Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Declining State of Home Ownership in the U.S.

Two of the best measures of how affluent a society is, are the percentage of home ownership and the average size of a home.  After years of growth in both of those areas, we are now seeing rapid declines.

In 2004, the percentage of the population that owned their own home peaked at 69.2%.  This was primarily due to the Clinton Administration pushing the banks to extend loans to low income families.   A practice that the "W" Bush Administration eased up on.  Note those facts from the following graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve's economic database:

Click on Image to Enlarge or Use Link Below
Today, the percent of home ownership is still declining at a rapid rate and the decline appears to not be abating.  The reason is simple.  With the median home price at $189,000, not many new buyers can afford the 20% down payment (averaged at nearly $38,000) needed to meet existing mortgage requirements.  To that point, 63% of Americans, in a recent survey, said they couldn't afford to pay a surprise auto repair of just $500.  Also understand, the real median household income is as low as it was almost 20 years ago.  That's a loss of 20 years of buying power since the recession.

The fact that people can't afford to put 20% down on  a home is also the reason that the average home size is falling in order to make homes more affordable.  The average home size hit a record 2,598 sq. feet in 2014; primarily driven by larger new homes.  Today, the average new home is just 2,392 sq. feet; meaning that the average size of all homes will be dragged down.  This loss of slightly more than 200 sq. feet is the equivalent of a room that is 14'x14'.  A significant loss of space.

The truth is that Americans aren't doing well despite what Barack Obama would have you believe.  Is this the "fundamental change" that the President promised us in 2008?


Homeownership Rate In U.S. Drops to the Lowest Since 1965:

Real Median Household Income:

Source of graph:

Most Americans can't handle a $500 surprise bill:

The Median Home Price Is $188,900. Here’s What That Actually Buys You:

Average home size sets new record:

Median new single-family home size shrinks by nearly 3% in Q2:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

A Grim Future For America's Retirees

Recently, the Trustees Report for Social Security and Medicare was released and the news was not good.  Social Security will run out of money in 2034.  Medicare will be insolvent two years earlier than previously stated, with a new date of 2028.  But, this is rosier than the Congressional Budget Office's drop dead date of 2026 that was released early this year.

On top of that bad news, a new report from Pew Charitable Trusts found that, in 2014, State public pension plans were under-funded by $1 trillion.  Three states -- Illinois, Kentucky and New Jersey -- have less than 45% of the funds needed to sustain their State pension plans.  And, only three states -- Wisconsin, Oregon and South Dakota -- have adequate funding to sustain their plans.

The simple fact is that America is aging.  With the lowest birth rates in our history and with people living longer, the sustainability of retirement benefits keeps getting more questionable because there are more people using the benefits than there are contributing to them.  Add to that the fact that wages aren't growing at a fast enough rate to fund Social Security and Medicare through FICA and other payroll deductions.

Despite all of this, the nation's lawmakers continue to sit on their hands while letting the clock run out.  The time to act is right now.  One of the reasons Detroit went bankrupt is because it couldn't afford to pay its pensioners.  The same is true for GM when it was forced into bankruptcy.  Are we now going to see entire states go belly up for the same reason?

God help us if they wait to act when the inevitable happens in 2026 or 2028 and 2034, because at that point, the problem will be too big to fix.  Of course, Hillary Clinton wants to hasten the collapse of Medicare by allowing enrollment 10 years earlier at age 55.  Perhaps we should fix it before we talk about expanding it!


Trustees Report: Status of the Social Security and Medicare Programs:

Trustees' report says Medicare will be insolvent by 2028:

States face pension fund gap approaching $1 trillion:

Average Hourly Earnings:

Birth rate - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

Hillary's war on Medicare is big trouble for seniors | New York Post: 

Monday, August 29, 2016

What Congress Should Do About the Mylan Epipen Price Gouge

Recently, it became known that a pair of life-saving Epipens from Mylan Labs now cost more than $600. Pricing them well out of reach for most of the 50 million families who depend on this drug to counter anaphylaxis (allergic reaction) and potential death; primarily in children.  While Mylan tried to squirm around this price gouge, the public outcry was totally justified, especially when its revealed   that each pen only uses a dollar's worth of epinephrine, and the delivery pen
 itself, only costs a few more dollars to make.  But, since Mylan is the only provider of the Epipen in the U.S., Mylan can charge whatever they want.  Even though the pens, themselves, have been off-patent for years, potential competitors have a costly and difficult time getting them approved through our Food and Drug Administrations.

Interestingly, Canadians have multiple choices; and they are only paying $225.42 in U.S. dollars for a 0.3 mg adult Epipen that they import from the United Kingdom.  So, why can't Congress mandate the importation of Epipens from the United Kingdom at the same price the Canadians are paying for them?  I realize that importing foreign-made drugs is a violation of our laws. It is also required that the Food and Drug Administration be able to inspect manufacturing facilities to insure efficacy and purity.  But, sometimes, it may be necessary to send a message to the drug manufacturers that price gouging won't be tolerated.  I hardly think that an Epipen device, sold both in the United Kingdom and Canada, would be too unsafe a product to sell in the U.S..


EpiPens cost just several dollars to make. Customers pay more than $600 for them:

Canada Drugs: 0.3 Epipens:

Friday, August 26, 2016

Why Sarkozy Will Return as France's Next President

This week, Nicolas Sarkozy announced that next year he will be running as a conservative contender for the presidency of France.   A job he held before being ousted by the current socialist President Francois Hollande in 2012.  But, Sarkozy sees his return as a near shoe-in because of this one chart:

In essence, 88% of France disapproves of Hollande.  With such a high disapproval, even a dog catcher would have a decent chance of winning against him.


Sarkozy announces bid for 2017 presidential race:

Graph Source: Nearly 90 percent of the French now disapprove of their president:

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Lincoln Bedroom and the Clinton Foundation: Same Ol' Same Ol'

Just recently, the Associated Press (AP) revealed that 85 of the 154 people who -- outside of the federal government and who had special, non-State-Department-business access to the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- had all been contributors to the Clinton Foundation.  Quite a coincidence, isn't it?

Well, this shouldn't be any surprise.  It's what the Clinton's do.

Back in 1997, the story broke, that in 1996, Bill Clinton and top aides had a bunch of broad fund raising strategies which included "sleep overs" in the Lincoln Bedroom of the White House.  In fact those "sleep overs"  ultimately, resulted in millions of dollars being funneled to the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

And, those Lincoln Bedroom Buddies are still the gifts that keep on giving.

In February 2008,  49 of the famous "PJ Party" crowd were among the top 200 donors to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign via payments to and through the DNC; each pledging at least $100,000 and some promising at least one million.  Even as late as October of last year, reported that 34 of those still-living Lincoln sleep-over participants were continuing to commit funds for Hillary's second presidential run.

God only knows what will be up for "sale", if and when she actually becomes President.


AP: Many donors to Clinton Foundation met with her at State:

1997: President Had Big Role in Setting Donor Perks:

Lincoln Bedroom Guests Gave $5.4 Million:

2008: Hillary still in bed with ‘96 scandal:

2015: The Lincoln Bedroom Is Still Paying Dividends. Donors who spent the night in the famous bedroom are now writing checks for Hillary Clinton:


Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Recidivism's Role in Mass Incarcerations

A big part of Hillary Clinton's campaign to woo the black vote is to end mass incarcerations; especially for black youth.  On her webpage titled "Criminal Justice Reform" she makes this comment:

What she doesn't seem to understand is that all too many criminals in this country are locked behind a revolving door.  Once released, the rearrest rate is very high.  Note these statistics from our National Institute of Justice:
  • Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
  • Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
  • Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.
  • Property offenders were the most likely to be rearrested, with 82.1 percent of released property offenders arrested for a new crime compared with 76.9 percent of drug offenders, 73.6 percent of public order offenders and 71.3 percent of violent offenders
Most of what contributes to such a high recidivism rate is the lack of any prisoner reform while incarcerated and, at the same time, joblessness when released.   Perhaps some crimes are over-charged, but the fact remains that the crimes were committed and some amount of time must be served.  If prisoners keep getting rearrested, the prison population will remain high.   At the same time, high rates of black unemployment and poverty are just as responsible for high crime rates among this racial group, and that has nothing to do with the criminal justice system.

Simply, much of the crime problem in this country could be solved with better jobs and better standards of living for those now locked in too many low-income and no-income ghettos.  Hillary Clinton has no solution for these realities and their impact on society; just as President Obama has not improved these critical aspects of black communities in this country.


Criminal Justice Reform:

Office of Justice Programs: National Institute of Justice: Recidivism:

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Forget Healthcare Inflation. College Costs are Double That!

One of the people I most enjoy reading is Mark J. Perry who writes some very interesting articles for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).  Mark is a professor of economics and finance for the University of Michigan at Flint.

In one of his latest offerings, he put together this amazing graph which shows selected costs and how they have risen, and fallen, over the last 20 years:

Not only are college costs double that of healthcare, they are nearly 4 times higher than the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which represents a market basket of items that a normal consumer would buy on a regular basis.

In my opinion, this shows why student loan debt is so high and why the defaults on that debt are rising.  As I have said before, as long as colleges and universities stay in the position where they can continue to turn away applicants, they can keep raising tuition; unabated.  We need to get to a point where the demand for college entrance falls.  Perhaps this will finally happen when it becomes so expensive that no one can afford to attend.  But, with proposals from Hillary Clinton to make college "free" by putting the costs on the taxpayer, that "affordability test" will be taken out of the hands of the people, who should be paying the bills, and who could actually change the direction of the rising rate of college tuition.


Source of Graph:

Making college debt-free and taking on student debt | Hillary for America:

Monday, August 22, 2016

Tasers Aren't Always Non-Lethal

After reading an article about a 56-year old man being tasered 5 times by the Los Angeles police, who subsequently died, I wondered how often people do die from police tasers each year.

According to the website, the Counted, 49 people died from a taser in 2015.  And, as of this writing,  a lesser trend of 16 people have died so far this year.  Another website claims 634 deaths occurred from the period 2001 to 2014.  Altogether, a total of 699 people have been documented to have died from being tasered since 2001.

The truth is that tasers can cause death by creating a cardiac arrhythmia; followed by cardiac arrest, and sometimes death.

Possibly, the lower number of fatalities this year may be due to less aggressive policing.  But, the truth is that tasers aren't necessarily non-lethal.


Dead in an hour: Video shows LA cops tasering grandfather who died in jail:

634 Taser-Related Deaths in the United States Since 2001:

The Counted: People Killed by Police in U.S.: Classification: Tasers:;postID=3399841268420051068

Taser Safety Issues:

Friday, August 19, 2016

Are the States Signaling A Recession?

In the latest report, the 4th Quarter 2015 economic growth was downgraded from a previous 1.4% to just 0.9%.  To me, and I assume others, this was no surprise, because back in June, the Bureau of Economic Analysis released a rather dismal view of State-by-State economic growth for that very same quarter.  Note the following pictorial that was included:

Click on Image to Enlarge
As you can see from this map, 8 states had negative economic growth.  Two states, including New York, had no growth, and three grew only one tenth of a percent.  Two additional states had growth of four-tenths of a percent or less.  Many more stand at less than 2%.

The bottom line, here,  is that there are too many state economies that are struggling.  A fact that could be signaling a recession in the not too distant future.


Falling Productivity and the Sad State of Our Economy:

Source of Map:

Thursday, August 18, 2016

ObamaCare: Will the Last Insurer Leaving Turn Off the Lights?

What if there were no companies left to insure people in the ObamaCare exchanges?  Would ObamaCare just die on its own and go away? Well, that is starting to look like a real possibility.

In only 3 years, the number of private insurers operating in the exchanges has fallen by more than 27%, from 395 in 2013 to 287 in 2016.  How many of those remaining will back out this year before the enrollment period begins in the Fall is anyone's guess.  But, the nation's largest insurers, United Healthcare, Aetna, and Humana, have already indicated quitting operations in certain markets. In addition, of the 24 co-op insurance companies that the Obama Administration spent billions to set up, and that were supposed to provide competition in states that lacked adequate competition, only 5 may be left standing before this year's enrollment period begins.

One reason that insurers may start leaving more heavily, is the fact that the 3-year protections against insurance losses like reinsurance and the risk corridors have expired this year.  This leaves insurers fully exposed to losses resulting by having to carry an older and sicker enrollment base.  With those protections gone, the across the board rate increase requests are expected to be in the double digits.

If the state regulators don't approve these increases because they are seen as too high, some insurers will have no other choice but to back out of some or all of the exchanges they operate in.  And, the rate increases will only make insurance less affordable for the younger/healthier crowd that is much needed to reduce losses.  Thus, losses will again increase and even more insurers will be forced to leave.

Essentially, ObamaCare seems to be in a death spiral as it becomes more and more evident that any gains made in getting people insured may come to an end and may even be reversed.  If this continues, no insurers will be left in the very exchanges that were intended to make ObamaCare affordable.


New Report: Insurers Leaving Obamacare Exchanges in Droves:

The 8 [remaining] Obamacare Co-Ops Most Likely To Fail This Year:

After $300 Million Loss, Another Major Insurer Pulls Out of Obamacare:

As millions get covered, a POLITICO investigation finds that dozens of the insurers that the health care law depends on are losing money and even abandoning the system. Can it be fixed?:

Double-digit ObamaCare premium hikes projected in 2017:

California's Obamacare premium sticker shock:

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Fine Print On Hillary's 'Debt-Free College For Everyone'

On June 22, 2016, on Hillary Clinton's own campaign website, she said this:
"Let's...make debt free college available to everyone.  And let's liberate millions of Americans who already have student debt"
I linked a copy of that statement (below) because it is sure to be modified since, as you will see, the concept of everyone is a lie.

Further down the webpage, in bold lettering, she repeats the claim, but limits the "everyone" to those going to a "public college or university", and only those who go to a college "in their state":
"Every student should have the option to graduate from a public college or university in their state without taking on any debt."
Then, the "every student" gets further modified as she goes on to say (just below the line above):
"By 2021, families with income up to $125,000 will pay no tuition at in-state four-year public colleges and universities. And from the beginning, every student from a family making $85,000 a year or less will be able to go to an in-state four-year public college or university without paying tuition."
Obviously, she lied when she claimed debt-free college for everyone.  Perhaps this is another reason most Americans find her untrustworthy.


PDF File on Google Drive:

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

After Years of Decline, Murder and Crime Rise

The early 1990's saw crime and murder rates out of control.   In 1993, there were more than 14 million crimes committed and nearly 25,000 murders.  By 2014, the number of crimes fell to 9-1/2 million and murders were down to 14,250.  Similarly, overall violent crimes fell from nearly 2 million in 1993 to just 1.2 million in 2014.  Many believe that more active policing and increased traffic stops were responsible for the decline.

Now, in the last two years, crime in our major cities is rising to levels that haven't been seen in years.

While Barack Obama refuses to blame this rise on the less aggressive policing resulting from the poor treatment of cops over the incidents in Ferguson, Baltimore, and other cities, the facts are undeniable.  For example, in Minneapolis, violent crime is up while traffic stops are down 30%, and arrests for violent crimes are down 30%.  In Chicago, traffic stops are down 80% while murders are up nearly 70%. In Las Vegas, murders have doubled.  And, more often than not, blacks are the ones dying at higher rates than whites.  In Chicago, 73% of those murdered are black.

Therefore, if black lives truly matter, let the police do their jobs, and get the civil rights division of the Justice Department off their backs.  The way things are now, all too many blacks are dying as a result of passive policing in our major cities, along with the hands-off attitude against blacks during traffic stops.


Homicide Rates Jump in Many Major U.S. Cities, New Data Shows:

Violent crime up, yet Minneapolis police make fewer arrests:

The Obama Murders: D.C., Baltimore and Chicago Lead Murder Spike:

U.S. Crime Stats by Year:

Chicago Gun Violence Statistics:

Chicago Police Department's "stop and frisks" down 80 percent:

Monday, August 15, 2016

Falling Productivity and the Sad State of Our Economy

On August 9th, it was reported that, for the first time since 1979, U.S. worker productivity fell for three quarters in a row.  The problem with this, is that without increasing productivity, wages and the economy will stagnate.

This is easily proven by the recent economic growth report in which the GDP in the second quarter grew at an abysmal rate of 1.2%.  And, the fourth quarter of 2015 was downgraded from 1.4% to 0.9%.  Also, the first quarter was downgraded from 1.1% to just 0.8%.  Therefore we have had 3 straight quarters with an average of less than 1%.  Well below the historical average of 3.79%.

But, the fact that productivity is weak should be no surprise when you look at this graph of the "Business Inventory to Sales Ratio" (also known as Business Inventory Turnover Ratio):

Click on Image to Enlarge
What this graph represents, is how efficient companies are at selling their inventory of products.  Simply, under Obama, decades of improving efficiency are being wiped out because sales are slumping.  Obviously then, it is only logical that falling productivity would follow, and in fact, so would declines in economic growth; as we have seen in the last 9 months.

Going forward, there is no reason to believe that there won't be another quarter of falling productivity. Something that hasn't been seen since the Great Depression.


U.S. Productivity Fell for Third Straight Quarter:

Was the Weak 2nd Quarter Economic Growth, Even Weaker?:

Graph Source:

Friday, August 12, 2016

Yes, There Was a Relationship Between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department

Breaking news: August 10:  The Clinton Foundation had a cozy relationship with the State Department while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State!  So, say the Clinton emails.

Really? Judicial Watch didn't need to use the Freedom of Information Act to access Hillary Clinton's emails to find this out.  The fact is that she funneled work to the Clinton Foundation while she was the head of the State Department, and the Clinton Foundation is proud of it.  Take this excerpt from their web page on Haiti (linked at the end of this blog):
In collaboration with the Government of Haiti, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the U.S. State Department, the Clinton Foundation assisted with the development of the Caracol Industrial Park, which could ultimately create up to 60,000 jobs and help to decentralize the Haitian economy.
Of course, for that collaboration, I'm quite sure that Bill Clinton and other members of the Clinton Foundation got handsome paychecks.

What's even worse, was that the project failed to produce those promised jobs.  This despite the millions poured into it by the American taxpayers.


Newly released Clinton emails shed light on relationship between State Dept. and Clinton Foundation:

Clinton Foundation: Caracol Industrial Park:

Hillary’s Half-Baked Haiti Project:

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hillary's Email Server: The Most Damning Words from the FBI Director

Hillary Clinton is still trying to buffalo the American public into believing that FBI Director Comey said she didn't send or receive any emails that were "clearly" marked classified.  But to that point, here's what he said:
"Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information."
He then goes on to say:
"For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation."
The words "any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton's position" speaks volumes regarding her reckless disregard for her handling of the highest level of classified topics.  Either she's too stupid to recognize when something is extremely sensitive, or she simply doesn't care.  In either case, she should not be handling our nation's secrets as President.


Clinton doubles down on disputed claim FBI found her email remarks 'truthful':

Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System:


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Confusion: Home Sales and Home Ownership

On July 26, the new home sales numbers were released and Bloomberg news reported it this way:
"Purchases of new U.S. single-family homes rose in June to the highest level in more than eight years, indicating a firm and resilient housing market."
Keep in mind the words "firm and resilient" when looking at the following. This chart was based on home ownership from St. Louis Federal Reserve and was released just two days later than the above:

Click on Image to Enlarge or See Link Below
In my opinion, you can't have home ownership falling to a level not seen since 1965, and still, somehow, claim the housing market is both "firm" and "resilient".  This seems quite confusing.


New-Home Sales in U.S. Jump to Highest Level Since February 2008:

Federal Reserve: Homeownership rate:


Monday, August 8, 2016

Sticker Shock in Illinois: Proves ObamaCare Isn't Working

With all the political news regarding the Trump/Kahn controversy, most Americans missed the news that Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois announced rate hikes of between 23% and 45% for their various health insurance plans in the ObamaCare exchanges.  While the Illinois Department of Insurance must still approve the rate increase requests, this merely shows, once again, that insurers are losing their shirts trying to work with ObamaCare.  And, as I pointed out previously, without an approval of these rates, insurers will simply stop selling policies in the exchanges.

Also understand, the American taxpayer is the biggest loser when a company asks for a 45% rate increase, since, in Illinois, 75% of the people who buy insurance in the exchanges will receive federal subsidies.  While this is still lower than the overall average of 86% as reported by Health and Human Services, it proves that the primary reason for buying ObamaCare insurance is that it is either free or somewhat inexpensive; and that the 33 million people who still, after 3 years of enrollments, haven't bought insurance because they can't afford to do so.

So much for the success of the so-called Affordable Care Act.


Illinois' Obamacare plans seek big 2017 premium hikes:

86 Percent of Health Law Enrollees Receive Subsidies, White House Says:


Friday, August 5, 2016

Hillary Even Lies About Lying

In her first interview on Fox News Sunday in 5 years, Hillary Clinton responded to a Chris Wallace question about her questionable honesty regarding her email server, with this answer:
“Director Comey said my answers were truthful, and what I’ve said is consistent with what I have told the American people, that there were decisions discussed and made to classify retroactively certain of the emails.”
Hours later, the not hardly right-leaning Washington Post critiqued the answer with the following:

Four Pinocchios, which is the maximum lying factor that anyone can receive from the "Post".

Just more proof that she is a habitual and serial liar on her email server controversy-----and a lot of other issues.


Statement by FBI Director James B. Comey on the Investigation of Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Use of a Personal E-Mail System (full text):

Washington Post: Clinton’s claim that the FBI director said her email answers were ‘truthful’:

Thursday, August 4, 2016

The Insanity of "Millions March NYC"

It has just been announced that New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is set to resign next month amid protests over the policy of "broken windows" that was promoted and that has dramatically reduced crime in the City over the last 2-1/2 decades.  

Apparently, his resignation was forced by a group known as "Millions March NYC" who, besides asking for Bratton to be fired, also wants the entire New York City police department to be defunded (literally disbanded) and the money that is saved should be invested in black and brown communities throughout the City; as well as paying reparations to those who have been wronged by police.

What do these people think would happen without a police force?  It literally would be mob rule in New York City.  A calling card for every crook in the country. This is insanity, and complete ignorance from, apparently, a lot of stupid people! Oh...Did I mention that they are affiliated with the morons of "Black Lives Matter"!


NYPD – The historic reduction of crime rates in New York -

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to Resign:

PHOTOS: Activists 'Shut Down' City Hall to Demand Defunding of NYPD:

Group Returns To City Hall Park To Continue Protest Until Demands Are Met:


Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Hillary's Claim: "America Never Stopped Being Great"

In contrast the  Trump campaign slogan to "Make America Great Again", Hillary Clinton keeps telling her crowds: that "America Never Stopped Being Great". Of course, her supporters all cheer wildly.

But, most Americans understand that our country's greatness has been declining since the 1970's. This is why Trump is doing as well as he is. Here are some of the facts that support Trump's claim:
  • In 1970, 61% of Americans were in the middle class. Today, only 43% can make that claim.
  • In the 1970's, America was the best educated country in the world. Since then, we are now ranked 27th in the all-important category of mathematics.  We rank 17th in reading with an astounding 19% of our high school graduates unable to read. Additionally, we now rank 20th in science.
  • The poverty rate in the 70's ranged between 11.7% to 12.6% of the population.  As of 2014, it stood at 15%; up from 14.5% in 2013. Obviously going in the wrong direction. Also understand, that beyond the percentages, the U.S. now has a record number of people living in poverty -- 47 million --  since President Lyndon Johnson declared his War on Poverty more than 50 years ago.
  • Our Federal debt in 1970 was just $398 billion.  Sadly, it is now near $19.5 trillion.  48 times higher and setting a new record everyday.
  • Today, our national infrastructure needs between 3 and 4 trillion dollars worth of  repairs, while, in 1970, it was fairly maintained.
  • Dozens of cities and municipalities are facing bankruptcy.  Others, such as Detroit, have already gone bankrupt.
  • A record 95 million are not in the labor force. 
  • In 1980, nearly 20 million workers were in the manufacturing sector.  By 2014, that number fell to just 12.3 million. 
Now, I could go on an on with things like Medicare and Social Security facing insolvency, and how parts of our military are smaller now than before World War II, but I think you get the point.

Hillary Clinton: 'America never stopped being great':

The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground. No longer the majority and falling behind financially:

Boomers Once Led the World in Education. What Happened?: 

United States: Program For International Student Assessment:

Illiteracy Statistics:

Is the poverty rate higher now than in the 1970s as Jeb Bush says?:

2014: Poverty Facts | Poverty Rate, Poverty Thresholds & Census Information:

1970 Debt:

National Debt Clock:

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

Bankrupt Cities, Municipalities List and Map:

A Record 95 million not in the Labor Force:

Army shrinks to smallest level since before World War II - Army Times:

The Navy's Hidden Crisis: It's Too Small - and Getting Smaller:

Social Security, Medicare Face Insolvency Over 20 Years, Trustees Report:

Manufacturing Job Loss:


Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Trump is Being Played Like an Out-of-Tune Violin

The plan: Allow a well-respected four-star General by the name of John Allen to speak at the Democratic Convention in prime time; let him question Donald Trump's competence as Commander-in-Chief; then sit back and wait for the insults to fly.

Second Plan: Bring a Muslim and a Pakistani-born father of a killed U.S. soldier to the Convention and allow him to criticize Trump; and again, wait for the insults.

Predictably, Trump responded negatively to these two speakers.  Also predictably, the media and the country took offense to his attacks on these two respected people.

The Democrats baited the hook and Donald swallowed it.  Just proving he is a fool if he can't see what they're doing.  Expect more Allen's and more Khan's to be used to raise Trump's hackles in the lead up to the election and therefore expose him as a loose cannon.  He simply cannot control what he says. It isn't that he shouldn't defend himself when attacked.  It's simply the classless and immature way that he does it.


Trump stirs outrage after he lashes out at the Muslim parents of a dead U.S. soldier:

In 24 Hours, Donald Trump Insulted A Four-Star General and a War Hero's Family:

Monday, August 1, 2016

Was the Weak 2nd Quarter Economic Growth, Even Weaker?

Last Friday, it was reported, that the economy -- in terms of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) -- grew at an anemic 1.1% in the Second Quarter of 2016. The consensus projection was for 2.6% growth.

In addition, that same report said that the growth for the Fourth Quarter of 2015 was downgraded from 1.4% to just 0.9%, and growth for the First Quarter of this year was knocked down from 1.1% to 0.8%.  All together, average for the last three quarters was just slightly over 0.9%.  To show how bad that is, from 1790 to 2000, the average GDP growth was 3.79%.

It was also reported that consumer spending for the last quarter, was up 4.2%; the only positive part of the report and probably the only reason there was any growth at all. However, I find it difficult to believe that there was such a strong consumer spending number when, in another series of reporting, retail sales have been trending downward since 2011 and are currently below 3%.

Click On Image To Enlarge - Black Line is Trend
Simply, you can't have retail sales below 3%, and then, somehow, have a surprising 4.2% surge in consumer spending.  This makes no sense and this is why I believe the lousy 1.1% growth is even weaker than stated.  In fact, the quarter may have actually had negative growth.


Another GDP stunner: Growth only 1.2% over the last 3 months:

Chart Source:

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