Thursday, February 26, 2015

Biden: the Middle Class Is Being "Killed"

Recently, Vice President Joe Biden, said that the middle class is getting "killed" and we need constant and reoccurring infrastructure spending to restore it:

He's right about the middle class getting "killed".  Just look at this chart of real (adjusted for inflation) median household incomes:

As you can see, the so-called Great Recession took its toll.  But, it is also true that 6 years of Obama (and Biden) has not done one thing to improve the median income.  This despite a near trillion dollars in "Stimulus" spending and other programs that were supposed to help the middle class.

So, this brings us to the question as to whether or not Biden's (and Obama's) insistence that infrastructure construction spending will strengthen the middle class.

Well, the answer to that question is no.

In order to raise median household income above the $52,000 level (as seen on the above chart), you need to create a lot of jobs that are well above that number.   Unfortunately, that isn't going to happen with infrastructure projects.  The best paid job on any site is the construction supervisor.  The average construction supervisor salary is about $49,000; or, $3000 below $52,000. The next best paid infrastructure jobs are the heavy equipment operators.  Their average pay is around $41,000.  From that point on, it is down hill until you get to the low-paid individual that controls traffic by flipping around a "stop/slow" sign all day long.  Also, understand that infrastructure construction jobs only make up a small percentage of the workforce.  For, example, there are only about 400,000 equipment operators in this country out a of labor force that is made up of 157 million.  That's less than 2-tenths of a percent of the labor force.

The only reason that Biden and Obama are pushing infrastructure spending is to benefit their union voting block because most heavy construction work in this country is unionized.

The kind of jobs that would strengthen the middle class are managers, lab and medical technicians, research scientists, nurses and nurse practitioners, engineers, programmers, and so many more jobs that have nothing to do with infrastructure.  But, these jobs are being hurt by the heavy hand of government regulation under the Obama Administration.  The best proof of that comes from the massive growth in independent contractors and freelancers.  Right now there are 42 million of them, but that number could be more than half of the salaried workforce of 135 million by 2020.

By hiring independent contractors and freelance workers, companies avoid all kinds of federal and state mandates such as the matching FICA payments, minimum wage, paid family leave, salaried overtime pay, and, especially, not having to pay the fine for not providing healthcare.  Instead, the contractor or freelancer must pay for their own health insurance and prepare for their own retirement.  This is what most Democrats don't seem to understand as they keep boxing companies in with increasingly burdensome regulations.


Construction Equipment Operator Quick Facts:

Salary Data: Construction Supervisor:

Browse Average Salary Ranges for Middle Income Level Jobs:

The Shifting American Workforce: Growing Legions of Freelancers and Independent Contractors:

We're all becoming independent contractors:

Don't Give Illegals Social Security Numbers. Give Them Tax I.D.'s

If President Obama gets his way, amnesty to illegal aliens will include the issuance of Social Security numbers.

This is just plain wrong. A Social Security number gives them access to all too many federal and state services as benefits including the ability to easily register to vote, which would be a federal crime.  Under the Motor Voter law anyone with a valid Social Security number can register to vote anytime they apply for or renew a driver's license or sign up for public assistance.  No proof of citizenship is required. A Social Security card also allows them to file a tax return and get a refund under the Earned Income Tax Credit that is in excess of any taxes they many have paid and/or may have been refunded.

None of these things are afforded to legal foreign residents who live and pay taxes in this country because they typically don't get Social Security numbers, they get an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).  The ITIN looks exactly like a Social Security number but the lead digit is a "9", which serves as a red flag that the person holding that number is a guest in this country and not a citizen.  The ITIN serves the purposes of collecting taxes and Social Security/Medicare payroll taxes (FICA, but negates the ability of the holder to file for an Earned Income Tax Credit refund.

Congress should act now to insure that, if Obama is allowed to give amnesty to illegals, they are only eligible for Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers starting with the digit "9". Otherwise, a new study has shown, that many illegals could file tax returns for the last 4-years and get up to $35,000 in retroactively paid Earned Income Tax Credits.


Obama amnesty creates loophole for illegal immigrants to vote:

Under current law, non-citizens are not allowed to vote in federal elections, and it is a federal crime for a non-citizen to vote or register to vote in such an election, punishable by imprisonment and/or the initiation of removal proceedings against that individual:

Motor Voter Act:

Taxpayer Identification Numbers:

Amnesty Beneficiaries Could Claim More Than $35K In Tax Benefits In First Year:

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Our Futile and Silly Attempts At Reducing Coal Consumption

Talk to any global warming alarmist and they will tell you that coal is, by far, the dirtiest power producer of all.  So, it is only logical that -- in their minds -- the world should abandon this planet-killing form of power production.  However, while the U.S. and Europe are busily forcing coal out of business and out of existence through various forms of legislative actions such as carbon taxes and severe limits on emissions, Asian counties like China and South Asia/India are increasingly producing and consuming more coal than the U.S., Europe, and the rest of the world could possibly eliminate; and, at a very fast rate.  Here is the "worth-a-thousand-words" picture that tells that very story:
Click on image to zoom

With global temperatures flat for 18 years and, at the same time, coal usage exploding in Asia, it is really hard to see the connection between coal consumption and global warming. 


Chart Source: International Business Times: Coal Growing Its Share Of Global Energy Mix Despite World's Greening Efforts:

August 2014: Global Temperature Update – Still no global warming for 17 years 10 months:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Why the Obama's Don't 'Love' America: In Their Own Words and Actions

Former Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, created a firestorm when he said this about President Obama:
"I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America."
Of course, the political left and the media are in an uproar because Giuliani dared question the President's patriotism.  But, here's the thing.  Both Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have made it clear, in their own words, that they don't like America; let alone love it. And, if you don't like or love this country then, you probably either dislike it or even hate it.

In 2008, while running for office, the then-Senator Obama pledged that he would "fundamentally change America" if elected.   What that means is that he plans to "change" the fundamentals by which America is America: Our Constitution and the laws by which we live.  But, to be sure, he has shown that this was no hollow pledge [threat].  Time and time, again, he has used executive actions to  bypass the Constitution, our laws, and Congress; showing a complete disdain for all three.  There is no other way to say it.  He hates our system of government.

Then, too, since being elected, President Obama has constantly blamed the U.S. for the world's ills and has set out to personally apologize for them, and, the apologies aren't spoken here but, instead, always in front of foreign audiences.  Thus, our own President wallows in the fact that he can humiliate this country while ignoring any good it has done in the world.

Another instance of his distaste is the downplaying of American exceptionalism.   In that regard, he is on record as saying: "I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism."  So, in essence, if everyone believes their country is exceptional, no single country really is.  So, our belief that our country is exceptional must all be in our heads because Obama knows that we really are not.  This despite all the innovation and achievements that we have brought to the world.

All of these examples are rooted in Barack Obama's associations in his past.  His mentor, setup by his father, was communist Frank Marshall Davis.  A close friend was anti-government activist Bill Ayers.  The very man who actually wrote his memoir and helped launch Obama's run for the Senate.  Also, there was Obama's Chicago Church run by Jeremiah Wright.  For years, Barack and Michelle sat in that church and listened to Wright spew anti-American and anti-Semetic rhetoric.   Further, there is proof that he was linked to the Democratic Socialists of America during his political activities in Chicago. Not hardly a pro-government group.

Additionally, Michelle Obama  has expressed her dislike of America.  Speaking on the campaign trail in 2008 she said this: “For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I’m Really Proud of My Country”.  So, finally at age 44, she is finally proud of this country because, as she went on, "I think people are hungry for change."  Thus, just like her husband, she wants America to be changed because she doesn't like it as it is. 

Giuliani is right to say what has never been said before by such a noted public personality. What he  said explains many of the actions taken by the President and his Administration over the last six years.  As for the liberals, the truth hurts and that's why they are so angry.


"Fundamentally Change America?" -Obama rally in MO:

Barack Obama's Top 10 Apologies: How the President Has Humiliated a Superpower:

The bashing of American exceptionalism:

Palling Around With Obama's 'Radicals' - ABC News:

Barack Obama - Controversial and Radical Associates:

Obama's Radical-Left Ties Broad And Deep - CBS News:

Obama's Mentor Frank Marshall Davis FBI Communism Files:

Hear Bill Ayers say again, 'I wrote Obama bio':

Jeremiah Wright controversy:

Barack Obama and Democratic Socialists of America:

Michelle Obama: “For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I’m Really Proud of My Country”:

Monday, February 23, 2015

The Politics of Calling Right-Wing Extremists a Bigger Threat Than ISIS

It is incredible to me to see what great lengths the Obama Administration will go to politicize almost anything and everything.  While, at the same time, try to downplay the threat of terrorism.  As if 9/11 never happened. Nor the Boston Marathon bombing or the slaughter at Fort Hood.

In the latest iteration, CNN is reporting that the President's Department of Homeland Security is circulating a report that suggests that the greatest threat to our American homeland is not ISIS but, instead, right-wing extremist groups such as the skinheads and those angry white and anti-American militia cells.  Of course, this implies that there are no political left-wing groups we should fear. The basis of their assessment is that there are approximately 100,000 core right-wing extremists in this country, and that, in the last 5 calendar years, there have been a total of 24 violent acts committed by these groups; mostly against law enforcement.  That's right, 24!  Of course this is less than 5 incidents per year and ignores the fact that, on average, 150 cops are killed each year by violent offenders like gang members.  It also ignores the fact that, in 2008, the FBI called left-wing Eco-terrorism the biggest threat facing the country.

In my opinion, gangs pose the biggest threat to the lives of too many Americans.  They are a subculture who doesn't believe in our societal values or laws.  To more fully understand this, here are some excerpted bullet points from the FBI's own threat assessment:
  • There are approximately 1.4 million active street, prison, and OMG [Outlaw Motorcycle Gang] gang members comprising more than 33,000 gangs in the United States. 
  • Gangs are responsible for an average of 48 percent of the violent crime in most jurisdictions and up to 90 percent in several others, according to NGIC analysis.
  • Gang infiltration of the military continues to pose a significant criminal threat, as members of at least 53 gangs have been identified on both domestic and international military installations. Gang members who learn advanced weaponry and combat techniques in the military and are at risk of employing these skills on the street when they return to their communities.
  • Gang members are acquiring high-powered, military-style weapons and equipment which poses a significant threat because of the potential to engage in lethal encounters with law enforcement officers and civilians. 
Everyday, hundreds of people in this country are killed or seriously injured by gang members. Gangs are the key element in drug, weapon, and human trafficking.  Simply, violence is their mainstay and our Department of Homeland Security ignores this and considers 24 violent acts by right-wing groups the biggest threat?  

Lastly, there's another reason to worry about gangs.  Most of their members have served and/or will serve time in prison in the future.  Increasingly our prisons have become a hotbed for converting inmates to radical Islam.  There should be a concern that at some point, some gangs, may revert to terrorist tactics to undermine the police and government agencies like the FBI or use terrorism against the civilian population.


DHS intelligence report warns of domestic right-wing terror threat:

FBI: Eco-Terrorism Remains No. 1 Domestic Terror Threat :

Cops killed each year:

FBI: Gangs: They poison our streets with drugs, violence, and all manner of crime:

Radical Islam in Prison: Made in the USA:

America's Cage War Against Radical Islam:  Gang members operating as the "fifth column" are providing aid to the the terrorists from inside the United States:

Saturday, February 21, 2015

John Kerry's Very Own Climate Gate

In 2009, the Climate Research Unit of East Anglia University was figuratively caught with its pants down wuth something that, today, is known as ClimateGate.  Several hacked emails showed there was a scientific conspiracy using falsified data in order to push the ideas of climate change and global warming.

And, ClimateGate continues today with our own head of the State Department John Kerry.

A few months ago, he said this to an audience regarding climate change and the California drought:
“This isn’t something around the corner. This is happening now...where millions of people are now experiencing the 13th month of the worst drought the state has seen in 500 years.” 
The only problem with that statement is that the current California drought has yet to even match the droughts that peaked in 1923 and 1976.  Let alone 500 years ago.

Then, Kerry is also blaming the recent flooding in California on climate change.  On December 13, he said this:
“This morning, I woke up in Washington to the television news of a super-storm rainfall in California and Washington state –-torrential, record-breaking rain in record-breaking short time. It’s become commonplace now to hear of record-breaking climate events...and we’re still on a course leading to tragedy.”
Besides the fact that Kerry is, once again, flip-flopping by claiming that both droughts and rains are a result of climate change, his facts are flat wrong.

Were there record rains in Washington State and California just recently? Yes. But, many were for that particular date and not necessarily records in the history of either of those two states.  Take Los Angeles for example.  On December 2nd (the day that Kerry was referring to) a record 1.5 inches fell.  However, it was a record that broke the previous obe of 53 years ago in 1961.  Not proof that records are falling daily because of climate change.  In fact, the worst flooding in L.A. history occurred in February 1938 when, in just two days, 4.4 inches of rain fell.

It is sad when our own Secretary of State's climate claims are refuted by facts.  It is also sad that he has been contradicted by the Obama Administration's own National Oceanic and Atmospherics Agency (NOAA) which is clearly on record as saying the California drought cannot be connected to climate change.

One of the primary reasons why I and others don't believe in climate change is because of all the lying and exaggeration that takes place.  Those like Kerry are only damaging their cause by presenting false and misleading data.


 Wikipedia: ClimateGate:

John Kerry’s Phony Climate War:

California Drought – Almost As Dry as 1923 and 1976:

Kerry's Top Ten Flip-Flops - CBS News:

John Kerry: California rain is climate change:

Major storm soaks Southern California:

Los Angeles flood of 1938:

NOAA: Climate Change Did Not Cause Calif. Drought:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Severe Weather Events are Not Proof of Climate Change

In the last few weeks, with feet (not inches) of snow being dumped on Boston, all too many activists have leveled the claim that this is proof of climate change.  I cringe, because these people don't know what they are talking about.

In this country and, I guess around the world, people have been brainwashed into believing that weather events are the same as climate, and that somehow, severe weather events mean climate change. But, climate, as clearly defined by Wikipedia, is as follows:
"a measure of the average pattern of variation in temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind, precipitation, atmospheric particle count and other meteorological variables in a given region over long periods of time. Climate is different from weather, in that weather only describes the short-term conditions of these variables in a given region."
Weather (as noted above) is either a historical, current, or predicted measurement of meteorological conditions for a given period; typically for an hour or a day.  So, in order to have climate change, there needs to be some significant increases (or decreases) in specific meteorological measurements over a long period of time.  This, too is where a lot of climate scientists get it wrong with predictions.

To that point, there's a new website that exposes both ridiculous and contradictory climate predictions called   In one section of the site, called "having it both ways", it exposes some of the most contradictory public statements on climate change.  For example, in January of 2014, the people of the United Kingdom were told:

A change in the North Atlantic current could lead to the end of the soggy British summers, researchers have claimed...
 A year later, the same audience was told:
Extreme summer rainfall may become more frequent in the UK due to climate change, according to new research...

Similarly, in 2005, we were being told the oceans were becoming less salty because of melting fresh water run offs.  Three years later, research predicted the oceans would be much saltier in the future.

So, therefore, our climate isn't really changing as much as the research on climate change is changing.  No wonder that, increasingly, people don't believe the science behind the theory. 




Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why the Uninsured Prefer to Pay the ObamaCare Tax Penalty

Recently, three Democrats began lobbying to delay the ObamaCare tax penalty for not buying healthcare insurance because they are worried that millions of their constituents are going to be blind-sided by the cost.  Even though those same three Democrats voted for ObamaCare and should be well aware that there was an individual mandate in the law; and, that not buying insurance, carried a penalty.  A penalty that was designed to force the uninsured to buy insurance.  This was a law that the Democrats, alone, legislated and got signed.  Even so, the uninsured rate is still extremely high with 42 million Americans still without insurance; and, any dent in that number will be small because Health and Human Services only expects to enroll and re-enroll a total of 10 million this year. 

What those Democrats don't seem to understand is that people are electing to pay the penalty because they can't afford the insurance that they are being forced to buy under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare).   Also, many (if not most) know the penalty won't be applied to them if they file for a hardship exemption.

To understand this and why ObamaCare insurance is so unaffordable and a hardship for millions, you need to use the Tax Policy Center's ObamaCare penalty calculator. 

Using the median household income in the country of about $52,000 a year and assuming a typical family of two adults and one child, the 2014 tax penalty would be $419 for not buying insurance. More importantly, a family of that size and income would not be eligible for any subsidy to help pay for their insurance. But, here's the kicker and why the Democrats just don't understand why so many would prefer to pay the penalty.  The lowest cost to buy insurance in the ObamaCare exchange for that family size was $9,792 last year.  In tax year 2015, the penalty is upped to $975; and, so is the cost of insurance at $10,280.  Next year, the tax penalty will be yet higher at $2,080.  Even so, the cost of paying the penalty greatly outweighs the cost of buying the insurance. 

You don't have to be an MBA to understand that buying insurance at that income level is a big financial hit after paying federal income taxes.  In fact, a family making $52,000 a year will only have $39,000 left after paying their federal taxes. Much lower if state income taxes also need to be applied. So, having to spend nearly $10,000 to buy ObamaCare insurance will, at the very least, cut the average family's disposable income by more than one-quarter; leaving them with less than $29,000 to live on.  On top of that, that same family would still face a potential out-of-pocket expense per individual of $6,600 a year; or, $13,200 per family.  A fact that most Democrats don't seem to understand.  So, for a lot of people, the only choice is to pay the penalty and forgo the insurance. Most of them also probably know that they can go to any Medicare-accepting Hospital and they will be treated for free under a law called the "Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act".

Literally, those aforementioned Democrats don't seem to understand that it is the law that should be delayed and, not just the penalty.  If not, the number of uninsured in this country is not going to be eliminated; and, all too many hospitals will be left holding the bag for their care.


 APNewsbreak: Democrats seek relief from health law penalties:

Democrats Keep Running Away From ObamaCare:

Millions to owe Obamacare tax penalty:

US Census Data: Uninsured Rate…Increased in 2014?:

Median Family Income:

ObamaCare Penalty Calculator:

$ 52,000.00 Tax Calculation for 2015 Tax Year:

Bronze Plan Deductibles and Out-of-pocket Caps:

Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act:

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Obama's Own Words On Immigration Come Back To Bite Him

President Obama is a trained lawyer and he, more than many of us, should understand that "intent" (mens rea) is a strong determinant in deciding a case against someone or something.  For example, it is very difficult to claim that the death of someone is accidental when, in fact, the person who caused that person's death is "on record" vowing to kill them.  Even in contract disputes, the intent of the contractual parties, or of paragraphs contained within a contract, are often the final determinant in settling a dispute.

So, it is almost laughable that this President is on record, at least twice, saying the he "changed the law" when he took executive action to give amnesty to 4.5 million illegal immigrants.  The judge weighing the validity of his action took that into serious consideration because it shows that Obama's "intent" was to go outside his responsibilities under the Constitution and change the law.  Something that only Congress has the authority to do.  Something that he said he couldn't do 22 times before using his executive action to allow amnesty for illegals.

Thus, instead of having a legal argument as to whether the President has the Constitutional authority to give amnesty to 4.5 million illegals, his Justice Department is now saddled with trying to defend or somehow negate Obama's "on record" intention to violate the Constitution.


Federal judge halts Obama amnesty; White House to appeal:

Obama changes tune on immigration: Yes, I changed the law:

VIDEO: Boehner quotes all 22 times Obama said he couldn't use executive amnesty:

Legal: Intent:

Contract Interpretation:

Mens rea:

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Liberals Bemoan Jon Stewart's Leaving The Daily Show

There are many liberals who believe that Jon Stewart was a powerful force in American politics; bringing millions of voters -- especially young voters -- to their political way of thinking.  They laud his use of humor in disparaging Republicans.  So, his announced retirement from the Daily Show has brought many a tear to a bunch of  liberal eyes.

Even, the left-leaning CNN felt compelled to write an opinion piece following his announced departure from his Comedy Central hit show.  In the piece titled "How Jon Stewart changed politics", the writer, Stephen Collinson, said this:
"The Daily Show" host's hordes of millennial fans and political junkies will soon find out what a sans-Stewart election is like as they pick their way through the spin, obfuscations and outrages of the 2016 race without him.
Reading that, you almost get the impression that, without Stewart, Republicans will indeed be able to spin, obfuscate and outrage their way to victory in 2016.  However, anyone who has honestly and unbiasedly watched the Daily Show knows that it is Stewart who is spinning, obfuscating, and outraging as he cherry picks and removes context from carefully selected video clips of certain Republicans and, then, follows them up with a humorous, but politically biased, punchline or slanted commentary.

Then, there's the reference to the "hordes of millennial fans" in the CNN story.  Well, hordes is a non-specific term.  But, the word gives the reader the impression that millions of young people tune-in to see Stewart.  As referenced by the writer, PEW Research found that 39% of Stewart's audience is between 18 and 29 years of age while, at the same time, that age group only makes up 23% of the population.  Collinson goes on to say "That is a demographic politicians kill for."  The problem with that statement is that 18-to-29 year-olds don't vote relative to their percentage of the population.  In 2012, the Census Bureau stated that of the 133 million who voted, only 20.5 million or 15% were ages 18-to-29. 

Also, lets chew on the following:

The Daily Show has an average audience of about 2.5 million each night.  If 39% are in that young demographic, only about one million are 18-to-29; or, less than eight-tenths of a percent of all the voters. We already know that their voting turnout is low.  Not a fact that supports the belief that Stewart has changed or is changing the political landscape. You also have to understand that 45% of the Daily Show's viewers are self-described liberals.  Therefore, Stewart, for the most part, is preaching to the choir.

Simply, the belief that Stewart has impacted the political landscape in ways beneficial to the Democratic party is pure myth.  His audience is too small and heavily biased.  And, the millennial group  that everyone talks about, and which was his largest audience demographic, is typically a no-show at the voting booth.  In reality Jon Stewart has not changed politics in any significant way.


How Jon Stewart changed politics:

Demographics and Political Views of News Audiences:

"The Daily Show" and "The Colbert Report" Finish 1Q 2013 as #1 and #2 Among Adults 18-49 and All Key Young Demos:

Young-Adult Voting: An Analysis of Presidential Elections, 1964–2012:

Monday, February 16, 2015

Government Regulation Is Hurting The Housing Market

When the housing bubble burst, Democrats were quick to blame greedy Wall Street and greedy mortgage lenders for getting people into mortgages they couldn't afford.  But the primary reasons that so many people got themselves into bad mortgages were regulations that Democrats, themselves, hoisted upon the lenders.

In 1977, the Democrats of Congress wrote a law called the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) and President Jimmy Carter signed it into law.   The purpose of the law was stop a practice of "redlining" whereby low income Americans, primarily minorities, were denied mortgages because of an assumed risk of future job insecurity.  The CRA attempted to stop that practice by forcing banks and lenders to provide at least 30% of their loans to the lower income families in the community that they served; or, otherwise lose their federal lending guarantees, federal bank account insurance, and a whole host of other means of federal support afforded to them as lenders.

So, in order to comply with the law, lenders were forced to lower their lending standards so that low income and traditionally low saving members of their respective community could receive loans.  Of course this also increased the risk of their defaulting on those loans.  But, the Democrats weren't finished.  Under Clinton, the 30% threshold was upped to 50%; furthering the lowering of lending standards.  The competition for those kinds of low income loans intensified to the point that numerous no-down-payment adjustable rate mortgages with low introductory interest rates were issued to people who had no business owning a home.  And, 9/11 didn't help either because the resulting recession forced the Federal Reserve to lower interest rates to historically low levels which attracted even more people into extremely low interest loans.  Thus, when the Federal Reserve did start raising rates again, all too many adjustable rate mortgages pushed monthly payments higher and higher to points that were no longer affordable for the homeowner.  Thus the foreclosure rates increased and housing prices plummeted.

So, in 2009, with the Congress being completely controlled by the Democrats and President Obama, two members of Congress joined forces to write a new mortgage lending protection law that is know today as the The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act with the mortgage protection portion of that law set to become effective in January 2014.  In doing so, strict FICO score limits were set along with a minimum down payment of 20%.  The law also mandated that FHA loans could not be adjustable and the lender insured that no loan was given out, both now and in the future, where it would be too expensive for the borrower to repay.  In other words, the borrower was no longer liable for their own actions.

Thus, the mortgage lending business has pretty much slowed and as a result so has the housing market for the last 11 months in a row through November of 2014.  Exactly the amount of time that the mortgage lending portion of Dodd-Frank had been in effect.  As a result, the housing price appreciation has also slowed or even stopped which means it will take years for millions of Americans -- 17% of all properties -- to finally get themselves out of underwater loans where their home is worth less than the loan amount.



The True Origins of This Financial Crisis:  As opposed to a desperate liberal legend:

Here's How The Community Reinvestment Act Led To The Housing Bubble's Lax Lending:

Dodd–Frank Mortgage Rules Unleash Predatory Regulators:

Home Price Growth Slows For 11th Straight Month In November:

17 Percent of U.S. Properties Seriously Underwater, Down From 26 Percent Year Ago:

The U.S. Housing Crisis: Where are home loans underwater?: 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Yes Mr. President, Slavery and Jim Crow Laws Were Horrible.but...

At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama decried the fact that many horrible things were done in the name of Christ.  In this country, he specifically referenced slavery and Jim Crow [laws] as an example. 

While it is true that southern white ministers preached that blacks were less than human, there were numerous ministers -- mostly in the north -- who preached to abolish slavery.  People like John Wesley and Henry Ward Beecher are famed for their opposition to slavery.  We fought the Civil War over slavery.  But, Obama and a lot of Democrats always seem to ignore the fact that the Civil War wasn't just a war between the North and the South, it was a war between anti-slavery northerners and pro-slavery southern white Democrats who were mostly Christian.  Also, the President who drove that war was both a Christian and a Republican.  And, that President, in his second inaugural address, said this about slavery; the bible (Christianity); and the war between the North and the South:
Both read the same Bible and pray to the same God, and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God's assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's  faces, but let us judge not, that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered.
So, he questioned how those in the North and in the South could read the same bible and, yet, those in the South could believe in slavery ("wringing their bread from the sweat of other men's faces"). Thus, Abraham Lincoln, by his words, is explaining that there was a deep religious divide in this country over the issue.  A fact that Obama didn't state or want you to know.  Instead, we are left with the impression that all Christians in this country, condoned slavery. 

Also, after the war, and during the period known as the Reconstruction, it was the southern white Democrats who, in state after southern state, passed segregationist laws known as Jim Crow.  A fact that a Democrat like Obama never wants to admit but, instead, through that omission, wants to make his audiences think that he, as a Democrat, is talking about Republicans and Jim Crow. Again, southern white ministers took no stance against Jim Crow laws.


At Prayer Breakfast, Obama Decries 'Distortions':

PBS: Jim Crow Stories: The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow: Democratic Party:

Jim Crow Laws:

The Abolitionist Movement - The Tumult Of Reform:

Abraham Lincoln: Second Inaugural Address Saturday, March 4, 1865:

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Will Brian Williams Further Damage Trust in NBC's Nightly News?

There is an old saying: "The cover up is always worse than the lie [or crime]." That could very well be true with regard to the recently exposed lying of NBC News Anchor Brian Williams.

Accurate reporting is the one thing that most Americans expect from their news sources.  In a January 30th release of their annual polling on trusted names in the news, Public Policy Polling found the following results:
"35% of Americans say they trust Fox News more than any other TV news outlet, followed by 14% for PBS, 11% for ABC, 10% for CNN, 9% for CBS, 6% each for Comedy Central and MSNBC, and 3% for NBC."
Trust in NBC was already polling dead last at just 3%; and, this was before the Williams "lying" scandal even broke.  So, now we know that Brian Williams had a habit of greatly embellishing stories to, I suppose, improve his image or brand.  But, what we also found out is that NBC's management had known of their Williams-problem for years and allowed it to continue.  In fact, they even promoted him to Managing Editor so he could oversee all news reporting for that network.  That's more than just a cover up and a fact that may very well further damage what little trust NBC News was left.

Lastly, in another study released a year ago, only 15% of those under age 30 could even recognize Brian Williams when shown a picture of him.  Now, thanks to his own attempts to elevate his image, I'm quite sure that there are a lot more than 15% who know who he is; and, not in a good way. 


PPP's 5th annual poll about trust in TV news continues to find what it does every year: Fox News is both the most trusted and least trusted name in news.:

The Brian Williams scandal is an NBC News-wide scandal:

Brian Williams Has Been Lying For Years And NBC News Knew About It, Insiders Say:

Study: Network News Viewers at All-Time Low; Half Under Age 30 Never Watch News:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

What Obama Left Out When Referencing the Crusades

By now, I am sure you're aware that President Obama made this comment at the National Prayer Breakfast in, I suppose, some feeble attempt to imply that Medieval Christians were no different than today's ISIS:
"And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades..., people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
What that statement ignores is the amount of violence and killing that took place against Christians at that time and which necessitated the Crusades.  

To a fault, Christianity grew out of Christ's teachings on peace and pacifism.

They believed in the Ten Commandments and, in particular, the one that said: "Thou Shalt Not Kill".  Otherwise, to do so, would be a mortal sin whereby your soul would be dead to God and you would be unable to reach heaven.  They also lived by the tenants of the eight Beatitudes as spoken by Christ in his famous Sermon on the Mount.  Essentially, in those Beatitudes, Christ taught pacifism by teaching that if you were meek, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, or are persecuted for righteous sake, you will be rewarded both on earth and welcomed into heaven.  Thus, with these words the concept of martyrdom was created whereby dying for your religion, without resistance, would deliver your soul to heaven.  It was these beliefs in the very violent times during the Roman Empire that gave many people hope; and, as a result, the religion flourished. 

But, then came the 7th Century and the founding of Islam.  Following that, there were Muslim Conquests where Christians (and pagans and Jews) were forced to convert to Islam or be killed, enslaved, or subjugated by taxation.  Unlike Christianity, the Koran taught that any non-believers of Islam (infidels) should be slain.  For example, verse 8:65 of the Koran says this about the infidels: "O Prophet! Exhort the believers to fight. If there are 20 steadfast men among you, they shall vanquish 200; and if there are a hundred, they shall rout a thousand unbelievers, for they are devoid of understanding."  The Prophet Mohammed, himself, was a Military commander in the last 10 years of his life to help increase conversions and obedience to Allah through the Islamic faith.

By 1095, Pope Urban II knew that if he didn't act, the entirety of Christianity could be eradicated by advancing Muslim hoards that were killing and subjugating Christians throughout the former Byzantine and Roman Empires.  For that reason he wrote this text within a broader encyclical which told his Bishops that it was all right to kill in the name of Christ:
I, or rather the Lord, beseech you as Christ's heralds to publish this everywhere and to perse all people of whatever rank, foot-soldiers and knights, poor and rich, to carry aid promptly to those Christians and to destroy that vile race from the lands of our friends. I say this to those who are present, it is meant also for those who are absent. Moreover, Christ commands it.
So, the Crusades were born out of necessity against a religion that was killing Jews and Christians in the name of Allah.  A fact that the President doesn't seem to understand.

By the way.   It is interesting that the Pope used the word "destroy" in his letter to the Bishops.  Obama used the very same word in defining his actions against ISIS.  So, in a way Obama is leading his very own crusades against Muslim radicals in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc.



KORAN commands to kill infidels:

The Quran's Verses of Violence:

Muslim Conquests:

Pope Urban II:

Obama: ISIS must be destroyed, there will be no negotiations:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gallup CEO Calls 5.6% Unemployment Rate a Lie

In a recent opinion piece for, the CEO of Gallup, Jim Clifton, called the current unemployment rate of 5.6% "a lie" because it excludes workers who want to work but, for the lack of job availability, have given up looking.  Thus, the Census Bureau considers them not part of the workforce and excludes them in their tally for the official unemployment rate.  Clifton could have written that same article when talking about the unemployment rate under most modern-day Presidents.  It has always been the case.  Both in good times and bad.  He also goes on to point out that if a person works sporadically or day-works with many days going without work, he/she is still counted as being employed.  Because of these factors, Gallup claims that as many as 30 million workers may fall into the category of not working or looking for work or sporadically working  A number that is substantially higher than the current official 8.7 million unemployed.

This whole issue of not counting workers who aren't looking for work has been debated for years and  believe me, every President probably wants the current system of "official" unemployment reporting to remain as is because it makes them look better. This is truly the case with Barack Obama.  There is no way he wants the American people to know that when you add in those not looking for work, the actual unemployment rate is 11.2% and, not the 5.6% that is being reported.

Also, what you will never hear is the fact that in November 2007, a month before the start of the recession, the official unemployment rate was 4.7% and the unofficial rate was only 8.4%.  That means that the current official unemployment rate is still nearly 20% higher than it was pre-recession; and, almost 35% higher than the unofficial unemployment rate number.  Yet, despite these facts, the President had no problem stating in his recent address, that the "the shadow of the crisis [recession] is passed and the State of the Union is strong".  Of course, I would like him to tell that to the 30 million who are desperately seeking better work or any work that Clifton was referring to in his opinion piece.


The Big Lie: 5.6% Unemployment:

Alternative U6 Unemployment Rate:

Official Unemployment Rate:

Obama: The shadow of crisis has passed:

Our High Federal Debt is Killing Our Economy

Currently, our federal government debt stands above $18 trillion; up from $10.6 trillion when President Obama took office.  By the time he leaves office the debt be another $2 trillion larger and his latest "budget" -- as if spending more than you take in is budgeting -- will tack on another $6 trillion by 2025.  By that year, our federal debt will be at least $26.3 trillion.

The problem with increasingly high national debt is that it is killing this country's economic growth.

To that point, please examine this chart closely:

Click on image to enlarge
What is clearly shown is that, following World War II, we had massive debt that was 120% or 1.2 times (the red line) higher than the total output of our entire economy as measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP); the blue line.  From that point forward, the country worked off that debt with positive budgeting.  Eventually, it decreased to a very manageable 31% of GDP by 1980.  During that time, our economy (GDP) grew at an average annual rate of 3.8%.  Then, Reagan came to office and, during his two terms, the debt-to-GDP ratio went from 32.5% to 53.1% and the average annual GDP growth slowed to 3.6%.

In 1993, Clinton came to office and because of an agreement he made with Newt Gingrich and his "Contract with America," he lowered the debt.  The ratio fell from 64% to 54% and the growth in GDP in his two terms returned to the post war average of 3.8%.  Still, over all, from 1981 to 2000, the average GDP growth was only 3.4%; primarily because of the "H.W." Bush recession.  Then in 2001, 9/11 hit and the U.S. started increasing the debt again with tax cuts and security measures; and, two wars in the Middle East.  Thus, under "W" Bush the debt ratio rose throughout his two terms in office and GDP growth was 1.8%.   Now, spending and debt accelerated under Obama and the debt ratio rose from 64% to over 100% in 2012 (on this chart); 105% as of right now.  GDP growth on his watch was slightly better than Bush at 1.9%.  But, understand that 1.9% included a better than average 2.5% growth in 2014 because of an accounting change that added intellectual property to the methodology in calculating GDP and, which, probably added a full percentage point growth to the 2014 number.  Thus, historical apples-to-apples growth calculation of GDP should have only been 1.5%.

Simply, high debt ratios kill economic growth.  If our economy continues to grow at 1.9% through 2025, the GDP will stand at $21.2 trillion and if out debt rises to the Obama Administration's projected $26.2 trillion, the debt ratio will be 123%.  A ratio higher than after World War II.  But, my guess is that the current 1.9% will fall as the debt ratio continues to rise.

I realize there are some out there who aren't buying the correlation of a high debt ratio to slowed GDP growth.  Then I would point to a country like Italy that has been growing their debt for decades.  In 2013, its debt ratio rose to 130.4% and its GDP growth looks like this:

Clearly, high debt has stymied Italy's economy and, I could show you similar charts for all those European countries that are in financial trouble.  This is why we, as a country, need to stop this debt accumulation because President Obama has already put us above the ratio of 100%. 


President Barack Obama on Monday unveiled a $4 trillion fiscal year 2016 budget that will add more than $6 trillion to the national debt over the next 10 years:

Obama Wants Huge Spending Hike As Debt Tops $18 Trillion:

Projected Debt in 2025 Due to Obama's Budget: $26.3 Trillion:

Debt Clock:

Debt under Reagan:

Really? The Fastest Growth In GDP Since 2003?:

Italian government debt - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Greece still bust, Spain depressed, Italy paralysed:


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Obama Equates The Islamic State to Catholicism

At the annual National Prayer Breakfast,  President Obama said this about the Islamic State: "brutal, vicious death cult". As usual, he never once called them Islamic extremists or terrorists.  Now, they are simply a type of "cult".  Then, he went on to talk about the fact that there are other terrible things going on in the world in the name of religion.  But, what has a lot of people upset are the words that followed those remarks:
"And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ."
By saying that, he basically gave Christianity (specifically Catholicism) the moral equivalency of the Islamic State.  Make no mistake about it, this was a direct and  quite intentional slam against the Catholic Church.  An institution that most liberals, like Obama, hate because of its stand on gays, abortion, and same sex marriage.

This is not the first attack on, or proof that, Obama is at war with Catholics.  His mandate for contraception availability under ObamaCare was a direct hit against the Church's stand on contraception and and the morning-after pill.  He could have used his pen to give Catholic institutions an exemption to the mandate but, instead, he prefers to wage war with the Church in our courts over this mandate.

But, don't just think its Catholics that he doesn't like.  Remember his "clinging to their guns and bibles' comment.  In essence, President Obama pretty much doesn't like Christianity at all.  This, even though he claims to be one.


Obama calls ISIS ‘brutal, vicious death cult’:


America's Most Biblically-Hostile US President - WallBuilders:

Friday, February 6, 2015

As Many as 40% of our Nation's Pre-School Children are at Risk for Measles

Ever since the 1970's, the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine has been administer in the United States as part of the standard pediatric vaccination schedule.  The initial vaccine is typically administered at age one followed by a booster shot at age 4 or 5; just before starting school.

Like the polio vaccine, the MMR campaign to vaccinate all children was so effective that the number of measels cases fell from the hundreds of thousands to just 200 cases in the 16 years from 1997 to 2013. As a result, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) declared it essentially eradicated in the U.S. in 2000.

But, today, we have a serious return of measles.  In 2014, there were 640 cases; and, thus far this year, there are 102 confirmed cases in 14 states with no let-up in sight.

Could we be on the verge of an epidemic?  Maybe.  And, the reason is simple.  Too many parents are electing to either delay vaccinations or skip them all together.  In fact, a 2009 study found that 40% or more than 11,000 parents with children aged 24 to 35 months had gone without the scheduled age-one vaccinations.  Given the fact that about 4 million babies are born each year in this country, at least 4.8 million children under the age of 3 are without protection against measles every year; and, millions more who have either delayed vaccination well past the age of three or who will never allow their children to be vaccinated.

So, why are so many parents leaving their children at risk to contract a disease in which 3 in 10 cases have serious complications or even death?

Well, the genesis of not vaccinating is based on a very dishonest and flawed 1998 study in the United Kingdom done by a physician by the name Andrew Wakefield.  He attempted to make a connection between autism and MMR vaccination, basing his entire study on the fact that the parents of 12 children said that their children were diagnosed with autism right after they were vaccinated.  That's right. Just 12 children.  With no attempt to confirm that children who were not vaccinated also developed autism.  But, for a parent with an autistic child -- like Hollywood celebrity Jenny McCarthy -- this was all she needed to explain her child's condition.  So, in 2007, she became an activist against vaccinations.  And, because of her hundreds of appearances on TV and speaking engagements, millions of parents became convinced that vaccines cause autism.  Even though the Wakefield study had been fully discredited, there is still a growing belief that vaccines cause autism. This despite noted medical data and studies that prove otherwise. It also didn't help that, during the 2008 presidential campaign, both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton implied vaccinations may have a connection to autism.  Barack even said the research was "inconclusive".

Now, I'm not a doctor or research scientist who has studied autism, but there is a simple statistical fact that dispels the connection to vaccines.  If the number of parents not vaccinating their kids has risen to a level of of at least 40%, why then has the incidence of autism doubled in just the 10 years from 2000 to 2010.  According to the CDC,  in 2000, 1 in 150 children had autism by the age of 8.  In 2010, that statistic jumped to 1 in 68; a doubling.  Thus, lowering the rate of vaccination did not produce lower rates of autism.  For that reason, I think that parents are unnecessarily putting their children at risk for measles and the other ten serious diseases that they should be vaccinated for.


MMR Vaccine History:

Measles Cases So Far This Year Show Sign Of Disturbing Trend:

Parental delay or refusal of vaccine doses...and the Health Belief Model:

CDC's Measles Page:

CDC's Autism Page:

CDC Study Shows No Vaccine, Autism Link:

Hillary Clinton, Obama entangled in vaccines debate as old comments resurface:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

ObamaCare Is Putting Millions At Financial Risk

Before I begin, ask yourself this: Could you and your family afford a $6,600 or, even worse, a $13,200 financial hit this year?  Well, you might have to if you buy your health insurance in the ObamaCare exchanges.

Two years ago, President Obama, in defense of his namesake and signature healthcare law, said this: “No one should go broke just because they get sick.” Sadly, this is another example of the "if you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor" lie.

According to an entry placed in the Federal Register by the Obama Administration, an estimated 93 million Americans -- mostly middle class and mostly employer-subsidized -- will lose their then-current health insurance and be forced into buying it through the state or federal ObamaCare "exchanges".  In doing so, most will lose policies which are low cost; have low deductibles; and, where the employee typically only pays 20% of the bill after the deductible is met.

In a review of 2014 employer-subsidized policies by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average worker paid $4,823 for their insurance and, the average deductible was only $1,217.  Also, most plans (54%) have an annual out-of-pocket limit of about $3,000 per individual and double that per family.  Another 10% have limits of $1,500/3,000 a year.  The remainder may have limits as high as $5,000; but, in doing so, that is also the maximum out-of-pocket expense.  In return for the high deductible, the insured pay extremely low premiums.  Generally, these are called catastrophic policies.

So, how do those statistics stack up against the supposedly "affordable" polices sold under the Affordable Care Act (aka ObamaCare)?

First of all, ObamaCare policies come in four flavors -- Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum -- with the Bronze plans being the most "affordable".  Every one of these plans has the same maximum annual out-of-pocket limit of $6,600 per individual; and, $13,200 per family.   That fact, alone, forces insurers to tinker with the cost of premiums, deductibles, ans cost sharing percentages in order to get the same amount of money out of you, no matter which plan, for your particular coverage age and the ages of your family.  So, in essence, you are better off just buying the cheaper Bronze plan.

Now, I have already shown that the annual out-of-pocket cost is substantially higher than any of the employee-provided policies.  But, the deductibles, too, are a lot higher.  The average deductible for the Bronze plans in 2014 was $5,181 per individual; and, $10,545 per family.  That's more than 4 times higher than the average employer insurance deductible of  $1,217.  Its these two factors -- the deductible and the out-of pocket -- that are putting millions of Americans at financial risk.

To understand this, you need to know that Americans aren't big savers.  The average middle class family only has about $20,000 in savings; theoretically for retirement. And, of course, people in the lower middle class probably have less and tend to live from paycheck to paycheck.  So, having a deductible of $1,217 and an out-of-pocket cap of between $1,500 and $3,011 in the event that an individual or family member is really sick will probably put a dent in savings but, nowhere near the dent that ObamaCare will make.  With the average deductible at $5,181 or the maximum per individual out-of-pocket expense being $6,600, we are talking about wiping out one-third of the average middle class family's savings and it could literally leave lower income people with empty bank accounts.  But, what if two people in a family get seriously ill?  Do you really think they can afford a $13,200 out-of-pocket expense?  And, what if one or more family members have two seriously ill years?

In my opinion, ObamaCare is putting millions at serious financial risk by forcing them into insurance policies that they can't afford.  Many will have to either file bankruptcy, take on hefty personal loans, or sell assets because of the healthcare debt that they will incur when someone in the family gets seriously ill.  Others will see large chunks of their retirement savings erased.  And, don't think a lot of this can't happen to a large number of people.  An E.R. visit for a sprained ankle costs, on average, $1498.  But, if surgery is required, the tab could be as high as $24,000.   A kidney stone costs an average of $4,247 to treat; with the high end cost for advanced diagnosis and medical treatment being $39,408.   A serious headache could cost as much as $17,421.

So, once again, Obama is telling you what he thinks you want to hear and not the truth. Never once did he ever directly say that ObamaCare will keep you from going broke.  He simply stated that  “No one should go broke...”  Then, he allowed you to make that false mental connection.  This way, if you do go broke, he can say he never promised that you wouldn't.


White House Blog: Weekly Wrap Up: “No one should go broke just because they get sick”:

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

Employer-Sponsored Family Health Premiums Rise 3 Percent in 2014:

2014 Employer Health Benefits Survey:

Forbes: In Obamacare, Go For Bronze Health Plans:

Bronze Plan Statistics:

Middle-class adults have $20K saved for retirement:

An average ER visit costs more than an average month’s rent:


Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Obama's Attempts to Turn the U.S. Into a European-Style Welfare State

For decades, western European countries have increasingly become what are known as welfare states.  By that, I mean that most of them use wealth redistribution (taxing the rich) in order to provide hefty and numerous social welfare programs such as universal free healthcare, social security, and welfare pay to those in poverty.  Some countries even provide free tuition for higher education.  Also, there are heavy mandates placed on businesses such as the promotion of collective bargaining and a guaranteed minimum wage.

Now, if all this sounds familiar, it is Barack Obama's philosophy in a nutshell.  Mr. "free" for some but not all.  What he wants is the Europeanisation of the United States.  But, while the President is trying to spend this country in to more and more debt for social programs such as free community college, Europe is trying to extricate itself from the massive debt that these programs have caused.  So, as a result, many European countries are reversing the existence of wide-spread social programs through something they refer to as "austerity".

Lots of social programs are fine until a recession hits. When the Great Recession in the U.S. spread to Europe, it sent its heaviest socialized countries reeling.   Countries, who today, are still in trouble since the recession ended years ago.  Probably, the best indicator of how troubled some of them are is their youth (15-24 years of age) unemployment rates.  After all, they are supposed to be the future of any country.  In Greece, the youth unemployment rate is an astounding 58.4%.  Spain isn't far behind that at 57.3%.  Then, there's Italy at 39.7%;  Portugal 37.8%;  Ireland 26.7%; and, France at 23.7%.  Only Germany is doing well at 7.8%.  In the U.S., youth unemployment is still historically high at 15.8%; though nothing like most of our socialized friends in Europe.

Poverty, too, is high throughout the European Union (EU) and its member states.  While the poverty rate in this country is about 14.5%,  the EU has a collective rate of 16.4%.  And, poverty is on the rise as austerity programs kick in.  Simply, too many Europeans were on the government dole through social programs.  Remove or reduce those programs and more and more people fall into poverty.  Thus, there is a rising backlash against the continuation of austerity programs; resulting in the potential of more European countries become leftist.  A fact that will only deepen debt and dependence on the government.  Except for the rich. Of course!

Basically, Europe is telling us what "not" to do and, Obama and his Democrats aren't listening.  Taxing the rich and giving people a lot of free stuff is putting us at the kind of risk that Europe, now, finds itself in.  In 2014, our top 1% will paid 37% of all taxes; while only earning 19% of this nations wages/incomes.  The top 10% pay 71% of all the taxes.

When recessions hit, rich people also take a hit on their incomes from their investments or companies they may own.   They, also, can lose their jobs as companies go under. As a result, taxes fall and debt increases.  That is what happened in Europe and that is what the President is setting this country up for in the future by making us too dependent on too few rich incomes.  In light of all this, there is an old saying that definitely bears repeating:  "Social programs are a lot like a big red [communist/socialist] wagon.  At some point, you get to a place where there's too many people riding in that wagon and not enough people left behind to pull it."


European social model:

Welfare State:

The European Welfare State and Its Lessons for America:

Youth Unemployment by Country:

Discussion:  Why do Europeans come to the US when college is free over there:

Up to 25 million more Europeans at risk of poverty by 2025 if austerity drags on:

Europeanisation - Wikipedia:

Enough With European Austerity, Bring on the Stimulus:

A radical left-wing party that is demanding an end to Greece's painful austerity measures won Sunday's parliamentary elections:

Poverty in Europe: the Current Situation:

2014 Tax Day Chart: Who Pays the Most?:

The Rich Are No Longer Recession-Proof - Newsweek:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

The Paradox of Weak Retail Sales & Durable Goods and the Surprising Consumer Strength In GDP

The Reuters headline on the latest GDP report was: "US economy cools in fourth quarter, but consumer spending shines."

What that headline refers to is these two sentences regarding consumer spending from the summary section of the fourth quarter Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report for the last quarter of 2014:
Real personal consumption expenditures increased 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with an increase of 3.2 percent in the third. Durable goods increased 7.4 percent, compared with an increase of 9.2 percent.
I have difficulty understanding where all this growth came from in personal consumption and durable goods purchases.  That's because separate monthly reports on retail sales and durable good orders tell a completely different story.

First, let's take a look at a chart of the percent of increase/decrease from month-over-month for retail sales (which is a component of personal consumption expenditures).
From this graphic, you can see retail sales fell by nearly a full percentage point in December.  In the prior two months, which rounds out the fourth quarter, month-over-month increases were both less than 1/2 percent each. In essence, retail sales for the fourth quarter, when averaged, were actually down slightly.  So, if consumer spending at the cash register was so weak, how is it that overall consumption was able to come in at an increase of 4.2% from the previous quarter?   Well, the only real explanation is that all the other consumables that don't make up retail sales -- like healthcare and insurance on your house and car -- had to have seen some serious inflation in the fourth quarter.  But, that too is in conflict with this statement on inflation in the same GDP report:
The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents, decreased 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter, in contrast to an increase of 1.4 percent in the third.
As the report states, there was no inflation because gross prices actually fell; and, that fact alone makes is even harder to explain the 4.2% increase in consumption.

Then, there's the durable goods order increase of 7.4%.  So you understand, durable goods are things we or companies buy that last a long time.  Things like aircraft and appliances like refrigerators or stoves.  But, again, this huge increase doesn't jive with individual monthly reports on durable goods orders growth.
As you can easily see, every monthly change in durable goods orders was negative from August through December.  Call me crazy, but it is a little hard to add up a bunch of negatives and get a positive 7.4%.

In my mind, the only reason that this report wasn't negative for GDP growth was because of the hard-to-believe strength in personal consumption and durable goods ordering.  Now, the people who put this report together have 3 more months to revise their data.  Could it be that this report was purposely "adjusted" this first time around so as not to embarrass their boss, Barack Obama, after he made such a big thing of the economy in the State of the Union address?  We'll see if future revisions are downward.

US economy cools in fourth quarter, but consumer spending shines:

Gross Domestic Product: Fourth Quarter and Annual 2014 (Advance Estimate):

Obama heralds economic recovery in State of the Union: