oil and gasoline prices are high, people would seek more fuel efficient vehicles. Obama certainly believes this. In fact, he has predicted that there will be a million electric cars on the road by 2015. Unfortunately, the current facts don't necessarily support this theory.

There are about 600 million automobiles worldwide. Of that, 4.5 million (or about 3/4 of one percent) are hybrids with a sprinkling of electrics. This is despite high and going higher gasoline prices over the last decade. In the U.S. hybrid sales are still only about 3 percent of total auto sales. In Europe, where gasoline prices are double that of the U.S., hybrids only eke out 6% of total auto sales.

The problem is one of price. Hybrids and electrics are just too expensive for the average person. Even, the used ones. The cheapest hybrid is about $23,000 or the equivalent of about half the income of the average American. Sure, you spread that price over a 3 or 5 year loan but, still, it's a hefty chunk of change. Most people would rather buy a less expensive, but fairly fuel efficient, non-hybrid. In fact, when costs are compared over any period of time, hybrids always lose to highly fuel efficient conventional vehicles. Obviously, the people buying hybrids aren't very good at math.

So, you see, higher oil prices aren't necessarily going to drive hybrid sales or fulfill Obama's dream that there will be a million electric cars on the road by 2015. Let's not forget that oil hit a high of $140 a barrel in 2008 and hybrid sales stayed at roughly 3% of auto market. And, that $140/barrel was far higher than today's $100+ a barrel. Yet, people don't seem to be "stocking up" on hybrids. Conventional gas-powered vehicles are here to stay. And, they will maintain a dominant position for decades to come.

Lastly, I actually wrote this blog entry over 3 weeks ago; leaving it as a draft to be published later. But, just to today, this report on hybrids was released: Despite Gas Prices, Hybrid Sales Stall

Obama Set To Kill The Coal Industry And West Virginia In The Process

Quietly last week, amidst all the coverage of the Supreme Court and its health care review, Obama's EPA issued new limits for CO2 production by coal-fired power plants. Under the new regulation, no new plant can be built unless it can limit its CO2 output to less than 1,000 pounds per megawatt of power produced. Of course, this is a completely impossible number to achieve. Even the cleanest of coal-fired power plants in operation today will generate 4 times that amount of CO2. So, effectively, there will never be another coal plant built in America. Something Obama and Democrats like Al Gore have wanted for years.

But, don't think that this will be the end to Obama's attack on coal power. It is expected that, after the election, his EPA will impose similar harsh standards on existing coal plants; forcing them to either shutdown or pay excessive daily fines. In doing so, 42% of our nation's power production will effectively have to be replaced. Electricity rates will skyrocket and all of America will suffer, with the poor and the fixed-income retirees being hurt the most. For some states, the anticipated EPA ruling will be particularly harsh. West Virginia is not only 97% dependent on coal for its electricity but, also, has 30,000 of its workers directly employed by the industry. Also, coal accounts for 60% of the business tax revenues in the state. To put it simply, the killing of the coal industry will literally bankrupt West Virginia. All this in the name of fighting the global warming bogeyman; and, all this without any Congressional say so or approval.

The West Virginia statistics come from this link:

Monday, April 2, 2012

42 Million Won't Have Health Insurance if ObamaCare Is Struck Down?

For years, Democrats have used a single, gross (total) Census Bureau statistic to try and justify their belief that our American health care system should be socialized with Medicare for all. That statistic -- the number of people in America (not just Americans) without health insurance -- was estimated to be 45.7 million people in 2007 and most experts in the field believe that number to be much higher due to the current high unemployment situation.

So, it was no surprise that, yesterday, on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, the ex Obama Green czar, Van Jones, claimed that 42 million Americans would be without health care if ObamaCare is struck down by the Supreme Court. Besides the fact that his stated 42 million Americans doesn't jive with Census Bureau data, that number is a flat distortion of the true facts.

First of all, "xx" million of people have never been without any health care in America. That's because the Reagan-signed, Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) of 1986 mandated that no one -- even those here illegally -- can ever be turned away from receiving medical care at a hospital emergency room; even if its just for a sniffle. So, to say that 42 million Americans will be without health care is a flat lie.

Beyond this, that Census Bureau number is a distortion unto itself. It is a gross calculation that completely ignores the various reasons as to why someone may or may not have health insurance. One such reason is wealth. The Kaiser Family Foundation found that 21% of the uninsured are financially well off enough to buy employer-based or private insurance but elected not to. Also, 21% of the uninsured are immigrants -- either here legally or illegally -- who wouldn't be eligible for insurance under ObamaCare anyway. Additionally, 26% of the insured are eligible for state or federally provided Medicaid but probably don't know it. The remaining thirty-two percent are likely to be young and either elected not to buy insurance based on their good health or they are in low-paying jobs that don't offer it. And, it is this group of 15 million or so that is "really" being targeted by ObamaCare. So, the bottom line is that the Democrats are trying to completely take over health care in America to benefit the roughly 15 million people or that 5% or less of our population who are primarily young truly unable to get insurance.

All of the above statistics can be found at at this link:

Why Eliminating Tax Breaks For Oil Companies Will Reduce Our Supplies And Raise Prices

As with any American corporation, it is profits that drive business expansion. For an oil company, expansion is the exploration and drilling for new oil; and, those two activities are very expensive propositions. For example, it costs around $500,000 a day to rent a deep-water drilling rig for use in the Gulf of Mexico. That rig will be in use for approximately 61 days before striking oil. Of course, this cost doesn't even include the materials and manpower that must be expensed in the process. Then, too, take Royal Dutch Shell oil company. They have already spent $4 billion dollars in drilling Arctic, off-shore test wells in Alaska without having found a single drop of the black gold.

Now, Mr. Obama wants to reduce oil company profits by removing any tax breaks and subsidies; claiming that they don't need those breaks because they are already reaping big profits. But, by taking the breaks away, profits will naturally be reduced and the oil companies will, in turn, have less funds for exploration and drilling. That just means less domestic production of oil and, consequently, a bigger cost to consumers. This from a President who claims that he's doesn't want high gasoline prices.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

ObamaCare and One-Sided Politics

Even though there won't be a decision on ObamaCare until June, liberals continue to fret over the fact that the Supreme Court will strike it down on the basis of a slim conservative majority. They seem affronted by the fact that a one-sided decision could kill this, their long-awaited conquest. What they seem to forget is that it was a one-sided Congress and a one-sided President that crafted this health care debacle. Maybe, it's fitting that a one-sided jury invalidates it.

Olbermann Not Current Anymore

Well, it was bound to happen. Keith Olbermann found himself being fired, again. This time from his latest attempt at left-wing political commentary and news at Al Gore's little-watched Current TV. Before that, the left-wing MSNBC told him not to the let the door hit him in the rear.

My guess is that no other network will ever hire him again after having been fired twice. I don't think there's a three-strike rule in broadcasting. Also, no one will probably hire him because he has this nasty little reputation for being such a pain in the backside to work with. Sadly, I'm going to miss Keith. As a conservative, I greatly appreciated his irrational, far-left rantings because they helped give liberalism such a bad name. Fortunately, for liberals, he had such a small audience that the damage was somewhat contained.