Thursday, June 30, 2016

Don't Expect Hillary's Infrastructure Plan to Boost the Economy

Hillary Clinton claims that she has 5 ideas that will fix the economy.  Of course, implying that it needs fixing may be a shock to President Obama who is proud of his managing of it. At the top of her list is to "create jobs with a big government investment in infrastructure."  Thus, she is proposing that, in her first 100 days as President, she would enact a $275 billion infrastructure spending bill.  Apparently on her own; as if Congress would have nothing to say about it.

While $275 billion sounds like a lot of money, it won't create a lot of jobs because most of the money spent on infrastructure goes to materials and land acquisitions, not labor.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, only 316,780 workers are employed in the Highway, Street, and Bridge industry with an annual average wage of $52,750.  But, understand, that wage number is high because it includes executives, managers, and engineers who are paid more than double that amount.  Highway maintenance personnel are only paid, on average, $38,440 a year. Even so, if you do the simple math of multiplying the number of workers by the higher average wage, you will find that, at best, a total of $17 billion goes to wages.

On the other hand, according to the Congressional Budget Office, $416 billion was spent on infrastructure in 2014.  Therefore, the cost of labor represents just 4% of all infrastructure spending.  

The reality is that we do have an infrastructure problem in this country that sorely needs to be dealt with.  Estimates are that between $3 and $4 trillion will be needed to repair our crumbling streets and bridges. However, lets not mislead people into thinking that the repairs will create some type of big jobs program because it won't.  Also understand, that infrastructure projects provide, by design, short term employment that won't sustain the economy.  We have a $17-1/2 trillion economy.  Spending $275 billion over 2 or 3 years is "sofa change" when compared to the big picture.

This is just another example of how Hillary has no idea how to grow the economy.  Another one of her "5 ways" is the increases taxes for the rich.  As if that will result in some kind of an economic boost.  I really have to scratch my head on that one!


Hillary Clinton's 5 ideas to fix the U.S. economy:

Highway, Street, and Bridge industry:

Highway Maintenance Industry:

Trends in Federal Infrastructure Spending:

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Did Britain Have Its Own Version of the Boston Tea Party?

When the American colonies broke from British rule, it was all about "taxation without representation".  Angry over the tax on imported tea from Britain, several colonists known as the Sons of Liberty staged the now famous Boston Tea Party by dumping chests of the tea into Boston's harbor.

Interestingly, the recent vote by the British to exit the European Union has some very interesting parallels to our own break with British rule.

While our rallying cry was "taxation without representation", the Brits complained of being ruled by "unelected bureaucrats" in Brussels.  A somewhat similar complaint.  But, there's one more thing.  Interestingly, the EU was on the verge of banning the Brits beloved electric tea kettles.  As a result, this became the symbol of the Brexit vote.  Once again, tea was at the heart of the objection to excessive rule.

Maybe the British should have remembered the American Revolution before they originally agreed to join the European Union.  A lesson that apparently went unlearned.


Boston Tea party:

Brexit may be the start of something big. 'Unelected bureaucrats in Brussels controlling individual countries clearly is not working':

How a Ban on Tea Kettles Could Drive Britain to a Brexit:

EU bureaucrats want your tea and toast. Arm yourself with a Dyson:

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Really? Obama Speaks at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

At last Friday's opening of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Palo Alto, President Obama said that "entrepreneurship is the engine of growth".  Well, that's interesting, because during his presidency, entrepreneurship has been woefully slow.  To that point, I present the following chart from the Kauffman Foundation, that has been tracking the growth of entrepreneurship in this country for nearly two decades.

As this chart shows, business startups peaked in 2009; despite the recession.  But, since then, have fallen to below the norm for the last 5 years.   While 2015 saw an improvement, we are still creating fewer businesses than we should be.  Just as was the case when, in 2003, business startups dipped below the zero line as a result of the post 9/11 recession.  However, this recent dip in 2014 -- 5 years past the end of the recession -- has been twice as bad as that of 2003. Its not that "ideas" for new businesses don't exist. I merely think that the economy is unable to provide the funding for those ideas to be turned in reality. 

This is just another reason why Barack Obama will go down in history as the fourth worst President when it comes to the economy.  I personally believe that Dodd-Frank's heavy hand on mortgage lending is the reason for the lack of business startups, because often, people were able to borrow against their homes in order to start a new business.  Now those lending requirements are very tight.


Obama, Zuckerberg promote entrepreneurship at global summit at Stanford University:

Startup Activity Report, Charts & Graphs:

Barack Obama's Sad Record on Economic Growth:

What is the Dodd-Frank Act? How does it affect me? | Investopedia:

Monday, June 27, 2016

Why the "No-Fly No-Buy" Proposal is So Wrong

Last December, Barack Obama said it was "insane" that people on the No-Fly List could buy guns.  Of course, to the average person, this sounds perfectly logical.

Following the Orlando massacre, the Democrats in Congress, and I might add, Donald Trump are pushing for a bill that would automatically deny you the ability to buy a gun if you appear on the No-Fly List,the Terrorist Watch List or, the Selective Screening List.

However, the most glaring problem is the lack of "due process" before you are placed on any one of these lists, and the similar lack of "due process" when trying to get off if you were erroneously added. 

In fact, various federal agencies, such as the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), or the TSA, can just put you on a list without your knowing.  And, God help you if you have a name similar to someone already on a list, or you appear because of some  clerical error. Most people only find out when attempting to board a plane.

In fact, in 2004, the senior Democrat in the Senate, Ted Kennedy, found himself on the "No-Fly" list.  Also, back in December, Democratic Congressman Stephen Lynch disclosed that an investigation found that 72 personnel from the Department of Homeland Security were on the Terrorist Watch List.  Even Nelson Mandela appeared on it in 2008.  Also, Fox News contributor Stephen Hayes found himself on the watch list because he had a one-way ticket to Turkey in order to join a Mediterranean Cruise that ended in Greece. It took 7 months of wading through bureaucracies to get himself cleared.  Then, there's Congressman John Lewis, who participated in last week's sit in to vote on the "No-Fly No-Buy" legislation.  He of all people should know the system is flawed since he found himself on that list for a year.  Of course, these are notable cases.  How many less affluent people are effected and have far less capability to correct the error. Yet, the Democrats believe this is a sure way to get killers off our streets.

While the aforementioned examples are some of the most glaring errors, there may be hundreds or even thousands of Americans who may find themselves wrongly deprived of their rights because of this.  We don't know how many because in most cases the lists, themselves, are secret except to the agencies who use and own them.  This is why the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has condemned the proposal to link the "No-Fly" list to the background check system for buying a firearm. Even the FBI doesn't want this used to block gun purchases.  Their rationale is that it would signal an ongoing investigation should a would-be terrorist decide to buy a gun.

The bottom line is that "No-Fly No-Buy" is another bad idea for gun control.  Another attempt by Democrats trying to do something, anything, to keep guns out of the hands of  Americans; even if their rights are being violated.  Lastly, neither the Orlando massacre nor the San Bernadino shootings would have been prevented by the "No-Fly No-Buy" proposal. None of those people were on the No-Fly List since the FBI had already closed any investigations of them.


Obama: It's 'insane' that people on the 'no-fly' list can buy guns:

Sen. Kennedy Flagged by No-Fly List:

72 DHS Employees on Terrorist Watch List:

How A Journalist [Stephen Hayes] Ended Up On A Terror Watch List : NPR:

8 Ways You Could (Easily) End Up On The No-Fly List:

No-fly nightmares: The program's most embarrassing mistakes:

Why Nelson Mandela was on a terrorism watch list in 2008:

ACLU: Until the No Fly List Is Fixed, It Shouldn’t Be Used to Restrict People’s Freedoms:

The ACLU rightly rejects the No Fly List for gun control:

DOJ overrules FBI on gun sales debate, says no-fly list can be used for ban:

Democrats end House sit-in protest over gun control:

Friday, June 24, 2016

Why Guns Make Us Safer In Our Homes -- Even if You Don't Own One!

Our government is awash with statistics on almost any topic.  When it comes to guns, the FBI and CDC can tell us how many people are killed by firearms each year.  The FBI even breaks the homicide data down by type of gun.  But, one thing that we don't know is how many times guns are used defensively and how they are a deterrent to crime.  While there may be some independent studies, they're usually, at best, only estimates.

One way we can get a taste of how guns are a deterrent, is to compare burglaries in this country---where there are more guns than there are people -- to those in England, where there are strict gun controls.  To do this we will compare "hot" burglary rates.  A "hot" burglary takes place when someone is at home at the time of the burglary.  In this country  "hot burglaries" are typically known as "home invasions".

In the United States, just 10% of burglaries are "hot".  In England, 50% of all burglaries are "hot" and on the rise.  Also, the biggest problem in England is that 59% of "hot" burglaries result in violence or the threat of violence.  On the other hand, in the U.S., only 26%  result in violence. 

The simple reality is that burglars are less likely to enter a house with someone at home if there is the possibility that person may be armed.  This fact was born out in a study titled Armed and Considered Dangerous: A Survey of Felons and Their Firearms that was published in 1986.  It found that 40% of felons avoided committing a crime when they thought the victim might be armed.  Another study said that 74% of felons said they avoided burglaries for fear of being shot.  Also, it is safe to assume that the lower rates of violence (26%) are probably a result of the person at home confronting a burglar with a firearm.

Just some food for thought for Democrats who are so eager to control guns in this country.  This is not to say that high-capacity weapons -- 10+ rounds or greater -- shouldn't be controlled in some fashion but, let's leave defensive weapons alone.  In this way, we all benefit from guns, especially when burglars don't know if you have one or not.


An Englishman's home is his dungeon:

Burglary victims attacked in their own home once every 30 minutes:

Victimization During Household Burglary:

Crime and Guns:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

On Protecting Dodd-Frank, Hillary Should Keep an Eye On Obama

From Hillary Clinton's own "Issues" page, regarding Wall Street, she says this:
Hillary will:
  • Veto Republican efforts to repeal or weaken Dodd-Frank.
  • Tackle dangerous risks in the big banks and elsewhere in the financial system.
  • Hold both individuals and corporations accountable when they break the law.
Well, maybe Hillary should have a talk with her old boss, Barack Obama, about how he's pushing "risks" again in the housing market.  The same risks that caused the housing crisis in the first place.

By going around Dodd-Frank, The President has directed the FHA to force banks to give mortgages to people with substantially less credit worthiness, because Dodd-Frank makes no stipulation about credit scores or minimum down payments.  So, here we are again with the kind of low down payments of just 3% that caused the housing collapse because, once again, a Democrat wants increased home ownership for low income families.  Just like when Bill Clinton was President.  A fact that Hillary Clinton never seems to mention.

I think she should stop worrying about the Republicans weakening Dodd-Frank and worry more about liberals skirting the rules of that law.  In fact, my guess is that she would just follow Obama down that same risky housing lending path should she became President.  Obama and Hillary love to blame Republicans for the housing crisis, but it has always been the Democrats whose hands are bloodied on this one.


Hillary Issues: Wall Street:

Obama administration pushes banks to make home loans to people with weaker credit:

Subprime Mortgages On March Again, As Obama Pressures Easier Lending:

Wells Fargo launches 3% down payment mortgage:


Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Men's Incredible Loss of Earnings

For months now, Hillary Clinton has been complaining that women only make 77 cents on the dollar compared to men.  Of course, in typical Hillary fashion, the number is a distortion. It is only true if considering all of women's earnings; including part time pay.  When part time pay is excluded, for both men and women, the actual number is 83 cent on the dollar per the latest 2014 reporting.

What Clinton should be more worried about is the decline in men's wages since 1979.
Click on Image to Enlarge or Click link below
Based on the above graph from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women have done substantially better than men.  Actually, women only saw negative wage growth for those  with less than a high school degree.  Even so, their decline was 3 times less that of men. On the other hand, except for those with college degrees, men have seen their wages decline since 1979.
Click on Image to Enlarge

The fact is, that men made the most in weekly earnings in 1979 at $405.  As of the end of 2015, their earnings were only $380.  The lowest wage paid since 1979 occurred at the end of Bill Clinton's second year in office at only $348.


Source of first chart: Page 5 of Highlights of women’s earnings i n 2014:

Source of second chart:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

California Is Proving That The 1994 Crime Bill Worked

In 1993, America's violent crime and homicides hit all time records.  In response, the then-President Bill Clinton signed into law the massive "Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994".  Known simply today as the Crime Bill of 1994.

While the bill had many provisions, those that provided mandatory minimum sentences and the 3-strikes rule have come under fire in recent years.  The reason is that these provisions have been blamed for the overcrowding of our prisons.  This problem, known politically as "mass incarcerations," has been a key issue for the likes of Hillary Clinton who wants to, according to her website: "End the era of mass incarceration, reform mandatory minimum sentences, and end private prisons". Even her husband, who signed the Crime Bill, has publicly stated his regrets for that law.  Both bowing to the pressures being exerted by activists in this election year.

Of course, leave it to Californians to take matters into their own hands and reduce their "mass incarceration" problem with the passage of the ballot initiative known as "Proposition 47" and the passage of Assembly Bill "AB109".  The result of which made certain that some crimes would be downgraded to misdemeanor status with only limited jail time rather than  prison; and that other prisoners would see early releases.

While California may have seen their prison overcrowding problems reduced, in Nevada -- especially in Clark County where Las Vegas is situated -- crime is going through the roof, The murder rate in Clark County is double what it was last year. California's leniency in sentencing, is at least partly to blame.   That's because many of the newly arrested were from California, and were also beneficiaries of Proposition 47 and AB109.  Also, Los Angeles, too, has seen its crime rate spike.  But, supporters of Proposition 47 point out that spiking crime rates exist in many major cities such as Chicago, and therefore, "47" shouldn't be singled out as the reason.

Here's the simple fact.  The study by the Bureau of Justice statistics found that 56% of those arrested for violent crimes had prior arrest records.  Thus, if you "early out" criminals, there is definitely going to be a higher incidence of crime; and especially murder.  I think California is definitely proving that the 1994 Crime Bill was the right thing to do.   Especially when you consider that gun-related murders in this country, have fallen from 18,253 in 1993 to 8,124 in in 2014.  A 75% reduction.

Do we really want to go back to the good old days of 1993 by putting criminals back on the streets?


Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994:

Bill Clinton renounces his 1994 crime bill:

Hillary Clinton on the Issues: Criminal Justice Reform:

California Proposition 47:

Overview of AB109:

Las Vegas Blames California For Spike In Crimes:

Homicides increase 100 percent in Clark County between 2015 and 2016:

Here's Where L.A.'s Biggest Crime Increases Are Happening:

Bureau of Justice Statistics:

Gun related murders 1993:

FBI: Murder Victims By Weapon Type:

Monday, June 20, 2016

America's Politics of Religion

America was founded on religious freedom by those who escaped religious persecution in other countries.  The phrase "Under God" appears consistently on our currency, and is integral to our Pledge of Allegiance.  However, God may be less important to Americans, today than He was even in 2007.  As the following chart shows, the percentage of those who were not affiliated with any religion has risen from 16% in 2007 to 23% in 2014.

Within that rise of unaffiliated, the percentage of Atheists rose from 1.6% to 3.1% and those who consider themselves Agnostic rose from 2.4% to 4% over that same 7 year period.  In general, members of mainstream religion are losing steam to non-believers:

The fact is simple, the country is becoming increasingly secular.  Evangelicals, Protestants, and Catholics are all in decline. As such, the Democrat party seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the decline with 28% of the party being non-affiliates.  How this will play out in this year's election is anyone's guess.  But, on the surface, it looks as if the Democrats are gaining in the size of their electoral base.


Secular Voters Raise Their Voices - WSJ:

America’s Changing Religious Landscape: Christians Decline Sharply as Share of Population; Unaffiliated and Other Faiths Continue to Grow:

Americans are less Christian, more atheist and agnostic: Pew survey:


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Tax Payer Money for Illegal Alien Healthcare?

One provision of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) says this:
Section 1332 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits a state to apply for a State Innovation Waiver to pursue innovative strategies for providing their residents with access to high quality, affordable health insurance while retaining the basic protections of the ACA.
State Innovation Waivers are available beginning January 1, 2017.  State Innovation Waivers are approved for five-year periods, and can be renewed.  Waivers must not increase the Federal deficit.
Well, it now appears that California is poised to take advantage of this provision by submitting a waiver request that would allow illegal aliens to buy insurance in California's ObamaCare exchange.  California expects that this waiver would benefit 50,000 of the state's 2.6 million illegals.  The state is emphasizing that subsidies are not being requested  along with this waiver. The hope is that this will be reviewed and approved after January 1, 2017 and before Obama leaves office on January 20, 2017.

In my opinion, this is less about helping illegals get access to health insurance and more about helping the state's Democrat in an election year.

First of all, the number being helped by such a waiver is quite small, at less than 2% of the Illegal population of California.   I also think that the estimate of 50,000 is still too high because the cost of healthcare premiums -- without subsidies -- will make this insurance unaffordable for most illegals.  But never mind that. Some believe that this waiver request is a migration strategy that will lead to illegals getting federal subsidies in just a few years. Also, illegals may not want to buy insurance in the exchanges for fear of exposure.

Right now, California's 2.6 million illegals are getting their healthcare -- for free -- by simply going to any hospital that accepts Medicaid patients by taking advantage of the federal law known as the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA).  That law allows any foreign national to receive healthcare regardless of their ability to pay.  So, why would they give up free for paid healthcare in the exchanges?

If illegals do get federally subsidized insurance, it will be another broken promise by President Obama who, in 2009, said this:
“There are also those who claim that our reform efforts would insure illegal immigrants. This, too, is false. The reforms that I’m proposing would not apply to those who are here illegally.”
Again, this is all about politics and about Democrat's hopes that Hispanics remain a solid voting block for them; both in this year and in the future.  Their biggest hope is that, someday, 10 million illegal Hispanics will become citizens and, as such, instant Democrats.


California Could Become the First State to Expand Coverage to Illegal Immigrants Under Obamacare:


Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act:

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Should High Capacity Firearms Be Licensed?

What we know about the Orlando massacre is that the shooter used a "223" AR-15 to do most of the damage.  He legally bought it by passing a background check. For those who don't know, the AR-15 and all of its variants is essentially the civilian version of the military's M-16, and has standard magazine capacities of 20 and 30 rounds.  That's a lot of shots available to someone who wants to kill a lot of people. Larger magazines are also available.

The normal argument for owning one or more of these high capacity military-style weapons is "for self defense".  Arguing that there are bad guys out there with similar capability.  This is a reasonably sound argument since Americans have bought tens of millions of them.  Others say they are just gun enthusiasts who want them as part of their personal collections.

However, because of the widespread killing power of the AR-15 and other weapons like them, I think that a new federal license coupled with a more thorough background check should be required before a purchase can even be attempted.  Perhaps, even a mandatory interview by the FBI or other law enforcement agency. Additionally, there should be an enforced waiting period of two weeks or more before a dealer surrenders the weapon to its new owner. Also, the number of high capacity magazines should be limited to only two purchases per year.

These restrictions would not bar qualified individuals from owning these guns, and, as such, would not be a violation of one's 2nd Amendment rights. It would simply put qualifying time and purchase limits on buyers so that those who intend to kill would be stopped or abandon the plan; especially if they have to be interviewed by an FBI agent.  Would this program have prevented the Orlando shooting? I don't know.  People who want to kill will always find some way to do so.  Just look at the Boston Marathon bombings.

Lastly, while high capacity rifles tend to show up in mass shootings, they, themselves, are rarely used in the commission of homicides.  According to the FBI's statistics on homicides by weapon type, out of nearly 12,000 murders in 2014, just 248 victims were killed by rifles (of any kind).  This represents a year-after-year decline since 2010 when 367 were killed by rifles.  The reality is that rifles are not the weapon of choice by murderers because they are difficult to conceal.  Therefore, even if we did ban all assault rifles, the impact on the murder rate in America may only be negligible.


Hillary Clinton Calls For A Ban On AR-15 Rifles After Orlando Massacre:

FBI — Expanded Homicide Data, 2010 to 2014, Table 8:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

What Obama Should Have Done After Orlando

The Orlando massacre was an atrocity akin to an act of war.  Instead of referencing how easy it is to get guns and never once mentioning ISIS (or ISIL?) by name, President Obama should have committed us to at least a doubling of air attacks against ISIS in retaliation.  And, further, pledged even more "in kind" escalations whenever there is a terror attack against this country.

Perhaps then, U.S.-based ISIS supporters will learn that their actions will actually result in a destruction of their own cause.

Reference: Video: President Obama on the Tragic Shooting in Orlando:

Obama Calls Orlando Massacre "Perversions of Islam"

Just one day after we learned of the massacre of LGBT's at a famed nightclub in Orlando, President Obama stated that the killer was inspired by "perversions of Islam".  So, in other words, Muslims have a peaceful opinion of gays.


Then, why do Afghanistan, Brunei, Iran, Mauritania, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, United Arab Emirates and Yemen all have death penalties for homosexual activities?   Apparently, all these Islamic states are perverted.  Especially, our supposed good friends in Saudi Arabia.


LGBT in Islam:

Obama: Orlando Killer Inspired by 'Propaganda and Perversions of Islam' on Internet:

Monday, June 13, 2016

Job Creation and Slow Wage Growth

Click on Image to Enlarge
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nearly 60% of all workers in this country are paid hourly.  But, when I look at the graph above, showing extremely low wage growth for hourly workers since 2009, it tells me that it is nearly half of what it should be.  It also tells me that the economy is suffering from an employment condition known as a "slack workforce".  In other words, there are too many workers chasing too few jobs.  As a result, employers aren't competing with each other to fill jobs and retain personnel through higher wages.

Essentially, organic wage growth all comes down to vigorous job creation which appears to be seriously missing.  There can be several reasons for this.  The lack of funding to create startup businesses and entrepreneurship.  Government over-regulation such as ObamaCare which forces businesses to convert workers to part time employment or to use contract labor.   Or, low wages themselves which results in slow business activity and less job growth.

What I am trying to stress is that, since Obama has been in office, wage growth has been well below normal from about 3.5% to 4.5% annually.  Now, while there has been an up trend that started last year, I believe that it had more to do with the fact that 29 States and the District of Columbia imposed minimum wages higher than the Federal minimum of $7.25. If so, this is not indicative of normal or sustainable growth. Only time will tell if true wage growth is restored to normal levels.


Chart Source: St. Louis Federal Reserve:

What Is an Appropriate Annual Salary Increase?:

Characteristics of Minimum Wage Workers, 2014:

American Entrepreneurship: Dead or Alive?:

Friday, June 10, 2016

35% of Workforce Unemployed in 20 Years

It seems like almost everyday, there are new concerns and warnings about the coming reality of replacing workers with Artificial Intelligence (AI) coupled with robotics.

Now, the latest news comes in a joint report from the consulting firm Deloitte and experts at Oxford University that suggests that 35% of the workforce will be replaced in just 20 years. This is a less aggressive prediction than last year's estimate of a 30% replacement  -- including white collar jobs -- by 2025.

But, supporting those predictions are real life stories that prove we are -- right now -- on the path of high unemployment due to robotics.  In China, the electronics contractor Foxconn Technology Group just announced the replacement of 60,000 factory workers with robots.  At the same time, the former CEO of McDonald's, Ed Rensi, pointed to this year's National Restaurant Show and the number of working robots on display as a forewarning of the future of the restaurant industry; especially fast food.  As he noted, it is cheaper to buy a $35,000 robotic arm to bag fries than to pay someone $15/hour to do the same.  By the way, the annualized salary at $15/hour is $31,000; meaning a ROI (Return on Investment) in just a little over a year.  Even less, if the cost of providing health insurance is added in.

This is just further proof that those pushing a $15 minimum wage are, in fact, pushing the minimum wage worker right off a cliff.  And, once again, the unions are the ones doing the pushing.  In fact, unions have done more to decrease their own membership in the last 50 years; down from 35% of the workforce in 1964 to just 10% today.  Fast food workers should make note of that fact when union workers are picketing outside their workplace for a $15 minimum wage.


Foxconn replaces '60,000 factory workers with robots':

Building robot McDonald's staff 'cheaper' than hiring workers on minimum wage:

Experts predict robots will take over 30% of our jobs by 2025 — and white-collar jobs aren't immune:

Union, not workers, behind push for $15 wage:

The incredible decline of American unions, in one animated map:


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Why Sanders is Doing so Well

Many wonder how a 74-year-old socialist candidate can be doing so well in our capitalist society.  The answer is simple.  Socialism rises out of discontent regarding the economy and jobs.  When people think that they are not getting a fair shake and the rich are getting richer while they keep getting poorer, socialism seems an attractive solution.  Even as flawed as that assumption is, after 7+ years of Obama, those aren't just perceptions...they're realities.

Currently, we have a record 47 million Americans in poverty; and that number rose again in the latest reporting.  Pre-recession the number was 10 million less, at about $37 million.

Then, there is this chart:

As this shows, the bottom 99% saw their incomes rise by less than 1% per year over the first five years of the Obama Administration. To put this into perspective, in 2006 and 2007, wages grew at an average of 4% per year. In the 1970's and 1980's, it was not uncommon for salaries to grow by 8% or 9% or more.

In addition to all of that, the middle class keeps shrinking.  Today, only 45.8% of Americans find themselves in that segment of the population.  Well below the normal target of 50% or more, and certainly below the 53% that were in the middle class in the 1960's.   In fact, the median household's income and buying power is where it was in 1996.  This is also why the greatest contributors to Sanders' campaign are the unemployed.  Nearly 29% of donations are coming from this class of worker.

Simply, the conditions are ripe for the false promises of socialism to take hold and Bernie is the beneficiary.  The American dream is dissolving before our eyes.  What worries me is that, if Hillary Clinton becomes President, we will have another 4 years of Obama's policies and a further decline in wages and the middle class.  Poverty and income inequality will likely continue to rise. If so, America is sure to become a socialist nation in the future.  Mark my words.


Source of Chart: Obama's Economy in 7 Charts: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly:

Poverty in the United States, 2007:

Record 46.7 Million Americans Live In Poverty:

5 Charts That Show How the Middle Class Is Disappearing:

The Shrinking American Middle Class:

Our analysis of nearly 7 million donations offers unprecedented detail about the army that's funded his insurgent campaign:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

To Hillary: ObamaCare's Price Spike Glitches Are Continuing!

Last December, in an ABC-televised debate, Hillary Clinton defended the fact that healthcare premiums have risen 27% in the last 5 years and deductibles were up 62% in the same period by saying: "I would certainly build on the successes of the Affordable Care Act and work to fix some of the glitches".  In other words, she's referring to the massive spike in costs as simply  "glitches" that will be worked out when she becomes President.

Well, this year will be the fourth enrollment in the Exchanges and the "glitches" aren't just happening again but are also nearly out of control with earliest insurance premium requests for 2017 being submitted to the state regulators ranging from a low of 12% in Washington, D.C. to a high of 46% for the State of New York.  The reason?  Only 25% of insurers operating in the ObamaCare Exchanges were profitable last year.

In addition to the rate increase, many insurers will be bumping up the deductibles to as much as $7,050.  To put that number into perspective, a recent poll by the Associated Press found that two-thirds of Americans would have difficulty coming up with just $1,000 in an unexpected emergency.

Lastly, during that same debate, Hillary also stated “I want us to be absolutely clear about making sure the insurance companies in the private employer policy arena, as well as in the Affordable Care exchanges, are properly regulated so that we are not being gamed."  How can 75% of insurers losing money not be gaming the system?  The reality is that the promised "younger and healthier" enrollees that were supposed to force premiums down just aren't happening because costs are already too high.  Instead, the insurers are having to contend with older and sicker enrollees and massive costs to support their healthcare. And, as premiums continue to rise at these high rates, the trend of younger people staying away from ObamaCare will only continue.

Let's face it.  ObamaCare isn't working. It is not a success, and for Hillary to say she will build on it's "successes" is sheer idiocy. As rate requests keep coming in high, it will be very difficult for her to talk about ObamaCare during this election cycle.


Clinton Calls Obamacare’s Rising Premiums and Health Care Costs ‘Glitches’:

Obamacare Sticker Shock for 2017:

Young people saying 'no' to Obamacare's high premiums:

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Elkhart, Indiana: Obama Touts His Economic Success

Last week, while giving a speech on the economy in Elkhart, Indiana, President Obama said this:
“By almost every economic measure, America is better off than when I came here at the beginning of my presidency. That’s the truth.”
The problem with that statement is that it isn't "the truth".  The folks at Zero Hedge, a business, stock market, and economics site, presented this series of 9 graphs to refute it:

Pink Shading Obama's Term in Office...Click on image to enlarge

This is a President who has increasingly presided over one negative economic record after another.  And, there is another not included in the above records: The highest number of Americans in poverty --  nearly one in seven -- since Lyndon Johnson declared a "War on Poverty" more than 50 years ago.  Also, Obama is slated to have the 4th worst economic record in the history of the country.  Only Herbert Hoover, Andrew Johnson, and Teddy Roosevelt were worse.

This President not only thinks, but knows, that most people will believe his lies because they don't understand all the facets and facts that make up the economy, and aren't interested in researching what he says.  And, for sure, the liberal media isn't going to do their job and expose his lies.


Obama visits Elkhart to discuss economy:

Chart Source: These Are The 9 Zero Hedge Charts Showing "Obama's Recovery" That Angered The Washington Post:

Record 46.7 Million Americans Live In Poverty; Household Income Back to 1989 Levels:

Barack Obama's Sad Record on Economic Growth | RealClearMarkets:

Monday, June 6, 2016

The Downward Trend in Job Creation

Ever since last Friday's May jobs report was released, various economists/analysts have been quick to say that "one month isn't a trend" and this may just be a "fluke" or a "one-off" situation.  The Labor Secretary says the miss is all about 40,000 Verizon workers who are on strike.  Besides the fact that he's inflating the number by 4,000, adding in 36,000 workers would only show that May's numbers would still be low at 74,000 and 61,000 jobs; respectively.  That's half of what April's numbers were, and almost one-fourth of last year's job creation.

Now, I don't know what report those commentators are looking at, but the decline in job creation extends back a year.  Just look at this snap shot from Table B, page 5 of the May Employment Situation Report:

The top line number is Total Non-Farm job's creation which includes governmental.  The lower line is for the Private Sector Non-Farm job creation.  But, in either case, there has been a substantial decrease from the 273,000 or 256,000 jobs that were created a year ago.  And, this month's numbers are a substantial drop from the trend that had developed in the prior two months.

This is why I join a lot of analysts who believe we are heading for a negative labor market contraction  -- maybe as early as next month -- that would indicate a recession.

As far as those commentators, who think this is only a one-off situation, my only guess is that they are trying to soft-peddle this report to either protect Barack Obama's approvals or protect Hillary Clinton's run for the Presidency. Obviously, a recession would be beneficial to Trump running as a successful businessman. 


Labor Secretary Thomas Perez warned that it's important not to overreact to a single bad jobs report

Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted:

A Business Recession Looms:

Friday's bad jobs report is good news for Donald Trump:

36,000 Verizon workers go on strike - Apr. 13, 2016 - CNN Money:

Saturday, June 4, 2016

A Really, Really Ugly Jobs Report

Superficially, the headlines for the May job's report don't look that bad.  38,000 jobs were created and the unemployment rate fell to a post recession low of 4.7% from 5% in April.

However, that 38,000 is the lowest number of jobs created in the last 5 years.  Also understand, that in order to lower the unemployment rate by 3-tenths of a percent from the month prior, 477,000 jobs would have had to be created against April's workforce size of 159.9 million workers.  So, you have to wonder what gives?

Well the "what" that "gives" is that the number of unemployed fell by 484,000, and at the same time, the size of the workforce fell by 458,000.  This tells me that the majority of people who left the workforce were unemployed and have just given up looking for work in frustration.  As such, an unemployed worker who is not looking for work is not counted as  part of the workforce.  This is also why the number of long term unemployed fell by 178,000.  Most likely, because they stopped looking for work and not because they found it.  If they had found work, the number of jobs created would be higher than 38,000.

The bad new doesn't stop there.  The number workers who are working part time because they are not able to find full time work, rose by an amazing 468,000, to a total of 6.4 million.  To put this into perspective, just 4.5 million workers were in this same employment condition in May 2007.

The bottom line is that we have an economy that isn't producing jobs; despite the spin by  President Obama.  We have too many people giving up looking for work and too many people working part time for economic reasons.  If this condition extends into next month, we could be looking at the beginning of a recession.


May 2016 Employment Situation Report:

May 2007 Employment Situation Report:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Katie Couric Continues the Tradition of Gun Control Activist's Lies

One thing I've realized while doing research for this blog is that gun control activists lie because they can't win on facts.

In fact, Katie Couric just followed that tradition by lying in a documentary she recently aired called "Under the Gun".  In a round table discussion with a panel of gun rights advocates, Couric asked "If there are no background checks for gun purchasers, how do you prevent felons or terrorists from purchasing a gun?".  In the aired version, that question is followed by 9 seconds of silence with edited-in video clips of the panel looking perplexed or, as some say, stupid.  However, the real version -- that was edited out -- showed thoughtful responses to the question by the panel members.  But, like most gun control activists, they don't want "thoughtful" or realistic anything regarding gun control.

Take the gun show loophole that Hillary Clinton decries constantly.  There is none.  What she calls the gun show loophole is the fact that any private citizen, per the Brady Bill, can transfer the possession of a firearm to another private party without a background check.  That was an intentional part of the law and not a loophole.   She also claims that 40% of guns sold at gun shows and on the internet are sold without background checks.   There isn't a single study or report that supports that claim.  That statistic is a perversion of a 1994 telephone survey that asked the respondents if they bought their gun from a licensed dealer.  It had nothing to do with background checks because they didn't even exist until 4 years later in 1998. 

A group that calls itself Handgun Control, Inc. claims that 25 to 50 percent of vendors at gun shows don't have federal firearm licenses.  That fact is only true when it includes the  vendors that are not selling guns at the show.  Like those selling hot dogs, hats, t-shirts etc.

Then, Denver congresswoman Diana DeGette said that 70 percent of guns used in crimes come from gun shows.  This is another lie.  The Department of Justice asked 18,000 prison inmates what was the source of the gun they possessed at the time of their arrest.  Only 7-tenths of one percent said it came from a gun show.  The highest response by almost 40% was the "Streets".

Here's the truth in just one graph:

Essentially, gun-related homicides have fallen, while the number of guns owned has risen since 1993. Almost proportionately.  In addition, and not shown on the graph, is the fact that non-fatal gun violence has fallen 68% over the same period.  Also understand that 80% of all crimes are gang related.  Yet, gun control advocates seem to think that it is the average gun owners that are the problem.

Simply, I tune out any talk of gun control because it is almost always based on lies.  Also, our energies would be better focused on gang control and not gun control.


Katie Couric slammed for 'deceptive' documentary about gun rights:

Katie Couric Decried ‘Edited’ Planned Parenthood Footage, Then Doctored A Gun Owner Interview:

The Facts About Gun Shows:

Fact Check: Clinton’s claim that 40 percent of guns are sold at gun shows and over the Internet:

Firearm Use by Offenders:

Source of Graph:

Gangs Blamed for 80 Percent of U.S. Crimes:


Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Hillary's Email Claim: "My predecessors did the same thing"

For months now, Hillary Clinton has been using the kind of excuse for her email server problems that you might hear from a ten-year-old: "my predecessors did the same thing".

Well, now, the recent Inspector General's audit and report on email usage by each Secretary of State since Madeleine Albright is out, and that report says something quite different. Here are the excerpts for each Secretary of State:
  • Secretary Albright (page 20): "...did not find any evidence to indicate that Secretary Albright used either [State] Department or personal email accounts during her tenure".
  • Secretary Powell: (page 21): "...Secretary Powell stated that he accessed the email account via his personal laptop computer in his office [via State Department services], while traveling, and at his residence [via a private line], but not through a mobile device."
  • Secretary Rice (page 22): "...Secretary did not use either personal or [State] Department email accounts for official business."
  • Secretary Kerry (page 25): "...while he has used a personal email account to conduct official business, he has done so infrequently."
So, in essence, Hillary, is, again caught in a lie.  Her only predecessor that used private emails to conduct official business was Colin Powell; and, not the plurality she implies when she says "predecessors".   But, unlike Secretary Clinton, he retained the text of those emails on a laptop that he carried with him at all times and was only hackable while online.  In Hillary's case, those emails existed on a private server, accessible 24/7, which resided in her New York home and was not maintained and monitored at all times for any attempts at hacking.  She also used unsecured mobile devices such as an unmodified Blackberry and iPhone.  We also know that there were hacking attempts in January of 2011.  Yet, she continued to use that server for 2 more years until she left office in 2013.

Clearly, Clinton's email usage had a far larger potential for the abuse of federal regulations and posed a much greater security risk than any Secretary of State; either before or after her tenure.  This whole email server scandal shows her gross incompetence and inability to protect some of the world's most sensitive information.  Just another example of why she shouldn't be President.


[The text of the] State Department report on Clinton's email practices:

Hillary Clinton said 'my predecessors did the same thing' with email:

Clinton email use broke federal rules: inspector's report: