Saturday, January 31, 2015

If Romney Ran, This Is How Left Wing Media Was Going After Him

Note: This was written a day before Romney announced he was not running.  However, I am still publishing it because it exposes the political bias of one of the most leading newspapers in the country.

In the always Democrat-loving Washington post, there was a recent article: "How big is Mitt Romney’s California house? Here, compare it to yours".

The writer, Philip Bump, obviously knows that 99.99999% of his readers don't own an 11,000 square foot plus home; or, even one half that size.

So, what you do is enter the square footage of your home and then push a button that reads "OK. Humiliate me!".  (Note: I added the exclamation point because I feel its what the writer was thinking when he, or whoever helped him, designed the software)

After doing so, an image representing the size of your house is then superimposed on an image of the first and second floor plans and garage of Romney's California home.  Of course, after you see the results, your wealth envy is supposed to take over and you are supposed to become angry at this rich white guy.

Basically, the sole purpose of this exercise is to disqualify Romney from ever talking about income inequality because rich people simply aren't allowed to talk about ways to improve wealth disparity of others.  Even though Romney founded a company that created 5,400 good paying jobs which, in effect, reduces income equality.  My guess is that the only job the writer of this article ever really created was his own.

But, perhaps, the writer believes that only people below Romney's wealth level are qualified to talk about income inequality.  Thus, Romney with a net worth of $250 million is disqualified.  Yet, it is OK for the $195 million Democrat John Kerry to talk about it.  This, aside from the fact that his wife is a billionaire.  And, of course, Nancy Pelosi, with a net worth of a mere $35 million, can say all she wants as well.  Obama, too, at just $12.2 million -- the 21st richest of all Presidents -- is a shoe-in to talk about income disparity if the $200 million rule is applied.  Even though, under his watch, we have record numbers of poor; the rich got richer; and income inequality deepened.

Then, there's poor Hillary Clinton. With her and Bill's combined wealth at $55 million, she is wholly qualified to talk about how to elevate the poor in America.  Especially, if she runs for President. Now, isn't she?

This whole Washington Post article is nonsense.  People like Romney, only became super rich because they created companies that created jobs.  And, that kind of job creation is why the U.S. is one of the top five countries in the world; when measured by the five elements of the United Nation's Human Development Index: life expectancy, literacy, education, standards of living, and quality of life.

Personally, I would prefer to listen to a job-creator like Romney talk about how to reduce income inequality by stimulating the private sector than any Democrat who only believes that poverty can be erased through handing out taxpayer money.  If the latter was true, why, then, after 50 years of the Democrat's War on Poverty, do we still have such record high levels of it?

I think this article was written out of fear.  The fear that Romney might get nominated and elected President in 2016 and actually do something that Democrats can't seem to do: Create jobs and lift people out of poverty by not simply giving handouts.  A fact that would seriously wound the liberal opinion that only government spending keeps people out of poverty.  In fact, if the government does create a job, it is primarily because the top 10% of income earners pay 71% of all taxes.

Lastly, before I get the typical drivel comment from some Democrat that Romney's Bain & Company took over other companies and cut jobs, you need to know the facts.  Bain generally took over companies that were in or near financial trouble. Companies that probably would go bankrupt and, as such, result in an even greater loss of jobs.  Now, while 22% continued on to bankruptcy and in many cases were forced to close their doors, 70% became success stories and, as such, bankruptcy was averted and jobs were saved.  The final 8% continued to struggle and continue to remain in business for at least 8 years after Bain divested itself.


Philip Bump: Washington Post: How big is Mitt Romney’s California house? Here, compare it to yours:

Washington Post hires ultra-liberal former union bully: Bump:

Bain & Company:

Mitt Romney's Worth:

Kerry's spouse worth $1 billion / Amount is twice what was thought:

2011: The 50 Richest Members of Congress:

Nancy Pelosi defends income equality push:

Barack Obama Worth:

Obama is right to be worried about income inequality — it’s gotten a lot worse under his watch:

Fed: Under Obama, only the richest 10 percent saw incomes rise:

Clinton's Net Worth:

Human Development Index: List of Countries:

That's rich: Poverty level under Obama breaks 50-year record:

Middle Class Shrinks Further as More Fall Out Instead of Climbing Up:

Obama: If You've Got A Business, You Didn't Build That:

Hillary: 'Don't Let Anybody Tell You' That 'Businesses Create Jobs':;postID=434593128244509030

Democrat Senator and possible Democrat nominee for the Presidency Elizabeth Warren:

There is nobody in this country who got rich on their own. Nobody. You built a factory out there - good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate.

Top 10% Pay 71% of all taxes: 2014 Tax Day Chart: Who Pays the Most?:

Romney at Bain Capital: Big Gains, Some Busts - WSJ:

Friday, January 30, 2015

Obama's Delusional Stance On Higher Education

In the 2015 State of the Union address, President Obama said that "by the end of this decade, 2 in 3 job openings will require some higher education.  2 in 3!  Yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need".

So, as is always with this President, his solution is to throw money at the problem by providing free community college tuition.  However, despite what Obama says, we don't have a real funding problem for higher education; especially for the poorest among us.  There are enough federal and state grants, scholarships, and low interest student loans to send any "bright, striving" American kid to college.

The major problem is that there are too few bachelor and associate degreed jobs for the number of graduating students.   In the latest projection for those completing a 2-year or 4-year program in 2014, 31% will not find a job and will wind up living at home with Mom and Dad.  Of those who do find work, 45% of the 4-year degreed students and 57% of the 2-year degreed students will end up only finding jobs that don't require the degrees they hold.  Simply, trying to graduate more college students will only exacerbate these statistics unless, and until, more college level jobs are created.  Something that just isn't happening with Obama's over regulation of the economy.

There's another problem with higher education in this country, and why graduates can't find work that is equal to their educational level, and that is their chosen course of study.

All too often, students graduate with majors that give them little or no chance of finding related employment.  Very few businesses are interested in hiring someone with a Bachelor of Arts in Literature or Poetry, or some obscure and specialized antiquities' degree.

Beyond that, too many college students are being graduated without the necessary business skills of "critical thinking, analytical reasoning, document literacy, writing and communication".  A College Level Assessment test by the Rand Corporation found that 40% of those graduates being tested lacked those very critical skills.  Another study found that the average college student can only read at a 6th or 7th grade level.  As a result, those students get weeded out at job time by presenting a poorly or illogically written resume or by coming off as less well-educated in the interview process; leaving them to only find non-degreed work.

Additionally, because our students lack skills, 65,000 jobs a year go to legal immigrants with H-1B work visas that require a college degree.  Thousands more are taken by L-1 Transfer visas that allow foreign workers to fill U.S. jobs as long as they are transferring in from within the same company.

Essentially, Obama's "free" community college proposal makes a false promise that he is solving a problem when, in fact, the real problem lies with our broken pre-college educational system, plus the fact that he has failed miserably in creating quality high-paying jobs.


Obama: Community college should be ‘as free and universal in America as high school’:

 More Than Half 2014 College Grads Are In Jobs That Don't Require Degree:

Test Finds College Graduates Lack Skills for White-Collar Jobs: Forty Percent of Students Seen Ill-Prepared to Enter Work Force; Critical Thinking Key:

The average college freshman reads at 7th grade level:

Nearly three-quarters of hiring managers complain that millennials – even those with college degrees – aren’t prepared for the job market and lack an adequate “work ethic":

Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014:

Work Visas:

Recovery Has Created Far More Low-Wage Jobs Than Better-Paid Ones:

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Nor'Easter Blizzard Called Juno and Climate Change

Well, it didn't take but minutes after the Nor'Easter blizzard event named Juno hit New England on January 26-27 for the climate alarmists to come out of the woodwork and declare this to be proof of climate change.  In fact, one science writer for National Geographic couldn't wait for the aftermath.  He wrote his article the day before the storm hit. In support of his assessment, he produced this graphic:

In prefacing this, he wrote: "Such heavy storms have increased by more than 70 percent in the past six decades in the Northeast, according to the 2014 National Climate Assessment report."  So, after reading that, and then seeing this graphic, one immediately concludes that the change in precipitation rates took place in just the last 60 years. Also, understand that his chart is supposedly based on the intensity of the top one percent of storms each year.  Not to be confused with total rainfall amounts in each year.

But, you need to look at the fine print at the bottom of the graphic.  That 71% increase in New England is based on a comparison of the years 2001-2012 and the years 1901-1960.  By doing that, 40 years from 1961 to 2000 are omitted; and, I'm sure intentionally in order to accentuate and skew the report.   Also, the start period of 1901 is odd since weather records go back to the late 1800's in New England.  Is it possible that the years prior to 1901 were a lot wetter than even the period of 2001 to 2012?  And, why wasn't a decade by decade, 100+ year graph of rainfall intensities used to prove the writer's point?  Wouldn't that have been a more accurate and scientific presentation in support of his opinion?  But, of course, not if those missing 40 years would ruin your story! What we will never know is whether or not precipitation rates have been heavier in the decades and centuries prior to keeping accurate records.

It seems as if, climate change science statistics, always involve the appearance of  (and sometimes proven)  data manipulation in order to prove its existence.  Perhaps that is why one in four Americans don't believe that global warming is man made and another 36% are mixed (not sure) on the topic; while only 39% are certain and actually worried about it.

If that pro-climate change article at the prestigious National Geographic organization is based on manipulation, it is truly sad.  Also, if so, it would once again prove that climate change is more politics than science.


National Geographic:  Blizzard of Nor'Easters No Surprise, Thanks to Climate Change:

U.S. Agencies Accused of Fudging Data to Show Global Warming:

NASA Scientists Admit Only 38% Chance 2014 Was Hottest Year:

Climategate 2.0: New E-Mails Rock The Global Warming Debate:

2014: Another Year Without Global Warming: " global warming for 18 years 3 months since October 1996":

Quiet Atlantic hurricane season spares U.S. for ninth year running:

With Ice Growing at Both Poles, Global Warming Theories Implode:

Report: 95 Percent Of Global Warming Models Are Wrong:

Climate models wildly overestimated global warming:

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Domino's Pizza Says ObamaCare's Fast Food Calorie Display 'Unworkable'

Beginning next year, ObamaCare mandates that every fast food chain must clearly display the calorie counts for every item on their menus.  While compliance is possible for a hamburger joint with limited menu selection, it is extremely difficult for a pizza chain, like Domino's.  There literally offer 34 million possible pizza combinations. From different sizes, to different amounts of cheese and other ingredients.  But, if Domino's doesn't comply there could be substantial fines and up to a year in prison (I assume for each store manager in violation).

My problem with the calorie count rule is that we've been down this road before with no measurable success.  In 1990, the Democrats in Congress handed President George H.W. Bush a piece of legislation called the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act which he signed into law.  Under it,  manufacturers of any packaged food items would have to provide the kind of nutrition data that we see  today.  At the time, the obesity rate in this country was 20.5% of the adult population.  Today, despite calorie labeling from the1990 law, obesity has grown to be in excess of 36%.  A 76% increase in just 24 years.

For years, providing nutrition information has been a hefty expense for the food industry.  Because the  FDA requires accurate nutrition data on labels, companies, and now fast food restaurants, are forced to hire expert analysts to provide the nutritional breakdown of every item they sell. In addition, each fast food chain will spend millions to replace all existing menu boards to comply with this new 391-page regulation.  And, of course, we will pay for it all with higher prices.

Simply, I don't think this law will slow or reduce the obesity rates in this country one iota.  Just as the 1990 rule never did. People in the mood for a Big Mac or a cheese and sausage pizza are not usually in the mood to count calories. Once again we have another fool's errand by the Democrats; and I'm sure, Michele Obama.


Domino’s to Obama Admin: Calorie Rule is ‘Unworkable’:

Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990:

Calorie counts: Coming to a restaurant, movie theater, vending machine near you:

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Obama's Increased Capital Gains Tax on the Rich Will Hurt the Middle Class

In the State of the Union address, President Obama argued that the rich should pay higher taxes on their wealth so the middle class can be strengthened by increased tax breaks.  Of course, this is the classic populist, class-warfare, and wealth redistribution argument that Democrats have used forever.
It is based on the false promise that raising taxes on the rich will somehow reduce income inequality in America.  Quite frankly, this is an admission by the President that the middle class is hurting under his watch. Yet, despite all of the tax increases on the rich over the years, we have the greatest gap in income distribution in this country's history.

In the President's latest tax-the-rich scheme, he proposes raising the capital gains tax to 28% for those couples making $500,000 or more; arguing that this is the same tax rate we had under Ronald Reagan.  In doing so, he knows that the Republican-controlled Congress won't buy into it because they believe, like I do, that raising taxes on capital gains stifles innovation and the growth of businesses.  Also, the Reagan argument is a canard because 28% was the top tax rate for everything in Reagan's days of tax reform. Today, the top rate is 39.6%.  Also, that 28% is in addition to a 3.8% surcharge for ObamaCare that didn't exist when capital gains under Reagan were at 28%.  But, forget all those "lies" about taxes under Reagan.  In the mind of any Democrat like Obama, all they can see are a bunch of rich people making even more money by investing in stocks.  That, of course, is a very naive view of what happens when wealthy people invest in the market.

When you or I buy 100 shares of a stock, we will do very little to effect its price.  But, when a rich investor buys 5,000 or 10,000 or even more shares of a stock that you own, it's a big thing and, the  price will jump on a trade like that.  Further, it sends a signal throughout the investment community that your stock has some big investor(s) interested in it.  This, in turn, attracts more buyers and the price will climb on increasing buy-order volumes.  Simply, big investors help raise small investors up as well. So, every day, the 50% of the middle class that own stocks are being helped by wealthy investors.

So, why is a new 28% tax on capital gains so bad?  It means that big investors will have 28% less money available to reinvest and, thus, pull more small investors -- mostly in the middle class -- along with them.  Since taking office, Obama has already raised the top capital gains rate from 15% to 23.8% plus a 3.8% ObamaCare tax on investment.  Now, he wants 28% plus the 3.8%.   

Every time the Democrats attempt to tax the rich, they end up hurting the little guy in some fashion.  In 1990, the Democrats thought they had the perfect tax-the-rich scheme by creating a luxury tax on expensive cars, boats, jewelry, and furs. It backfired when consumers stopped buying as many items in these categories.  As a result, thousand of workers in those related industries lost their jobs.  Some businesses went belly up.  Ultimately, in just two years, the same Democrats who passed the luxury tax had to repeal it in order stop the bleeding of jobs and businesses.

Now, in another attempt to tax the rich and help the middle class, Obama may wind up hurting the very people he intends to help.


Obama’s proposal to raise the capital gains tax drives sharp wedge between parties:

Only half of all middle class Americans invested in stocks: Down from 66%:

IRS Announces 2014 Tax Brackets, Standard Deduction:

Paying Obamacare's 3.8% Investment Tax?:

Special Report: 25 Years After [Reagan] Tax Reform:

The Democrats Still Haven't Learned From Their 1990 Tax-The-Rich Fiasco:

The Obama tax proposals: Tailored cuts and hikes:

Monday, January 26, 2015

What Didn't Happen When 99 Weeks Of Unemployment Insurance Went Away

In his latest State of the Union address, President Obama touted his record on jobs and the economy in the last year.

This is sort of laughable when you think back to the beginning of last year when he and the Democrats were arguing to retroactively re-extend the 99 weeks of federal unemployment benefits that expired on December 28, 2013.  Something that those heartless Republicans in the House of Representatives allowed to happen.  As a result, 1.3 million out-of-work Americans with 400 thousand children saw their pay checks simply disappear in a GOP attempt to save $26 billion a year in federal spending.

In arguing the reinstatement of benefits, the President painted a picture of coming doom and gloom ahead.  The GOP ignored all those warnings and the benefits were never reinstated.

So, what dire predictions did the Democrats make and what really happened?

First, throwing 1.3 million people into the streets to fend for themselves was supposed to stall our fragile economic recovery.  Well, we know that didn't happen because, otherwise, the President wouldn't be patting himself on the back for how great the economy was is 2014.

Then there's the prediction that unemployment would go up without those benefits being extended.  Nancy Pelosi even went so far as to say paying people not to work actually creates jobs. OK?  In January 2014, the unemployment rate went down from 6.7% to 6.6% from the month prior when the benefits were cut for 1.3 million people.  Now, a year later, it sits at 5.6%.  Dropping the unemployment rate by a full percent is not quite the doom that was predicted.

Then, there was the argument that poverty would increase.  This is too early to answer because the Census Bureau data on U.S. poverty in 2014 won't be available for a few more months.  But, on this one, the Democrats may be somewhat correct.  It is highly possible that some number of those that lost unemployment benefits fell into poverty; or, at least until they found new jobs.  However, being in poverty isn't necessarily as bad as it sounds. This is because of all the so-called "safety nets" that are afforded those entering that status in this country.  In fact, most people in poverty have benefits that are greater than those earning a middle-class salary.  Besides getting a welfare check, they also get free healthcare (Medicaid); subsidized food through food stamps; child care, and housing assistance; and, the list goes on.

Simply, the Democrats love to give billions of dollars in federal money away to buy votes.  And, when anyone tries to cut a program because it is ineffectual and wasteful, they balk by predicting nothing but disaster.  This is much in the same way they balked when welfare reform was enacted under an agreement between President Clinton and a GOP Congress. The cutting of that program also caused many dire predictions that never materialized.

The bottom line is that there is so much waste in the federal budget that is simply sitting there so that the Democrats lay claim to your votes by giving all kinds free stuff from programs they sponsored.  Someday, the continuance of this kind of mindset will lead to complete economic destruction.  This in the same way that entitlement crazy countries such as Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are on the verge of bankruptcy today.


2015 State of the Union: Obama Touts Economic Gains, Vows to Protect Signature Laws:

Obama: Extend unemployment insurance – CNN:

Unemployment Benefits Are Ending for 1.3 Million Americans. What's That All About?:

Nancy Pelosi Claims Unemployment Insurance Creates Jobs. Is She Right?:

Labor Force Statistics by Year:

"Poverty" pays better than middle-class employment:

How the Dire Predictions for Welfare Reform Turned Out:

Not just Argentina: 11 countries near bankruptcy - USA Today:

PIIGS - Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain:

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Why the Silence on Sgt. Bergdahl Court Martial Investigation?

In early October, reported that the Bowe Bergdahl court martial investigation was complete.  The investigation was conducted to determine if Bergdahl was guilty of desertion and gave material support to the Taliban that could have resulted in directed attacks on U.S. military positions in Afghanistan.

Now, if you are not familiar with the Bergdahl story,  this soldier's release from being held by the Taliban was done in an exchange for 5 extremely high value detainees at Guantanamo Bay.  This in Obama's quest to empty the Guantanamo Bay detention facility so it could be closed, as he promised all the way back to his campaigning days in 2008.

It seems to me that if Bergdahl was innocent of desertion and collusion with the enemy, we would have heard it by now and he would have been free to either stay in the Army or be discharged.  However, the four months of silence since October seems to imply that he is guilty and, because of that, Obama has a problem on his hands.  If, in fact, Bergdahl is a traitor to his country, the President made a massive mistake by trading him for those Taliban commanders.  And, the public outcry will be massive.

I am assuming that he has been found guilty and, it will be interesting to see how Obama plans to keep that fact secret over his next two years in office.   Obviously, something's afoot because, not once, has this country's press/media been able to question Bergdahl about how he came to be captured by the Taliban and the rumors that he provided them with material assistance.

The only way Obama will be forced to disclose the Bergdahl investigative report is if the media starts pounding the desk for that report.  But, given the their liberal slant and constant protection of the President, don't count on it.


Report: Bergdahl investigation completed | TheHill:

Bowe Bergdahl was traded for 5 Taliban commanders:

Friday, January 23, 2015

No Wonder Ginsburg Fell Asleep During State of the Union Speech

Ah, yes.  President Obama's 2015 State of the Union address was a real yawner.  Especially, for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

It was also a yawner for most Americans.  Only about 9-1/2 percent, of this nation's population watched this year's Obama loves Obama show.   Not since Clinton gave his last State of the Union address -- 15 years ago -- have the ratings been so low.

Low ratings for this President's rose-colored State of the Union speech aren't anything new.  Last year's address was also the lowest rated since that same Clinton speech.  But, records are always meant to be broken and Obama just couldn't wait to break his last year's record.  That's because our supposedly genius leader spent the last few weeks previewing all of his proposals that would appear in the address.  Everything from free Community College tuition, family leave, tax hikes on the rich to give middle class workers and, you name it.  Of course, since everybody knew what he would say, why watch the show?  Duh!


Obama’s speech didn’t excite Ginsburg:

State of the Union television ratings drop to 15-year low:

Obama's 2014 State of the Union Hits Fourteen-Year Low in:

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Drone Strikes: American Snipers at 30,000 Feet

As they say "War is hell".  Everyone in the military is trained to kill; either directly or indirectly through some form of support action.  So, as a veteran, I was more than a little annoyed to hear that Michael Moore had tweeted that the American Sniper, Chris Kyle, was a coward because he shoots people in the back.

I personally spent years, training over and over again, to direct fighter pilots in intercepts that would ultimately take out an enemy aircraft.  While I was never in an actual combat role because, thank God, the Russians or other enemies never attacked us on our soil, I always knew that I would be responsible for the killing of an enemy pilot or flight crew if they had.  Simply, because I would get our pilots into position to take that "kill shot".  Of course, I did all this from the safe confines of a Long Range Radar Ops room.  So, would Michael Moore call me a coward because I might direct our pilots to come up on the back of an enemy fighter, and fire a heat-seeking missile into the engine exhaust of that plane?

Today, our pilots aren't even at as much risk as before with the advent of unmanned drones.   Drone pilots sit hundreds of miles away from their targets and take their "kill shots" from 30,000 feet.  Would Michael Moore then call these people "cowards" for their actions?  Is Obama a coward for ordering an ever increasing amount of drone strikes in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Yemen?

Chris Kyle and all of our American snipers risk their lives in every mission that they are ordered to undertake.  Unlike my job and those drone pilots, their job is to operate within enemy territory and get close enough to their target in order to take their "kill shot".  Then, after firing that fatal shot, their lives are in even more danger because their mission is somewhat exposed by the fact that they have just killed someone.  Unlike drones, which often have collateral civilian casualties and deaths, the sniper only tries to kill the exact target of his mission.  All the time, taking out enemies that would kill other U.S. soldiers, our allies, or other friendly civilians.  For this, a guy like Chris Kyle is a hero.


Michael Moore, Rob Lowe snipe over 'American Sniper':

Drones: Death from 30,000 feet above:

Chris Kyle:  

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

How the Middle Class Has Faired Under Obama

Currently, about 44% of Americans identify themselves as being in the middle class.  So, it's no wonder why annually. President Obama has pitched some kind of give-away to them in order to endear them to, and garner votes for, both him and his Democrat party.

Now, in the 2015 State of the Union Address, Obama repeated his commitment to helping the middle class.  Just as he has promised every year since before taking office.  In 2008, just a month before the election that gave him the presidency for the first time, he penned a "Rescue Plan" in which he promised, if elected, to give the middle class tax breaks and strengthen them with better jobs.  Then, after taking office in January 2009, he decided not to implement the "Rescue Plan" that he had promised just 3 months earlier.  This, despite the fact that he had majority control of both houses of Congress to pass any tax cuts that he wanted.  Instead, he created a Task Force to address the weakening middle class. Of course, and in typical fashion, the findings of the Task Force were pretty much ignored by Obama.  But, the promise of tax cuts did what it was supposed to.  Get him elected.

Clearly, without getting into all the details that are in the "References" below, the middle class has been a constant focus of this President.  And sadly, they may have voted for him on the basis of all his promises and rhetoric, and received nothing in return.  The best example of this is displayed in this graph on median family incomes since Obama took office in 2009:

Note: Office Gov't Data For 2014 Won't Be Available Until mid-2015

Simply, the American middle class is hurting because Obama has prevented the one thing that is more important to that class than all his targeted tax cuts:  Good paying jobs.  As long as American businesses are saddled with one new regulation after another,  good paying middle class jobs continue to be scarce.


2015:  Obama to pitch middle-class economic plan in annual address:

2014: Despite recovery, fewer Americans identify as middle class:

2008: Barack Obama: A Rescue Plan for the Middle-Class:

2009: Middle Class Task Force:

2009: Health Care Reform: Taxes May Hit Middle-Class - ABC News:

2010: Obama's plan to help the middle class: how it might affect you:

2011: Obama: "I'm A Warrior For The Middle Class":

2012: Obama’s Middle Class ‘Tax Cut’ Would Raise Taxes by $1.3 Trillion Over Eight Years:

2013: Obama Focuses on Economy, Vowing to Help Middle Class:

2014: Obama: Middle-class issues drive my agenda:

STUDY: Obama has worst record on keeping State of the Union promises:

Poll: Poll: 72 percent of small businesses say regulations are hurting them:

Former Obama administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Cass Sunstein: Yes, Regulation Can Kill Jobs:

Obama Imposed 75,000 Pages of New Regulations in 2014:

Obama administration imposed $181 billion in regulations in 2014:

December 2014: Report: 21000 regulations so far under Obama:

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Obama's Latest Drag On American Businesses: Paid Family Leave & Sick Pay

Awhile ago, two researchers at the Brookings Institute released this very disturbing graph:

What this shows is that, for the very first time in more than thirty years, America's businesses had more defaults/closures (exits) than those being started up (entry).  Despite the recession being over in mid-2009, the adverse exit versus start up trend has not abated; and, obviously, this is one of the reasons that our job market is so soft.  While the recession can be easily blamed for the crossover in the first place, the fact that we haven't gotten back on track with higher business creations has a lot more to do with regulations under this President and the Democrats.  Regulations that have presented high hurdles for many small businesses to even get off the ground, and regulations that have also accelerated business closures.

Now, Obama wants to beat down U.S. businesses even further by pushing 6 weeks of paid family leave for both of the parents who have just had a baby or adopted a child. Additionally, he wants all employees to have 7 full days of paid sick leave.  But, just like a lot of what Obama and the Democrats have done over the last 6 years, the cost to American businesses, and ultimately you and I, will be phenomenal.

In the case of paid family leave, there are approximately 4 million babies born each year in this country.  Since half the women giving birth are unwed, this law could, worst case, give roughly 6 million parents of newborns a full six weeks of leave.  In addition, there are about 1-1/2 million adoptions each year; meaning that an additional 3 million more parents would benefit from Obama's proposed law.  But, because there are teen births and some births are to freelance workers and workers who already get paid leave, let's assume that only 6 million parents would impact businesses.   

According to the Census Bureau, the average per capita income in the U.S. is $28,155/year or $542/week.  A six week leave would then cost the average business roughly $3,250 for each person taking leave.  There's more.  Most business cannot simply cover a missing staff member for six weeks.  If they could, then they obviously don't need that person.  So, you have to double the $3,250 to take into account that a temporary worker would have to be hired to cover for the on-leave worker.  This means that each of 6 million workers on family leave would cost a business $6,500.  In total, that is a sum of $39 billion annually that businesses would have to absorb and pass on to you and I in higher costs. In the case of marginally profitable businesses, this additional expense could push them into bankruptcy.

Then, there's the paid sick leave proposal.  According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, more than 40% of the 156 million workers in this country aren't afforded paid sick leave.  That means that at least 62 million employees would benefit from a law that mandated 7 paid sick days.  Now, having been a manager at a company who had a 7-days paid sick leave policy, I personally know a lot about this topic.  Monthly, I would receive a report reflecting how much year-to-date sick leave took place in my own department and as compared to the company as a whole.  Statistically, about 74% of employees took exactly 7 sick days a year; mostly just one day at a time and mostly on Fridays with Mondays being the second heaviest days.  Because of the Friday phenomenon, the company instituted casual and half-day Fridays and the number of reported Friday call-ins due to sickness plummeted.  So, what I am saying is that paid sick days are mostly another form of paid vacation. The abuse of which probably would best be curtailed if left unpaid.

So, here's what universal paid sick pay will cost companies.  Using the Census data on income info above, 62 million workers getting paid for 7-days sick time, will cost businesses a total of  $47 billion dollars each year.  All of which will be passed on to us.

Combined, Obama's family leave and sick pay proposed regulation will cost businesses an estimated $86 billion per year.  This, in turn, will exacerbate the decline in business creation and the rise in business closures.  A fact that is already clearly noted and obvious to anyone who drives around and sees many former storefronts and office buildings still empty from the days of the recession. 


Brookings Institute: Declining Business Dynamism in the United States:

Dodd Frank Banking Regulations:  Community banks, the lifeblood for small business growth, are disproportionately affected, impacting their lending ability and consequently their ability to infuse growth into the broader economy:

Government report finds regulations have spiked under Obama:

Obama Plans to Push Paid Family and Sick Leave for Workers:

CDC Fast Facts: Births and Natality:

Almost half of first babies in U.S. born to unwed mothers:

Facts about adoption:

Census Bureau QuickFacts Of the United States:

More than 40% of private sector workers in the U.S. currently don’t get paid sick days, according to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research:

Monday, January 19, 2015

The State of the Union Address and 2014 'Hottest Year' Reports

Its a miracle!  A miracle that two separate agencies of the federal government could work independently on two separate reports and manage to release both on the very same day.  But, it happened.  Both NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency (NOAA) simultaneously released reports that proved that 2014 was the hottest year on earth on record.  Or, at least, the hottest in the last 130 years of record keeping.

The New York Times celebrated the event with this headline: "2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics."

Wow! This must be really something!  Well, it would be until you find out that this new hottest record was broken by only one one-hundredths of a degree.  The supposed previous record was 58.45 degrees.  The new record literally clobbered the old with a temperature of 58.46 degrees.  Of course, for political reasons, the liberal and pro-climate change initiatives, the New York Times wouldn't tell us that.  Instead, they simply reported that the record was broken.

But, there's a problem with data used in creating these reports.  Both reports are based on thousands of surface thermometer readings from all over the world.  Some are maintained and properly calibrated; and, some not. Sometimes they break and the replacement may read hotter than the old one. Many depend on a hopefully diligent human to accurately and manually record the data; every hour on the hour.  Then, that data must be again manually entered into a centralized computer database which is always subject to fat-fingered data entry errors. As the noted climatologist  Dr. Roy Spencer said in putting down the accuracy of the two reports:
'The thermometer network is made up of a patchwork of non-research quality instruments that were never made to monitor long-term temperature changes to tenths or hundredths of a degree, and the huge data voids around the world are either ignored or in-filled with fictitious data.'

These two reports also contradict the RSS or Remote Sensing System's satellite data which is certainly more accurate and which collects data automatically from places that no thermometer even exists.  Like the mountain tops, the seas, and the polar ice caps. According to Dr. Spencer, through the end of October, that data had 2014 ranked as the 7th warmest year since satellite monitoring had been initiated.  And, it is highly unlikely that the 7th warmest year standing would be upset with just 2 months more of data remaining outstanding.

It is also interesting that these two reports were released on a Friday; just 4 days ahead of Obama's State of the Union Address.  That gave it all weekend to be discussed on all the cable news stations and, on each of the Sunday news shows.  Then, the "hottest ever" is sure to be incorporated into Obama's address to the nation on Tuesday in support of his radical climate agenda.

Isn't it convenient that both NASA and NOAA report to Obama?

Update: After writing this blog entry, the UK Daily Mail reported that NASA only thinks that they are 38% right on 2014 being the hottest year.  In other words, their report might be 62% wrong.  A fact that NASA conveniently forgot to mention in their "hottest" press release.  Also a fact that the liberal media seems to be ignoring ahead of the President's State of the Union speech.


NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record:

2014 Breaks Heat Record, Challenging Global Warming Skeptics:

Climatologist Dr. Roy Spencer: ‘Why 2014 Won’t Be the Warmest Year on Record’:

Dr. Roy Spencer Bio:

No Record Temperatures According To Satellites:

Scientists balk at ‘hottest year’ claims: Ignores Satellites showing 18 Year ‘Pause’ – ‘We are arguing over the significance of hundredths of a degree’ – The ‘Pause’:

Nasa climate scientists: We said 2014 was the warmest year on record... but we're only 38% sure we were right:

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Mr. Obama, We Don't Need FCC Regulation of the Internet

Those of us who are old enough to remember, know that it was the FCC regulation of long distance and international calling that led to the creation of a massive unionized and bloated monopoly called AT&T which stifled innovation and forced all of us to pay excessively high rates to make calls.  Billing rates during the business day in the 1970's, started at (if I remember correctly) 45 or 50 cents a minute with a 3-minute minimum charge.  Longer distance domestic calls were close to a dollar.  International calls were billed in dollars per minute.  I believe a call to Canada or Mexico cost something around $2 per minute with another 3-minute minimum. Calls to Europe started at $3/minute.  As long as AT&T had no competition and could ask for rate increases every few months and, get them approved by the FCC, there was no need to streamline their long distance and international calling business to lower the costs.

When AT&T was broken up and other long distance carriers like MCI and Sprint were allowed to freely compete without price regulation, the prices for phone calls dramatically dropped.  Today, you can make unlimited calls on many cellphones at what it would cost in 1970 to make just one 10-minute call.  That's because it would take nearly $6 in today's dollars to buy what $1 did in 1970.

Now, the President wants to regulate the Internet like a phone service.  We don't need to go backwards again in stifling competition through the regulation of an Internet that doesn't need regulation.  Every year,  providers are developing faster and faster upload/download speeds and, there is competition.  Today, in most areas of the country, you can purchase access to high-speed internet through almost every cellphone provider,  cable TV provider, and telephone company.  And, if you can't get that access through any of these outlets there is still low-speed dial-up services available.

Of course, Obama will argue that access isn't available on a universal basis, with many rural communities going without any high speed Internet. And, that's true.  It's true because it would cost 10's of thousands of dollars to provide the kind of wiring needed to serve a single farmhouse that is miles away from the local telephone company's servicing office.  But, that's what he wants and he wants us all to pay for Old McDonald getting high-speed Internet on his remote farm; which means higher costs for the rest of us.  Quite frankly, Old McDonald may not want the Internet or even own a computer or cellphone.

But, remote areas can get high-speed Internet today without Obama's help.  If they have 3G or 4G bars on a cellphone, they can also get mobile broadband access to the internet.   There are at least 4 Satellite Internet providers who will gladly sell service.  Also, there are all kinds of services in development on a private basis that could give remote rural access within months to just a few years.

First, there is Wide Area WiFi.  Currently these networks are being installed by local governments to give their police and firemen access as far as 3 miles away.  But, there is no reason that this service couldn't be implemented on a commercial basis.  Second, there is something called the AIR.U Project to provide Super WIFI Internet access.  Initially, this is a joint effort by Google and Microsoft to get Internet service to the 500 remote colleges and universities that don't have high speed connections.  Eventually, it is intended to serve all those who live in rural areas. Lastly, there is Project Loon by Google.  Loon involves launching stratospheric balloons that would carry the electronics necessary to give everyone on earth access to high speed Internet. 

The fact is that access to rural America (and the world!) is being driven by private enterprise.  We don't need the government to get involved.  Again, this is just another case where Obama wants the government to be involved in every aspect of our lives.


Obama's plan to regulate the Internet would do more harm than good:

Long Distance Rates For the Late Seventies and Early Eighties:

Inflation Calculator: What a 1970 Dollar is Worth Today:

Lessons from the AT&T break up, 30 years later:

Mobile Broadband:

2015 Best Satellite Internet Service Reviews and Comparisons:

Local Governments Deploy Wide-Area Wi-Fi Networks:

Google, Microsoft team up to bring Super Wi-Fi to rural USA:

Loon for All:

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Black Actors Matter: Affirmative Action Needed for the Academy Awards?

This year's Academy Award nominations are out and the race-baiting Al Sharpton is mad.  For the first time in 17 years, not one black actor or actress was nominated for an Oscar, and Sharpton is calling for emergency action against the Academy.  Whatever that means. 

Are we now supposed to believe that there should be affirmative action quotas for the Academy Awards?  The way Sharpton is acting, it appears there should be at least one or two black actors or actresses nominated; even if there are better performances by white performers.  After all, blacks make up 13% or the population.  Therefore, out of the ten nominations for Best Actor or Actress, there should be at least 1.3 blacks nominated each year; and, another 1.3 blacks nominated for the best male/female supporting performances. Otherwise, the 5,800 members of the Academy are all a bunch of racists.

I think 17 straight years of nominating blacks is an excellent record for a process that is extremely subjective and elitist by its very nature.  What does Sharpton want?  Should one or two of the current nominees be booted off so that a black or two can be inserted in their places.  Are we now going to have national protests and a demonstation on Oscar night with signs saying: "Black Actors Matter".  Is Sharpton also going to demand to be involved in the nomination process; much like he forced Sony to agree that he will oversee the content of the movies they make? And, what about Hispanics?   They make up 17% of our population and, they too, were snubbed in the acting categories.  Should we now have at least 2 blacks and 3 Hispanics as nominees in all 20 acting categories each year?

This whole thing with Al Sharpton trying to paint America as a pre-1960's racist country is getting extremely ridiculous and tiring.  He is literally running crazy all over the place fighting assumed racism.  Of course, all of this is, and has been, increasingly fueled by the fact that President Obama has certified Sharpton as his go-to-guy for all things race.  But, this Obama/Sharpton relationship has backfired by making racial tensions worse.  A fact that too many polls point out. If someone "cries wolf" too often, people stop listening.  Then, if real racism does show up somewhere, nobody will care.


The Whitest Oscars Since 1998: Why the Selma Snubs Matter:

Al Sharpton Calls For Emergency Meeting To Address 'Appalling' All-White Oscar Nominees:

Academy Awards:

Sharpton to have say over how Sony makes movies:

Race relations worse under Obama, poll finds | TheHill:

Friday, January 16, 2015

What the December Retail Sales Drop Is Saying....and Its Not Good

For weeks, we have been told that falling gasoline prices should put more money in the pockets of the consumer.  Money that could then be spent elsewhere.  However, that conventional wisdom ignores all  other factors that influence consumer spending such as indebtedness, inflation, income, job security and, the need to save.  That conventional wisdom was certainly dashed when the December Retail Sales Report was released by the Commerce Department.

Despite the drop in gasoline prices, retail sales fell nearly a full percent to -.9%.  This quickly caused the stock market to sell off by more than 300 points.  The consensus of economists was that the sales number would be tempered by lower oil prices but, that overall sales would rise one-tenth of a percent with consumers spending more in the all-important Christmas month.  Instead, the consumer spending -- less gasoline  -- was also negative; down 4-tenths of a percent.

So, why did the economist's get it so wrong?  Well, simply, they are ignoring other past reporting that shows that there is weak consumer spending; not only in this country but worldwide.

The first sense that international  spending was on the rocks came from the China Export Report for November.  By far, China is the world leader in exports.  So, when the growth in exports in November comes in by half of what was expected, it says a lot about what is happening in the other world economies.

In our own country, import prices dropped.  Excluding oil, imports of all other items fell by 2-tenths of a percent in November.  A fact that was a repeat of the two previous months.  While some of this had to do with a strengthening U.S. dollar, which makes imports less expensive to buy in this country,  the drop does still indicate a slowing consumer demand.

Also, we saw a substantial drop in credit card debt in November.  This too shows that the consumer is probably concerned about their financial health or job situation and not willing to splurge the savings they are seeing from falling gasoline prices.

Lastly, December unemployment showed that hourly wages fell by 5 cents.  At the same time, food prices have been soaring this year.  These two facts, together, are probably making the consumer quite nervous and, as a result, he or she is not willing to spend but, instead, reduce their debt or save.  In either case, retail sales should have been expected to fall.


U.S. Retail Sales Reflect Consumer Caution Despite Lower Gas Prices:

China faces more pressure as Nov imports shrink unexpectedly, exports slow:

List of countries by exports:

Credit Card Debt Dropped Significantly in November:

The "Bad" of the December Employment Report: The Average Worker Loses Purchasing Power:

Food Prices Are Soaring And Washington Doesn't Care: 

Thursday, January 15, 2015

ObamaCare by Design: Rationing Healthcare

Late last year, all the negative talk about ObamaCare was limited to the comments of an M.I.T. economist, Jonathan Gruber, and how he and others used various tricks in designing ObamaCare in order to fool the stupid voters to buy into it.  Of course, in Congress, there had to be hearings in order to dig deeper into what he said.  But, no one asked a very simple question as to why an economist -- armed with his patented computer modeling -- became the chief architect of ObamaCare.

When you take a wide view of the various elements of the law, you can see that it is primarily designed to limit our access to healthcare and, as such, lower the overall costs.  That's why Gruber was needed.  Simply, healthcare economists like Gruber, and another economist who worked with the President, by the name of David Cutler, believe that we have the highest cost of healthcare in the world because we have too much easy access into the system and expensive procedures such as MRI scans.  Thus, in order to make the Affordable Care Act affordable, rationing techniques had to be imposed.

One of the biggest targets of ObamaCare and rationing are the so-called Cadillac Health Insurance plans. Cadillac plans are extremely expensive and originally offered to the wealthiest of Americans.  The plans, themselves, offer all kinds of high-level, break-the-bank coverage for things like private rooms and at-home nursing care.  ObamaCare tackles this supposed abuse of our healthcare system by imposing a 40% tax on any expensive healthcare insurance plan that is over $10,200 for an individual or $27,500 for a family with the economic assumption that Cadillac plans will be taxed out of existence.  Unfortunately, these plans are no longer just for the rich.  Many of those insured by them include people with high risk jobs, such as police and firemen as well as families with seriously ill members who need constant nursing; preferably at home.

Another way that ObamaCare rations is through a self-imposed process of creating health insurance   that has extremely high deductibles and high annual out-of-pocket caps in the exchanges.  This makes it very expensive for the insured to casually use the healthcare system. For example, the cheapest plans in the exchanges are the Bronze plans.  On average, they have an annual $5,181 deductible per individual or $10,545 per family that must be met first before the insurer shells out any of its own money.  After that, the insured pays 40% of any bills until an annual out-pocket cap of  $6,373 per individual and $12,749 per family is reached.  Only after that does the insurer have to pick up the full tab for further expenses.  For many low-income and lower middle class families, the prospect of shelling out $12,749 a year -- especially when someone is seriously ill over a period of two or more years -- is a frightening thought.  As a result, some may elect to wait too long before seeing a doctor.  A fact that could cost lives.  The designers of ObamaCare estimate that 93 million Americans will lose their insurance and be forced into the exchanges.

Then, there is the expansion of Medicaid.  Medicaid is a state-run and federally subsidized form of free healthcare insurance originally intended for the poor.  ObamaCare is expected to expand this coverage to 20 million lower income individuals.  Because the Medicaid programs pay doctors and hospitals so little, Medicaid patients have access limited to those providers that are able to accept lower cost repayments; usually large clinics that operate on a cattle-car basis with long wait times.  So, if you can force as many as 20 million insured out of their full-fare-paying and instant access insurance policies and push them into lower paying and longer waiting Medicaid, their costs will be lowered and their access will be limited.

Losing your doctor is, by design, an effort to force the more expensive physicians to change the way they operate their practices  As mentioned above, a total of 93 million are expected to lose their current insurance and move into the exchanges.  An additional 20 million are being moved onto Medicaid.  With both Medicaid and insurance policies in the exchanges, access to doctors is limited to a narrow network who will accept lower payment for their services. In doing so, this will leave many doctors with increasingly smaller patient bases and, as a result, unprofitable practices.  To survive, they will have to find ways to accept lower payments.  Many will consolidate their practices  in order to save on resources like nurses, receptionists, and supplies.  As a result, doctors, will not be able to spend much time with each patient, and we will see the use of lower cost Nurse Practitioners and Physician's Assistants increase.  Ultimately, your access to a doctor of your choice will be greatly reduced.

The Medical Device Tax (MDT), that is imposed under ObamaCare, is another rationing effort. The MDT is a 2.3% tax that will be applied to anything deemed to be a medical device.  And, the devices range from $3 million MRI machines to bedpans and dental drills. The designers of the tax argue that it is relatively small against an industry that has little competition and hefty profits.  Proponents of the tax argue that it is a small tax that is needed to help pay for the subsidies under ObamaCare.  However, that little tax is a $2.5 billion dollar annual hit against a $110 billion dollar a year industry.  An industry that economists blame for the rising cost of healthcare in this country.  Economists like Gruber know that hospitals, doctors, dentists, and veterinarians have only limited dollars to spend on medical devices and, they also know that insurance companies won't necessarily pay higher prices for them.  As a result, the tax is intended to cause medical providers to think twice about constantly buying newer, bigger, better, and, certainly, more expensive equipment.  It will be yet another reason for physician's to consolidate their practices in order to share these many devices thereby avoiding any costly idle time.

Lastly, for the elderly, there is the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).  Basically, the IPAB is tasked to control the rising cost of Medicare.  Called the Death Panel by some, the IPAB is intended to decide how increasingly scarce Medicare dollars are being spent.  To accomplish this, there will be rationing.  Once again we have economists at work on this one.  The Gruber's of the world understand that 32% of all Medicare expenses occur in the last two years of a patient's life.  Thus, if ObamaCare can control those last two years, it would mean massive savings.  So, expect the IPAB to make many decisions on how old is too old for certain expensive medical procedures like heart bypass surgery.  Instead, patients may wind up with the old remedy for heart pain: nitroglycerin tablets and limited physical exercise. Of course, the doctor will be off the hook because some bureaucratic panel will have made the no-surgery decision without any input from him.

All together, these things are designed to make healthcare worse; not better.  Which is what rationing is all about. And, quite frankly, people will die because of it.


Jonathan Gruber:

David Cutler:

Cadillac Insurance Plans:

Are You Driving a Cadillac?:

Bronze Plan Explained:

Obama Officials In 2010: 93 Million Americans Will Be Unable To Keep Their Health Plans Under Obamacare:

American Hospital Association: Medicare and Medicaid Financial Statistics:

Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicaid and Medicare Acceptance Rates:

The Medical Device Industry in the United States:

Independent Payment Advisory Board:

IPAB Shifts Costs and May Negatively Affect Patient Access:

Care of Chronic Illness in Last Two Years of Life:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Eugene Robinson's Fairy Tale: More Carnage If Charlie Hebdo Attack Happened in the U.S.

In a recent MSNBC interview, liberal opinion writer for the Washington Post, Eugene Robinson, claimed that, if the Paris attack on Charlie Hebdo had occurred in this country, there would have been a lot "more carnage" because we have so many guns.  Evidently, before giving that interview, Mr. Robinson must have taken a big, long swig of the overly stale water from the gun control watering trough.

The problem with Mr. Robinson's thinking is that it was the strict gun control in France that made the Charlie attack so much worse than it would have been in the U.S..  To say otherwise, is just another liberal fairy tale.

First of all, France has some of the strictest gun control laws in Europe.  So strict that most police don't see the need to carry firearms.

This is why the two gunmen, using banned AK47's, couldn't be stopped.  In fact, 3 unarmed Paris police road up to the terror scene on bicycles; only to be forced to back away from the gunfire from those AK's. One was wounded and lay helplessly on the ground.  Unable to defend himself, one of the gunman simply walked up to him and shot him point blank.  Then, they sped off in a car with the bicycle police unable follow in pursuit.  Able to get away -- they joined with two others at another location -- carried on with their terrorist activity the following day with 4 more innocent lives being lost.

Now, while not provable, my guess is that because the French police were unarmed and because they road bicycles, the terrorists were emboldened to take such actions in broad daylight.  In the U.S., the fact that all cops carry weapons might have been a strong deterrent against what happened in Paris.  Also, our gun-toting cops would most likely have kept the gunmen from getting back to their car.  Even if they did, most of our police would have arrived on the scene in cars; enabling them to set chase.  All together, the chances that there would have been another day of killing would have been greatly diminished in this country. 

But, there's one more thing to consider that would have mitigated this type of terrorist action.  Because we don't have strict gun control, the chances are that a Charlie Hebdo in the U.S. would probably have had an armed security guard (or, even two) in their lobby.  This is because they had already experienced a previous attack in 2011.  As such, the two armed terrorists may have never had the opportunity to penetrate the building and take out the 12 executives. Again, French guns laws prevented them from having armed security.  Also, the fact that the two gunmen had banned rifles,  just proves that gun control only controls weapons among those who abide by the law.

I have to hand it to liberals.  Whether it's climate change or gun control, they just can't help themselves from using a disaster to push another politically left viewpoint.


Eugene Robinson: If Paris Attack Happened In U.S. There Would Be "More Carnage" Because Of Guns:

Unarmed Paris Police Retreated From Terrorist Gunmen:

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why the 40-Hour Work Week Would Destroy The Employer Mandate Of ObamaCare

Under ObamaCare, full-time work is defined as 30 hours or more per week. Thus, employers with more than 50 workers would be on the hook for either providing health insurance or paying a penalty whenever an employee consistently worked more than 30 hours a week.  Opponents of the 30-hour rule -- mostly Republicans and other small business groups -- claim that it will be responsible for causing employers to convert full-time jobs to part-time.  On the other hand, advocates of the rule -- Democrats and the Liberal media -- have shown statistics where the percentage of part-time work has not gone up but, actually, gone down.  The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) says the impact won't really be felt  until after 2016 as employers start to fully react to the impact of the law.  Of course, any logically thinking person would find it hard to believe that the 30-hour rule would actually increase full-time work.

Despite all this controversy, on January 8th, the House Republicans and 12 Democrats passed a bill that would redefine full-time work under ObamaCare as being 40 hours. Whether or not there will be the needed 60 votes in the Senate -- with at least 6 Democrats joining the Republicans -- is yet to be seen.  But, my guess is that no Senate Democrat will support the new rule and, as such, the bill will die in the Senate.  The reason is simple, the new full-time rule would literally destroy ObamaCare and its employer mandate.  This is because very few people today, actually even work and are paid for 40 hours.  In most states, employers are not mandated to provide paid lunch and work breaks in a typical 40-hour work week. According to the OECD (the Oranization of Economic Co-Operation and Development), the average employee in the United States worked 1799 hours annually in 2013; or, about 34.38 hours per week.  Even so, an employer only has to cut a 40-hour worker's paid time by as little as 31 minutes to avoid rounding up to 40 hours and, thus, having to abide by the mandate.

Lastly, if the bill does get through the Senate, Obama will veto it, and there is no way that there will be enough Democrat votes (12) to override the veto. 


House approves ObamaCare bill despite veto threat:

Is Obamacare causing a surge in part-time work? - CBS News:

CBO: Labor Market Effects of the Affordable Care Act: Updated Estimates:

OECD: Average annual hours actually worked per worker:

Monday, January 12, 2015

Obama's Latest Folly: Free Community College

It seems as if the President lies awake all night trying to come up with new programs that will increase the size of the federal bureaucracy, spending, and debt; while, at the same time, make an increasing number of Americans dependent on a government that keeps giving them lots and lots of free stuff, thus garnering more and more votes for the Democrats that helped give it to them. The President's latest iteration of the "free stuff: philosophy is a free Community College degree.  Of course, he knows that the Republican House and Senate won't approve such a plan, but he doesn't care because his only "real" intent is to use their objection as a political weapon.

So, what's Obama plan?

A 75% federal and 25% state-paid Community College degree provided that each qualified student: (1) is working towards a degree; (2) maintains a 2.5 grade point average; (3) is attending a Community College who's credits are "fully" transferable to a 4-year college; and, (4) the credit load is at least half-time (6 credit hours per semester).  According to Obama's accounting, his plan will help 9 million students with an average full-time student saving as much as $3800 each year.  This, providing all 50 states agree to participate in the program.  The federal cost is estimated to be $60 billion over 10-years with the states picking up another $20 billion in their own budgets.

As with so much of everything that Obama's dreams up,  a lot just doesn't add up.

Before we explore all the questionable issues associated with the plan, you need to understand some basic facts about the community college programs throughout the country.   There are 1132 community colleges with approximately 13 million students.  Community colleges typically come in three flavors: (1) taxpayer supported public colleges; (2) not-for-profit private schools; and (3) for-profit colleges.  The public schools have the lowest tuition costs.  The other two types are much more expensive with the for-profit schools being the most costly.

So, with those facts in mind, let's take a look at Obama's questionable numbers and the problems associated with his proposal.

9 Million Students Helped?

According to the President, the federal cost of the program would be $60 billion over 10 years and it would help 9 million students; with the average full-time student saving $3800/year.  However, when you do the math against the true $80 billion combined state and federal cost over 10 years, the average cost for 9 million students is almost $8,900; or, almost 2-1/2 times the supposed annual savings for just one full-time student enrolled in the program.  Also, 9 million students over ten years or roughly the equivalent of 900,000 students a year is just a fraction (7%) of the 13 million students who attend community colleges each year.

The President's program ignores the fact that most community college students already get state and federal assistance and funding.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of all community college students receive federal Pell Grants for being from low-income families.  31% receive federal Title IV financial aid.  19% receive institutional grants (state and local scholarships) from the school they are attending.  13% get low-interest federal education loans known as Stafford loans.  Another 8% receive federal campus-based aid.  In essence, only about 6% of students go without some form of assistance; probably because they are the richest of the bunch.  Also, despite all this assistance, only 20% of public community college students successfully earn their associate degrees. 

Fully Transferable Credits to a Four-Year College?

Under the President's plan, eligible students must attend a 2-year college and curriculum where 100% of all earned credits are transferable to a full 4-year undergraduate program.  Well, obviously, the President must not have done his homework on this one.  Based on a recent study, only 58% of  community college students -- that attempted to transfer credits to a 4-year institution -- were able to transfer 90% or more of their earned credits.  The 90% figure used in the study means that it is highly unlikely that all 100% of credits -- as the President insists on -- will be transferable.  In that same study, 14% of students couldn't transfer as little as 10% of their credits.  And, the remaining 28% lost between 10% and 89% of their credits.  How this President thinks that a federal bureaucracy will be able to determine which students are capable of fully transferring all class credits is beyond me.

The States can't afford more educational expenses.

Under Obama's 75%/25% funding plan, the states would be expected to pick up 25% of the plan's cost or an additional $2 billion dollars in educational expenses per year.  The problem with that concept is that most of the states are already cutting back on education costs in order to maintain their budgets, and at the same time, cover the ever increasing cost of retired educator's pensions.  In the arena of higher education, tuition rates have been raised in order to offset those cost reductions.  So, basically, don't expect too many -- if any -- states to participate in the President's plan.

The bottom line.

To my knowledge, President Obama has never once indicated that there is a problem with the community college system that needs an $80 billion fix. The only reason given for making this change is to make a community college education more accessible.  But, as I have shown, there are already many funding options that make enrollment possible.  Besides -- because of the recession and because of extremely high tuition costs in 4-year colleges --  enrollment levels are quite high at community colleges; and, no longer are the days when our community colleges had low enrollment percentages.  Instead,  many are now in the position of having to reject student applications for lack of classroom space.

I believe that this President has a bigger plan afoot.  I think he sees this move as a way to get an initial toehold into what would ultimately be the complete socialization/federalization of public higher education.  First, it's the community colleges.  Then, there will be the argument that, if you fund two years of community college education, why shouldn't the first two years of education at a 4-year college also be paid for.  Then, the next leap will be the funding of all 4-years. 


How does Obama's community college plan work?:

Obama's Free Community College Idea May Be Hard Sell:

Community Colleges’ Most Challenging Task: Increase Completion Rates:

Only 16% of US community college students go on to earn a four-year degree:

The American Association of Community Colleges: Financial Aid Statistics:

Credit Transfers: Why many community college students don't graduate:

Most States Funding Schools Less Than Before the Recession:

Sagging state funding jacks up college tuition:

 Beware of Rejection Letters from Your Local Community College: