Friday, February 29, 2008

Talking Turkey ,Telecommunications, and Subversive Politics

When it comes to Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats, the country of Turkey and our telecommunication's industry in the United State have a lot in common. Both, as a part of the voting activity in the House of Representatives, have a lot to do with the attempts of the Democrats to back-door policies of the Bush Administration and weaken this country for pure, political gains.

Late last year, the House Democrats tried to pass a resolution in Congress that would condemn Turkey for its "genocide" of Armenians that took place in the year 1915! So, you've got to wonder? Why this resolution now? And, why some 92 years after the fact? Well, a good answer to that is that Turkey is essential to our war effort in Iraq. Turkey is a key "overfly" point for our air attacks in Iraq. Our military base in southern Turkey is key to all of our Iraq military operations. And, Turkey is a pass-through point for the movement of aircraft, military personnel, arms, and other military equipment in and out of Iraq. Without Turkey we would be faced with more expensive, time consuming, and cumbersome sea-transportation of equipment and manpower through the Persian Gulf. By condemning Turkey, the Democrats "hoped" they could defeat the war effort in Iraq without "directly" voting to stop the war or its funding. Their intent was to alienate this NATO ally to the extent that they would turn against us and stop supporting our operations in Iraq. This back-door effort would have seriously deteriorated our ability to prosecute the war. So much so, that we might not have been able to provided support of our troops. And, as a result, we would have had higher death tolls and fewer American victories and the tide of public opinion was sure to accelerate us geting out of Iraq.

In a similar fashion, the Pelosi' Democrats in the House of Representatives are tying to back-door the expanded "eavesdropping" law that had been just been passed, on a bi-partisan basis, by the United States Senate. In this case, the House Democrats don't want to seem like they are "weak" on national security by "directly" voting against this bill. Instead, they have decided that they can defeat the eavesdropping activity by alienating those companies that support the eavesdropping effort - the telecommunications companies. To do this, they want "drop" the Senate-portion of the eavesdropping law that would retroactively protect the telecommunications companies from pending lawsuits and any future litigation. And, in their minds, if the telecommunication companies can be sued, they will no longer get involved in any federally requested eavesdropping activities. And, without directly doing so, they would defeat this law through this back-door process.

You got to wonder. Whose side are the Democrats on? With their "resolution" vote against Turkey, they were willing to weaken the support in Iraq and possibly see more military and civilian deaths and more Al Qaeda victories. And they were will to do this just so they could "appease" their left-wing, anti-war, political base like and Code Pink and George Soros. And, again, in support of that same left-wing base, they are "now" willing to weaken our defense against a known enemy, Al Qaeda, by undermining the new eavesdropping law.

To me, these two efforts by House Democrats, at the very least, border on treason. They are subversive activities; pure and simple! They put political gains "above" the safety security of our own fighting personnel in Iraq and above the safety and security of all Americans in this country and throughout the World. How disgusting is that?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Global Warming...The Messiah of All Liberal Causes

I find it interesting that a liberal politician like Al Gore has be elevated to a near "Messiah" status in the fight against Global Warming. Maybe that's because Global Warming has a lot more to do with the promotion of "liberal causes" than with the reality of climatological science.

Think about. There is hardly a liberal cause that wouldn't benefit from the fight against Global Warming. Because humans, human expansion, and all human-related activities are responsible for Global Warming, you could stop almost anything "that is human" under the guise of fighting Global Warming. Even the act of a human or an animal breathing (the expelling of carbon dioxide --- the primary greenhouse gas responsible for Global Warming) could be blamed for the destruction of the world.

At the apex of the Global Warming problem is all of humanity. The more humans...the more Global Warming. So why not enforce, rather than just promote, the liberal causes of family planning, abortion, and birth control. Why not, like the Chinese, restrict families to no more than 2 children. We could criminalize people for having more than two children. Maybe, even sterilize any abusers.

Certainly, the "tree huggers" and the "greens" have the most to gain from the fight against Global Warming. The "warming police" could shut down the destruction of the forests, especially the rain forests, because the forests use up, rather than create, carbon dioxide. They could also block any further exploration and use of oil-based products and coal. And, for sure, they could use Global Warming to rid the world of those hated gasoline-guzzling, CO2 spewing SUV's. No longer will they need some obscure and nearly extinct insect animal or insect to stop human expansion.

Even, PETA and vegans can see hope in Global Warming. One of the major contributors of Global Warming are cattle and poultry. Not only do they use up oxygen and expel carbon dioxide, they fart. And, their farting, alone, is a big problem. So much so, that the European Union has funded scientific research to find feed combinations or feed additives that would eliminate or minimize cattle flatulence. Of course, PETA and the vegetarians would simply see elimination of meat eating as the ultimate solution. I can't wait for Noble Award announcement for the first scientists to control "global farting" and, thus, solve global warming.

Yes sir, the world would be a better place without humans. It could flourish and become overgrown with the plants and animals as God and nature truly intended. Humans are just evil and don't even belong on this earth.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


In lasts night's Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were scrambling on top of each other to prove that "each" would eliminate NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) if elected. NAFTA and all other Free Trade Agreements (FTA) are now on the "outs" with all Democrats because of the pressure coming from the labor unions such as the AFL-CIO. The unions blame "this" trade agreement for the loss of high-paying union jobs in America. And this hearkens back to a quote from the Independent candidate for President, Ross Perot, during the 1992 election cycle who said that there will be the "giant sucking sound" as we lose jobs and money to Mexico and Canada if NAFTA is approved. Lost in this debate is the fact that President Bill Clinton "and" a Democratic Controlled Congress approved NAFTA; an achievement Bill Clinton had always pointed to in his "legacy" of accomplishments.

The question of whether or not union jobs were lost under NAFTA is somewhat disputable. Those jobs might have been lost, anyway, as a result of cheap international labor and all other active foreign trade. What "is" known about NAFTA is that the previous trade barriers and other mechanisms that had either blocked or penalized American products were eliminated. As a result, American businesses have substantially increased trade with Canada and Mexico under NAFTA. I find it interesting the State of Ohio, the seat of last night's debate over NAFTA, has benefited the most under this agreement. Since NAFTA was passed, Ohio has quadrupled trade with the NAFTA countries. That means more jobs (maybe, not union) in Ohio and and an increase in revenues which has benefited both the tax coffers of Ohio and our Federal government. Also, NAFTA created "good" jobs in Mexico. And, the more "good" jobs we can create in that country, the slower the influx of illegial aliens across our border for those seeking higher-paying employment in the United States.

Given the tenor of last night's debate over NAFTA, it is obvious that we will see "no" more FTA's approved if we elect a Democrat as President and the Democrats still control both Houses of Congress. Currently, FTA's are being blocked by the Democratic-controlled Congress for Columbia and other Latin American countries. As a result, we will become economic isolationists. And, the result of that will be the continuance of trade barriers against American products and, I believe, the loss of jobs and the loss of taxable business revenues. And, the only "sucking sound" we'll actually hear will be that of Americans left "sucking their thumbs" after the loss of trade in a world where trade is so important to us.

When A Special Interest Isn't A Special Interest

If you listen to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the campaign trail, you would think that they will "end" the days of the "lobbyists" and the "special interests". Both contend that the Bush Administration has been beholding to big Pharmaceutical and Oil companies and other big businesses.

Of course, this is mis-direction on their part. The fact is that each of these candidates is beholding to a freight train full of special interest. But, to a Democrat, their special interests aren't really special interests. Right---!

By definition, special interest groups are an association or group that looks to our politicians to provide favorable legislation for their benefit. Surely, lobbyists fill this bill. And, they will wine and dine and talk the ears off of our elected officials in order to get legislation passed that would be beneficial to their representative industry or companies. At the most, a politician might go on a junket (a golf outing, seminar, etc) that is sponsored by a trade group or lobbyist. These entertainment type trips are intended to woo politicians while they take in the lobbyist-provided entertainment and relaxing activitiest. Under the law, no money or gifts will be given to or taken by politicians because that would bribery.

But for the Democrats, their special interest groups are typically the labor unions like the National Education Association, the AFL-CIO, Teamsters, United Auto Worker, International Union of Fire Fighters, Service Employees International Union, etc. You also have other interest groups such as the Association of Trial Lawyers, the ACLU, NAACP, NOW, and NARAL Pro-Choice America,, Code Pink, The Daily KOS, Planned Parenthood, Greenpeace, World Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, AARP, and, so on.

Unlike lobbyist, the special interest groups for the Democrats do give gifts. For the support of their cause, the respective unions or other special interest groups offer the Democratic candidates and the Democratic party the promise of "votes"; and, for a politician, votes have more value than any amount of money. But money also flows in terms of donations into their campaign coffers from the members of those special interest groups. Additionally, some special, special interest groups, like, are categorized as "527" groups. These groups hold the promise of national and local advertising campaigns that are designed to denigrate their opposition during the election. You need only look back on the hatchet-job that did on Joe Lieberman in Connecticut in the last Senatorial race. Fortunately, Joe won.

With this in mind, is it any wonder why Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton want to leave Iraq so fast. Might it has something to do with the promise of votes, money, and advertising from the far left groups like Or, Code Pink? Or, the Daily KOS? Apparently, the need to satisfy these left-wing groups is more important that addressing the constantly improving conditions in Iraq; both militarily and politically!

Both Obama and Clinton have been taking NAFTA to task and promise to suspend it or modify it. Is it possible that they are bending to wishes of the AFL-CIO and Teamsters unions for votes and campaign monies? After all, these two unions blame NAFTA for the loss of union membership jobs. Of course, it doesn't matter that substantial and unblocked trade benefited Americans and American business under NAFTA.

What about the teacher's unions like the NEA? Are Obama and Clinton's stands on abandoning teacher and student testing and performance measurement the rationale behind their promise to eliminate "No Child Left Behind" program? Both major teacher's unions want these programs abandoned. What about their campaign promises of reducing class sizes and teachers salaries? For the unions, it clearly means more teachers and a broader base of membership. If you listen to the two Democratic candidates, it's all about the "teachers" and not the "students". My guess is the 1/2 of the seniors in Chicago city schools will still not graduate; no matter how much you pay the teachers.

Then, there is the promise of both these candidates to create "green collar" jobs? Do you think they might be making that promise and the promise of spending billions of dollars because they might get political favors from Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Federation, and the Sierra Club? Are the unions salivating over potentially high-paying Federally sponsored jobs? Will "green-collar" might be "sound good" the practicality of such a program is really questionable. Wind and solar power are big and extremely expensive technologies to implement. And, the cost of labor to install or make them is minuscule in comparison to the high cost of a single solar panel or a single wind turbine. I don't think the promise of jobs is really there. But, this spending programs sounds got to the ears of the "special interests" that are listening.

I think it is obvious from all the campaign promises by the Democrats who is doing what for whom and why. You need only take the time to examine the connections. However, most people don't. And, generally, special interests have nothing to do with what is best for this country as a whole.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Barack Obama: The Fortune Cookie of Politics

In many ways, Barack Obama's speeches are a lot like the messages inside a Chinese fortune cookie. Typically, the "fortune" inside that cookie, if written well, will apply to the wants of most everyone who reads it. It is this type of "universality" that gives Obama a broad appeal.

Whether or not the message of Obama, like the fortune in the Chinese cookie, is actually true or has any chance of being true is immaterial. People take from it what they "want" to hear. That is what his message of "hope" is all about. Hope is more of a feeling and, often, less of an actual reality. When I buy a lotto ticket, I "hope" that I will win. However, the chance of being hit by lightning is more likely.

The people that believe that Obama represents "hope" through "change" may actually be hearing the hollow message of a fortune cookie. If they truly looked at Obama's past actions, his beliefs, and his proposals, they would know that what he is selling is "high hopes" with little reality.  And, don't ever forget, that the purpose of putting the "fortune" in the cookie is a "gimmick" to sell more cookies. It's just another marketing strategy to sell Obama.  Nothing more than that!

Monday, February 25, 2008

Say It Enough and It Just Might Stick!

Just recently, and before a foreign press, the American actress, Sharon Stone, repeated a bogus and discredited figure of 600,000 Iraqis killed in the Iraq War since March 20, 2003. Of course, the "killers" were our own American soldiers. Actually, she was probably repeating the highly questionable "empirical" study (not a statistical or fact-based study) that was conducted by a research team from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and which was published in October of 2006. By the research team's own admission, the study said it had a margin of error of 426,369 to 793,663 deaths. On the high side, that is 193 thousand "more" deaths than there own estimate of 600,000 deaths! (You can read the October 2006 New York Times Report by clicking on this link).

The fact is that you would need to average 500 deaths per day, every day, for 3-1/2 years from March 20, 2003 to October 2006 to come up with their number. The worst day ever in Iraq was Aug 14, 2007 when an estimated 525 Iraqis died from suicide fuel tanker bombs in Yasidi villages in the Sinjar area. The next highest day was November 23, 2006 when approximately 215 Iraqis died in Sadr City, Baghdad. Beyond that, the worst days in Iraq fell below 120 deaths on any given day and usually that number was well below 40. Further, many days saw little or no deaths. Maybe, only 1 or 2 deaths on those days. And, believe me, with as many reporters as there are on the ground in Iraq, it would be extremely difficult to hide 500 Iraqi deaths on a daily basis without it being reported by much of the anti-war press.

Besides Sharon Stone, Rosie O'Donnell has also floated this number "as the truth" when she was a regular on ABC's "The View." And, beyond Rosie and Sharon, others in Hollywood and in the Music industry have also repeated that number. My guess is that it's the "lie" that is repeated at every left-wing, anti-war discussion that occurs at the various "drug-and-drink" celeb parties in Hollywood. They believe, should we! But, take heart! There's some good news in that number. It has been stuck at the 600,000 Iraqi deaths since October 2006. The anti-war Hollywood crowd hasn't "upped" that number by a single Iraqi since it was first reported. Does that mean that there hasn't been anymore deaths since then?

This kind of thing only shows how ridiculously deceitful the Hollywood crowd really is. And, how they use their popularity to promote falsehoods in the media; usually the foreign media. And, it goes unquestioned by the liberal press. I believe it also shows their own stupidity and their own failure to understand the damage that they are doing to our country with such false statements. It shows that their left-wing politics is more important than the truth. It, in many ways, harkens back to the days of the "black listings" when Hollywood was under the microscope for their possible involvement with Communism. And, it seriously gives our enemies the comfort they seek because it implies that Americans and our soldiers are "worse" than the terrorists. And, this is clearly apparent from this news story and commentary about Sharon Stone's comments. (See Full Story).

A more truthful number of causalities can be found at the "Iraq Body Count" website (See Full Site). And, the site is, by no means, a pro-war or pro-Bush. However, it is not trying to distort the truth. And, their statistics are very close to the numbers that the United Nations has been tallying since the war began.

Do not get me wrong, I am not downplaying the cost of war in terms of human causalities. War is truly "hell" for those who have to live and die in the midst of it. But, it was also "hell" for the estimated 1/2 million Iraqis who died at the hands of Saddam Hussein, his henchman, and, particularly, his two sons. It was also "hell" when you tally the nearly one million Iranians and nearly 400,000 Iraqis who had to die when Iraq went to war with Iran from 1980 to 1988. And, it was "hell" for the more than 10,000 Kuwaitis who were killed and tortured at the hands of Iraqi soldiers in Saddam's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

Unfortunately, Hollywood has no comment on those facts. In Hollywood's mind, America is the invader and Saddam should have been allowed to continue his murderous ways...forever! Apparently, there is no pride in Hollywood for this country's desire to free those who can't free themselves. And, there is no pride in Hollywood for this country's desire to suppress the "bullies" of the world so that the world can be a more peaceful place. Only if we had actually found the "weapons of mass destruction" would Hollywood have been satisfied; and, I'm not sure then. The fact that we didn't find WMD's is the left-wing's answer to the continued irresponsibility of America and the proof of why this country should be hated. It's the reason that every two-bit actor and actress feels that they have a responsibility to go overseas and emphasize to the foreign press that America is bad; bad; bad... The nearly 2 million dead innocents that Saddam Hussein left in the "wake" of his life is, well, immaterial.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Obama Has No Concept of Military Structure

In last night's debate, Democratic Commander-in-Chief wannabe, Barack Obama, related a story about an Army "Captain" who complained that he was sent to Afghanistan with only, I think, 24 men and that this was 15 men less than normal because those 15 men were sent to Iraq, instead. This whole story really confused me.

Even though I served in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam war, I have enough understanding of "the" military structure of the Army to know that this story didn't sound quite right. In the Army, a platoon. like a squadron in the Air Force, is made up of smaller units called squads. In the Air Force, squads are called flights. Either way, a squad typically has about 30 or more soldiers in it. That means that a platoon is normally made of 4 squads with a minimum of 30 men each, for a total of 120 soldiers. Not 24 men as in Barack's story.

Further, a platoon or a squadron is generally the smallest unit that can be commanded by a commissioned officer. Typically, these "little" units are lead by a first or second Lieutenant; and, not a Captain. Sometimes, when short handed, a platoon or squadron can be led by a non-commissioned officer like the rank of Sergeant. A Captain, when given command authority, usually heads a "Company" of Platoons in the Army or a "Group" of Squadrons in the Air Force. I have never heard of a Captain being a Platoon or Squadron commander. There just aren't enough Captains allocated to the entire Army to afford that kind luxury. In proof of this fact, how often have you heard the expression "Platoon Sergeant"? And, how often have you heard the "never used" expression of "Platoon Captain"?

The size and structure within military organizations are firmly set. The Senior Military Command would prefer to completely "disband" a specific unit, like a platoon or a squad, rather than send that unit into combat with fewer than the minimum compliment of men. For example, if a squad didn't have the minimum compliment of men, it would be disbanded and those men would be reassigned to other squads. Or, a squad with too few men could receive men from other squads so that a minimum compliment of soldiers was maintained. That how it works.

Obama's story plays well to his political belief that we are diverting resources from the war in Afghanistan because we are wasting time in Iraq. However, it shows a complete failure to understand military structure, military procedures, and normal military operations. But this is to be expected from someone who has never served in the military and who "would" command one the greatest military forces in the history of the world.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Obama's Economic Advisor: Austan Goolsbee

At the heart of Barack Obama's economic plan, is a University of Chicago professor, Austan Goolsbee, and graduate from Yale in 1991. In a world of economics, Goolsbee is one of the very few left-leaning economists. He believes that "rejiggering" the U.S. tax structure away from business incentives will have less of a debilitating effect on our economy than it is believed by his conservative peers. And, he believes that more is to be gained in strengthening our economy if we take the money away from business profits and put that money into education and into the hands of the middle class. Certainly, this is a message that plays well to the populist Democrat who detests big business and who supports the "special interest" of the teacher's unions and the various forms of liberal-leaning education in this country. He, also, believes that "free trade" agreements, such as NAFTA, don't improve the economic situation in America. This is another economic message that plays well to the "labor unions" who believe jobs have been lost to free trade.

George Will once dedicated an article about Goolsbee in October 2007: (See Full Story).

I guess if Barack Obama is elected President, the economic fate of this country will be placed in the hands of a somewhat "maverick" economist who has been practicing his craft for about 16 years. And, if he gets his shot, we'll see if his belief in pro-social and pro-progressive economic policies and less pro-business benefits will actually work. If he is right, then he will turn conservative economics on its head. Of course, if he is wrong, the business and tax structure in this country could suffer from serious and unrecoverable damages. And, it should be pointed out that Goosbee's craft, economics, is more an "art" than ever being a purely practical science. Much of economics is purely theoretical, and, except for the "law of supply and demand", is subject to theoretical debate. When I was taught economics, there was belief that price stability was more important than trying to achieve full employment. In fact, levels of 6% unemployment were thought to be "full employment" and anything below that would probably result in runaway inflation. During both the Clinton and Bush Administrations, we have been at levels of unemployment that were below 5% with "no" apparent and abnormal levels of inflation. So much for that theory!

Over the years, I have become less a believer in "economic theory" and more of a believer in practical economics. For example, let me point to a small, one-store coffee purveyor that was founded in Seattle, Washington in 1971. That company was Starbucks. What if the taxes on that company where higher and the resulting profits were lowered? Would it have even survived and expanded to become a business that now employs nearly 172,000 tax-paying and employed workers? My guess is that it may have gone the way of a lot of start-up businesses: bankruptcy. At the very least, higher taxes would have taken more money "out" of that business and prevented it from expanding as rapidly as it did. That's just plain reality and not theory.

Obama/Goolsbee believe that there are a trillion dollars of tax loopholes that business in America are taking advantage of. They believe that if business pays higher taxes, it won't break this economy. They believe that this money would be more productive if given to the middle and poorer classes in the form of something like a $1000 tax break. At the heart of this belief is that $1000 being put into the hands of the consumer to buy more things, will stimulate the economy "more" than if businesses had that money to spend on "CEO" salaries. And, business expansion will result from more business and not from tax breaks.

I think that they are right in the belief that tax rebates and tax breaks "will" give the consumer more power. And, some American businesses will benefit; but, only marginally. The real benefit will be to foreign businesses. Even if the American consumer spends money at an American company like a Target or a Wal-Mart, it will, in most cases, be for products that have been made in some other country. Buying American doesn't guarantee that the money will stay in America. Many of the supposed American products, like Nike shoes, aren't made in this country! There is hardly anything in the areas of clothing, electronics, household appliances, ceramics, etc. that isn't made overseas. And, by applying a heavier tax burden on American business, we seriously disadvantage American business and, in turn, make their foreign competitors even stronger.

Simply making cash available to American consumers is not the answer for American business and our economy. In order for American businesses to create jobs and to compete for those dollars, they need to have lower costs. This will result in lower prices and will help divert consumer dollars away from cheaper foreign-made items. Higher taxes won't do that. While I don't have the credentials of Goolsbee, my simplistic guess is that his economic plan will be a disaster. My guess is that it will accelerate the loss of high paying, manufacturing jobs to overseas businesses. And, my guess, is that we, as a country, will continue to become a service industry economy; as opposed to a manufacturing economy. Further, our weakened U.S. businesses will be subject to reduced values in our stock market and, consequently, become subject to increasing takeovers by foreign companies. This will accelerate to a level that has never been seen before. You need only look at our auto industry to know this is true. GM, Ford and Chrysler are all sustaining heavy financial losses and losses of market share as a result of foreign competition. Companies that lose money don't pay taxes, and these auto companies haven't had profits and paid taxes for quite a while. And, those American auto company jobs are quickly moving to everywhere but America.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Tax Cuts for the Rich...Remembering 1990?

Today, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, both lawyers and politicians and not business people, consistently hammered the Bush Administration and the Republicans on the issue of tax cuts for the rich. It appears that the "left" of this country just can't get it through their heads that the Bush tax cuts have created jobs with a 95% rate of employment. The tax cuts have strengthened and created a record economy that the Clinton-exiting recession of 2000 and the compounding events 9/11 had all but destroyed. And, despite the high cost of two wars, Afghanistan and Iraq, those tax cuts have produced record tax revenues which have resulted in a more rapidly-than-expected lowering of deficit spending.

Instead, the Democrats point to "slow" salary growth in this country during the Bush Administration. At the same time, they point to the fact that CEO's are getting mammoth benefits and salary packages. They don't seem to understand that slow "salary" growth in this country is a result of being "in" an ever-increasing global economy. There is a heavy influence being exerted on wages in this country by the minimally paid workers in places like Indonesia, China, and India. And, those low wages overseas, force workers in this country to accept no and lower wage increases for fear that their remaining jobs will just move overseas.

Further, they can't seem to understand that, after seeing "fat" CEO salaries, the average wage should, somehow, be driven from the top, down. The reality is that wages are driven from the bottom up. They always have been and they always will be. And, I wouldn't expect a couple of lawyers like Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to understand this. That is because they've never managed people or a business or ever had to hire someone to fill open job positions within a competitive corporate or business structure. The fact is, most Democrats are lawyers and they know absolutely nothing about business and job creation. Wages are determined by the economic law of supply and demand. If you can fill a job for $5 an hour; you would be a fool to do so for $7 an hour. But, if you can't find anyone to work for $5, you will pay the $7 to get the job done. And, once this happens, every job above that job level will see wage pressure, or those employees will seek employment elsewhere in order to keep pace. That is basic economics and how wages are increased; all the way "up" the line. Not down the line!

Finally, if you have more than 20 million illegal workers in this country who are content with undercutting the normal process of "supply and demand" for jobs, you are going to have tamped-down and stagnated wages. Illegal workers in this country aren't just taking jobs that Americans won't fill. They are working in construction, manufacturing, services, and other elements of our economy. They are willing to work for less and there are employers who are willing to hire them (for less) in order for their businesses to survive. And, this eliminates wage pressures from the bottom up.

Rather than try and prove that the Bush Tax cuts (on the rich) actually work, I would prefer to take you back to the year 1990 when a Democratic Congress passed a veto-proof "Luxury Tax" in the United States. That tax specifically targeted the rich by imposing a 10% tax against expensive furs, boats, cars, and jewelry. And, like today, it was "a tax on the rich" message that played well to the blue-collar union workers and the working poor of this country. A message that we hear consistently, today, from almost all the Democrats.

But, that luxury tax seriously backfired. It had to be "quietly" repealed after only 3-1/2 years by Bill Clinton and the Democratic Congress that created it. It is estimated that more than 16,000 highly-skilled workers in the United States boating industry, alone, lost their jobs as a result of this tax. Other jobs were hit equally as hard in the areas of luxury cars, jewelry and furs. It was a "liberal" disaster of the highest magnitude. It created no new revenues and it seriously hurt one of the key elements of the Democratic base: the union worker.

What the foolish Democrats failed to understand was that the rich are highly mobile and have purchasing power that is far beyond the borders of this country. When a tax was imposed in the United States that was specifically targeted against them, they either didn't buy "or" they went overseas to satisfy their need for luxury items. That left those "United States" businesses, those who made "luxury" products, without any clients. Many famous and historically old boat companies went under; letting their highly-skilled workers go. And, those companies have never been revived and those highly-skilled manufacturing jobs are gone forever. Similar disasters occurred in the realm of auto dealerships, furriers, and in the jewelry industry. I find this interesting because the Democrats always claim that it is the Republicans like Bush, who cause manufacturing jobs to disappear in this country.

As a country, we are consistently losing jobs overseas. Part of the problem is that we have the highest Corporate and small and medium business tax rates in the industrialized world. At a time when a most European countries are lowering taxes on their rich and on their Corporations to try and stimulate and save their economies, the Democrats want to raise taxes even higher. When taxes are too high, jobs just go overseas and the rich move their money to offshore locations like Bermuda in order to avoid paying those high taxes. Sometimes, the rich and businesses will just move themselves elsewhere in the world after being fed up with taxation. When jobs move overseas, we lose both the income tax on the worker and the taxes that would be paid on the manufactured and assembled products. When the rich and businesses move, we lose them as part of our tax base. We lose their business investment in this country. And, specific to the rich who move overseas, we lose their charitable giving which places more and more burden on the rest of us to take care of the poor and "less-advantaged" in this country. The fact is, our system of taxes in this country keeps reducing the size of the "taxable base". And, when the the "taxable base" keeps shrinking, with less American workers and businesses in it, those of us that are remaining in that "base" have to pay more and more in order to do the same amount of things that we expect from our Government; like education, road building, defense spending, etc.

If we really want to pay for all the things that we expect out of our government, we need to "change" the system of taxation in this country. Increasingly, the taxable jobs and businesses, that we relied on before, keep moving overseas. And, those of us that remain here, are left "holding the bag" for an ever-increasing tax bill against a shrinking base to pay it. We need to recapture taxes that have been lost for the jobs and products that have moved offshore. And, in my mind, we can do this by switching from an income-based system of taxation to a finished-product or sales-based system of taxation, such as a national sales tax or a similar system called the "fair tax".

A sales-based tax system would recapture the taxes that were lost for products and jobs that had moved overseas. Salaries could be lowered while retaining the same purchasing power, as before, because personal income taxes would be gone. Business would pay no income tax. As a result, the cost of their products would be lowered. We would regain competitiveness against products made elsewhere. Jobs would eventually come back to this country. And, in essence, a national sales tax system would have the same benefit as imposing "import taxes" on all products made elsewhere. And, it would do so without looking unfair and without creating "tariff" wars between us and the other countries we trade with.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Obama Would Like You to Work for $1000 A Year!

During his campaign this last year, Barack Obama said the following: "It's time to turn the page for all those Americans who want nothing more than to have a job that can pay the bills and raise a family. Let's finally make the minimum wage a living wage". Isn't that just so eloquent. Isn't it just so Obama!

So why, then, would he call for a new spending program that only allows a salary of "less" than $1000 a year for millions of new workers in America? Even the new Federally-mandated minimum wage assumes that a full-time, 40 hour-a-week worker would get an annual salary of $15,000; and, that's for an unskilled and entry-level position. Obama is talking about creating millions of technical and heavy construction jobs for "under" $1000 a year in wages.

On Wednesday, Barack Obama unveiled an economic stimulus plan that would inject $210 billion into our economy over 10 years (Click to see article). Under the first part of his new spending program, $150 billion over ten years or $15 billion a year would be spent to create "green-collar" jobs that would develop and install environmentally-friendly technologies such as solar and wind power. Obama claims that this program "could" create as many as "5 million new jobs" in America. The second part of Obama's plan is to spend $60 billion over ten years ($6 billion a year) on infrastructure projects to rebuild roads, bridges, etc. He claims that as many as "2 million jobs" could be created under this program. Combined, the two programs would spend $21 billion a year to create "7 million new jobs".

All that sounds so great! All those new jobs will be created to do things in America for Americans. And the money wouldn't be spent in Iraq doing things for Iraqis! What could be more apple pie and American? Well, I for one would prefer the "truth" rather than some really, really, fuzzy math behind this program. And, this well demonstrates how the National Press is willing to "hype" Obama's eloquence while giving him a "pass" and not challenging him on his facts.

To understand what is seriously wrong with the facts in this program, you need only focus on his "jobs creation" numbers. If you reference Wikipedia (Click to see article), you would know that a billion "anythings" is equal to "one thousand" million of those anythings.

So, let's assume we gave each one of those "new" 7 million, Obama-paid workers a salary of "only" a thousand dollars per year. Remembering that a billion dollars is one thousand million dollars, we can easily calculate that the total annual cost of salaries for all those new workers would amount to $7 billion a year. That would be a cost equal to one-third of Obama's total annual program cost of $21 billion. And, based on the normal labor component for any heavy construction project, these salary costs would be considered to be on the high side. Usually, the labor component is much lower. This means that Obama, even at a salary of $1000 a year, would be overpaying his workers. I might be wrong but I don't even think you could find an illegal alien to work for less than a $1000 a year! But, Obama, the "living wage" advocate, seems to think that he can get 7 million Americans to work for pennys on the dollar when it comes to "his" programs. Actually, the average heavy construction worker in America was paid $49,931 a year in 2006. Which, by the way, makes Obama's numbers even more ridiculous!

So, Obama's calculations have a serious error. This appears to be just another example of a program that, while stated with eloquence and a promise of hope, is lacking in both substance and reality. To me, publishing false hopes like this says a lot about the man who would be President. You've got to wonder... Is he intentionally "fudging" the numbers to win votes and your approval? Or, is he and his staff so weak in math that they actually think these numbers are correct? And, how many other programs are there like this one? Either way, you've got to question the man, his ability to put forth any programs to help this country, and the type of advisers that he hires! Is this the "change" that Obama is promising?

Barack Obama has a number of Bill Clinton's old staffers on his team. And, clearly, this is typical of the political, two-faced, smoke-and-mirrors programs that came out of the Clinton Administration. It is just so Clinton-esque! It brings to mind Bill Clinton's program to put 100,000 new policemen on the streets of this country. The National Press swooned and said it would be the first real Federal program to reduce crime in this country. Of course, Clinton only put one billion dollars in the budget for this program. If you did the math, you would realize that each new policeman would be hired at a salary of only $10,000 a year. Further, that funding would be a one-time event; leaving the communities to fend for themselves for the remainder of each new policeman's total career. The fact is, only 50,000 policeman or 1/2 of the goal of this program were actually hired. And, most of those new recruits would have been hired, anyway, as a part of normal growth and with or without Bill Clinton's program. Occasionally, a community, knowing that they had a retiree coming up, would hire a replacement cop "early" rather than wait until the time of retirement because they knew they could get an extra $10,000 in their coffers. Then, when the retiring cop left the force, he was never replaced. While legal under the program, it did nothing to add cops to the streets of America. In reality, this was just a "budgetary" welfare program for the police departments across America. It did nothing to actually put new cops on the streets to fight crime.

Obama claims that he wants "change" in the way government does business. He claims that he wants to get away from the "business as usual" ways of Washington. Of course, he just "neglected" to mention the fact that his concept of "change" was a return to the days of the "(Bill) Clinton as usual" ways of doing business in Washington! It has been obvious in all of his hollow speeches. That is...Give them what they want to hear...and...not...what he can actually deliver!

After reading the above, I would seriously recommend this commentary (Click to see article). While it doesn't actually address the questionable facts of Barack's stimulus plan, it does question whether or not he has "substantive policies that are different from the failed ideas that have cost Democrats presidential elections in the recent past?".

Friday, February 15, 2008

Obama's Iraq War Spending Fantasy

A couple of days ago, Barack Obama unveiled a $60 billion economic plan which included the creation of, I believe, questionable "green collar" jobs. This is in addition to the estimated $800 billion in new spending that he has "already promised" on the campaign trail for a variety of new and "big government" programs. In defense of all this spending, he claims that the cost of his new programs will be "easily" offset by rescinding the Bush tax cuts for the rich and through the elimination of the Iraq war.

In this posting, I will simply address the $100 billion per year that is being spent in Iraq by the American taxpayer and which Barack Obama seems to think will easily go away; once we have left that country.

Barack Obama claims he would eliminate the cost of the war in Iraq and put all that money to work on rebuilding the infrastructure in this country. He would also use that money to create a bunch of "green collar" jobs that would install things like solar panels across the United States. So, the "begging" question is, would eliminating $100 billion of yearly expense in Iraq truly free up "all" that money so that an equivalent amount of spending could be made in this country to create new jobs? Not Hardly! In fact, we will probably lose more jobs than we would create.

To understand this, you must understand "where" the money is actually being spent to support that war effort in Iraq. Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton too, don't seem to understand that most of the money that is being spent for Iraq is being used to pay "Americans" and give Americans jobs in both this country and in Iraq

Simply speaking, things like Humvees, helicopters, cruise missiles, bullets, hand grenades, bunks, sheets, pillows, (even toothpaste) and everything else in use in Iraq by our military are primarily being built in America by Americans. When we leave Iraq, those high paying American "manufacturing" jobs that are dedicated to these products will either be minimized or eliminated. As a result, our unemployment rolls will increase and the taxpayer paid unemployment compensation for those lost jobs will also increase. Additionally, we will lose tax revenues from the Americans and American companies making those products. Those lost jobs will also mean a loss in their purchasing power, and the ripple effect will be seen by other businesses that depend on "good employment" levels in this country to support the sales of their products.

Further, an estimated 100,000 highly-paid American contractors that are now in Iraq will probably be eliminated. In my mind, the abrupt departure of the United States, as planned by Barack Obama, will not leave "America" or "Americans" in "good stead" with the Iraqis. Those contractor jobs will be either eliminated or replaced with workers from other countries and not the Americans that are there, now. And, without the protection of our American troops, I would think those contractors, themselves, would not want to stay for fear of their lives. We can only assume that the majority will return to this country with the undesirable status of being unemployed. Once unemployed, they represent a loss of income tax revenues and an increase in unemployment compensation that all of us will have to pay in the form of taxes. It should also be pointed out, that many of the contractors were being employed by the Iraqi companies and by the Iraqi government and are being paid out of Iraqi oil revenues. Much of that money is coming back here, to their families or in bank accounts, to be spent by Americans in America and which will be lost and which is not include in the $100 billion a year that the United States government is spending in Iraq.

It is, also, important to note that the cost of the "base" salaries for the regular active-duty military won't go away. It will pretty much cost the same to pay, house, feed, outfit, and clothe those military personnel whether they be in Iraq or, after we leave the country, they are in some place like Omaha. Only the cost to pay, house, outfit, feed, and clothe the non-active duty personnel such as the National Guard and Reservists will actually go away when we leave Iraq.

Lastly, because of our now friendly relationship with Iraq, American companies are getting orders from the Iraqi government for industrial items that are well outside of $100 billion in annual U.S. government spending. Companies like General Electric are providing things like power generators and other infrastructure related items. Caterpillar Tractor is providing heavy equipment for road construction and the rebuilding of the country. And, the list goes on. The Iraqis, themselves, are buying American made products. And, this trade creates jobs and taxable personal and corporate income in this country. Like it or not, our current "friendly" relationship with Iraq has made us a "trading partner" with that country. It has created jobs in American for American products. If we abruptly leave Iraq and leave the country to the insurgents and Al Qaeda, I hardly think that Iraqis will be happy to trade with us, again. My guess is that Russia and France will become the big benefactors; as they were when Saddam ran the country.

For Barack Obama to "simply" say that we will save $100 billion dollars a year by getting out of Iraq is either being dishonest or being naive; and, I'm not sure which. And, don't get me wrong, I am "not" saying that we should either "go to" or "be at" or "stay in" war or wars for a purely economic reason. However, what I am saying is that, given all the intertwined factors, you can't "simply" count on a dollar being spent on Iraq, for a war, as being a dollar that could be easily spent elsewhere. And, I believe, the economic shock to this country by abruptly exiting that war is either not understood or is being blinded by Obama and his anti-war zealousness. And, surely, this financially-oriented exercise doesn't address the long-term strategic rationale of having military bases and having diplomatic and long-term economic relationships in Iraq; both of which will be lost when we "run" (and not walk) out of that country.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Rush Limbaugh: Be Careful What You Wish For

A lot of the conservative talk show personalities, i.e. Rush Limbaugh, Sean, Hannity, etc., are throwing tantrums about the fact that McCain might get the nod as the Republican Presidential Candidate. Some, apparently off their meds, have made comments that Hillary Clinton is more conservative than John McCain. Some are willing to take a pass on this election and let Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton win rather than vote for McCain. Their twisted thinking is that a Democrat will "F***" things up so bad that a real conservative will "cakewalk" into the Presidency in 2012. Right! That's a good plan! Maybe, they can "re-awake" Thompson (again) to be "that" real candidate in 2012. Of course, the trick, then, will be to keep him "awake".

If I were in conservative talk radio, I would really worry about a Democrat as President at the same time that the Democrats have control of both Houses of Congress. Those microphone jockeys should seriously worry about the potential resurrection of the "Fairness Doctrine" that could put them out of business. And, believe me, there is no bigger thorn in the side of the far left Democrats and their politics then the conservative talk radio programs in this country. While the "liberals" clearly have National Public Radio (NPR), PBS, and the National Press in their back pockets, they really need to shut down conservative talk radio to insure that their political message isn't contradicted. The "Fairness Doctrine" would insure that they have full control of the media in this country.

If you are not aware of the "Fairness Doctrine", it is a policy that was in effect by the Federal Communications Commission from 1949 to 1987. Wikipedia has a fairly good overview of the "Fairness Doctrine" at this link: (Click to see article). It was originally implemented to suppress any kind of "Communist Party" dialogue on the radio at a time when this country was paranoid over Communism. During the Kennedy Administration, it was designed to suppress any "right wing" talk on television and radio that would be disparaging about the Democrats and the Democratic Party. Many considered this another un-democratic attempt by this country's Democrats to defeat the Constitutional right to freedom of speech.

Radio and television stations could lose their licenses under the "Fairness Doctrine" if there were "personal attacks" against any politicians or "political commentary" by a station or its representatives that promoted any political party. Can you imagine a Rush Limbaugh trying to comply with those two rules. Further, a station "could" allow "personal attacks" and "political commentary" without losing its license if, in doing so, it gave "free" and "equal" time to rebuttal of what was said. So think about this, many of the radio stations that air conservative talk radio programming run that programming about 8 hours a day. If the "Fairness Doctrine" is re-instituted, those stations would have to run a full 8 hours of opposing liberal talk radio for free, or lose licenses.

Last year, Democratic Senators like John Durbin, John Kerry, Diane Feinstein, Barbara Boxer and even Hillary Clinton had openly talked about reviving the "Fairness Doctrine". However, they did not pursue it because they knew they would not get past a Bush veto and because they would not have the votes in the Senate to override it. Believe me, if the Democrats control both Houses and the Presidency, there would be no stopping that rule from being re-implemented.

To those talk show hosts that think that the next four years can be "tossed away" for lack of a real conservative, I can only say: "Be careful what you wish for!"

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Huckabee: In or Out?

I have no idea what Governor Mike Huckabee is up to, but I think he should pack it in. I know he claims that, in college, he majored in miracles and not math. However, my guess is that the blind will see again and the lame walk before he gets enough delegates to win the nomination. Further, if it does come down to a brokered convention, my guess is the Republican powers-to-be would prefer a Mitt Romney over a Mike Huckabee; anyway.

Statistically, he would have to get nearly 90% of the vote from here on out. Sure, the winner take all states are possible "plums" that could get him closer to that improbable, possibility. However, those states where the delegates are apportioned as a percentage of votes earned, are just out of the question. There is no way that Huckabee is going to achieve a 90+ percentage of the vote in every remaining state that apportions their votes.

As Huckabee continues to contest the nomination, in state after state, he is forcing McCain, the presumptive winner, to use up more and more cash in pitting himself against Huckabee. And, that cash would be better served later on in the battle against the Democratic candidate. Romney realized this and bowed out for his own sake and for the sake of the Party's chances in the Fall. Huckabee just can't get it.

Obama Narrowly Leads McCain????

Over the years, I have developed nothing but disrespect for the seriously politically-biased Associated Press (AP). And, as usual, they didn't fail to measure up to that opinion, again, this time.

Based on a poll that was recently commissioned by the AP, the headline reads: "Obama Narrowly Leads McCain in an AP Poll." If you read on, the story states that Obama leads McCain 48% to 42%. Further, Hillary leads McCain 46% to 45%. Wow! One can only conclude from this poll that either Democratic candidate would beat McCain in a head-to-head match up; especially Obama, who, with a 5 point lead over McCain, clearly exceeds the margin of error (assigned to this poll) of plus or minus 3.1 points.

But is this poll really being honest? Not hardly! And, the devil is in the details!

First, of the 1029 people who were queried in this poll, 520 or 51% of them were declared Democrats. Only, 357 or 34% of them were declared Republicans. That means that nearly 46% more Democrats were surveyed than Republicans. Can anyone guess why two Democrats would beat McCain with a built in, political bias like that? For a national poll to be truly accurate it should reflect, as much as possible, the actual percentages of registered independents and registered members of the two major political parties (Republicans and Democrats). That means that about 42% of the surveyed should have been declared Democrats; not 51%. Also, Republicans represent 32% of the registered voters; not 34%. Further, 25% of the registered voters in this country are declared independents. But, only 15% of the respondents were declared as other or as independents.

Even though the results are definitely skewed in favor of Obama/Clinton, we can still glean some truths out of this poll, by normalizing the number of Democrats in the poll. To do this, we will only focus on Barack Obama's numbers against McCain.

First, with percentages of 48 to 42, Obama over McCain, we know that these numbers fail to add up to 100%. Therefore, 10% didn't respond to this question in that poll; either way. So, we need to adjust the 1029 total respondents that were surveyed down to the 10% less that answered the "head-to-head" question on Obama versus McCain. That adjustment leaves us with 926 that answered the question.

Now, we need to determine the proper amount of Democrats out of that group. That would be 389 if we assume the national average of 42% of the registered voters.

Third, we know that 51% of the total respondents to this survey were declared Democrats. However, Obama only got 48% of the tally when up against McCain. That means, at the very least, 6% (48% divided by 51% of the survey) of the Democrats defected to McCain. Of course, in assuming only 6%, you would have to assume that "all" of the independents and all of the Republicans cast their vote for McCain; which isn't realistic. But it will work for the purpose of the exercise.

Given these facts, we can now determine that an adjusted 365 democrats went for Obama out of 1029 total respondents. Conversely, McCain got the nod from 561; assuming he got those 6% of the Dems, all of the Independents and all the Republicans. Of the total of 1029 respondents, that means McCain beats Obama by 55% to 35%. Even if I'm half wrong and we adjust McCain and Obama by half the value between my numbers and the original numbers, McCain will still win by 49% to 42%.

I know that some will argue that they expect the turnout for the energized Democrats to be high and I am not accounting for that. By all logic, you can't assume that. Further, Ralph Nader has already declared that his will run again this year. Against Gore, he may have stolen enough votes to have cost Gore the election. He may do the same to Obama. I would also point out that the original poll was weak on Independents; and, this is one group (maybe, even more than Republicans) that McCain attracts.

The full story of the Associated Press poll can be read at this link: (See Full Story).

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hillary: The Incredible Shrinking Woman

While a lot of Americans love to "see" the underdog win, our ingrained human psyche drives us to be "on" the winning team when it comes down to making a choice. Barack Obama started as the underdog against Hillary Clinton, and the idea that history could be made with the first Black man as our President caught fire with a lot of Americans; or, at the very least, a majority of Democrats. The National Press Corps became giddy with the idea. For whatever reasons, there was more intrigue in having a "first" of American of politics be a "Black" man rather than a "woman" as President of the United States. As the Obama-train gained steam, that magical force called "momentum" shifted to his favor. Today, it really looks like the human psyche has taken over and most Democrats believe Obama is the candidate of choice. You get the feeling that Hillary has moved from the "winner status" to the "also-ran" status and won't even get the desirable status of the "underdog". And, like Lily Tomlin's role in a 1981 movie/comedy, she has literally become the "Incredible Shrinking Woman". That movie ends leaving you "thinking" that Lily Tomlin will return to normal size; but, you never really see it happen.

I think this movie, too, will end "thinking" that Hillary will come back; but, like that 1981 Tomlin role, we will never really see it happen. And, maybe, just maybe, we are seeing history's game, set, match...President Obama!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama: All Talk and No Walk

I was listening to the granddaughter of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Susan Eisenhower, in an interview this morning. While a supposed life-long Republican, she says that she is now voting for Barack Obama. Her primary rationale in doing so is that he is a candidate that will reach across the aisle and work with Republicans. She even claims that Barack asked for her opinion. And, of course, this really proves his sincerity.

Give me a break! This woman has a broken pair of rose-colored glasses. I've listened to Barack, too. He said a lot of things about working with the "other side of the aisle". That is part of his phony "change" mantra. However, the truth is something entirely different. If he is listening to, and getting advice from Republicans, he certainly isn't voting that way; not even by the tiniest amount. In 2007, he was considered, by his voting record, the most liberal Senator in the United States Senate with a 95 percent liberal voting record. And, that takes some doing! In order to achieve that "most liberal" rating, he had to push aside some of the farthest lefties in the history of politics like Ted Kennedy, Russ Feingold, John Kerry, Patrick Leahy, Barbara Boxer, and Richard Durbin; just to name a few. In fact, his voting record is even more extreme than Senator Bernie Sanders (Vermont) who is an avowed socialist. Hillary was ranked 16th in her liberal voting record, which clearly makes her more of a moderate than Obama.

One problem that I have always had with Obama is that his talk has never really matched his walk. He hasn't reached across the aisle on anything. And, many of his statements are conflicted with logic like saying he would talk to our enemies such as Iran's Ahmadinejad while stating he would be at odds with an ally like Musharraf in Pakistan. You've got to wonder if an Obama Adminstration is one that would cozy up to every left-wing despot and dictator in the world while ignoring those people who are allies and who represent some order and reason (while admittedly imperfect) in the world. I personally don't think we can afford an "alienated" nuclear power like Pakistan that is sitting in one of the hottest trouble spots of the world while we "make nice" to the President of Iran. But, Obama thinks we should cross Pakistan's borders (without Musharraf's permission) and hunt down Osama Bin Laden; even though we don't exactly know where he is. He also has publicly stated that Musharraf should step down without any idea of what kind of leader would take his place. And, the chances are very high, based the political atmosphere in Pakistan today, that we could see a very radical replacement for Musharraf! Just maybe, given his propensity for snuggling up to radicals, that is what Barack really wants! In that same vein, he is ready and willing to hand a victory to Al Qaeda by leaving Iraq as soon as possible; despite the current success.

I think that people should be taking a closer look at Barack Obama's policies and past actions before getting superficially excited by his words. Maybe, then, he would look a little different.

Friday, February 8, 2008

A Red Tricycle With Blue Trim for Christmas

Well, McCain has all but won the nomination as the Presidential Candidate for the Republicans. If you listen to the far right of the party, you would have thought they were in the process of "having" to swallow a big spoon of castor oil. They wanted that gleaming red tricycle for Christmas. Instead, they got one with some blue on it. And, they "just" can't take their eyes off of the blue. Even though the tricycle is predominately red, all they see is blue!

And, so, the temper tantrum under the Christmas tree is being unleashed with tears, kicking, and screaming! Boo-hoo! Wah! They cry out that McCain will bring an end to the conservative movement. The sky is "definitely falling! They wanted a red-blooded Reagan conservative, and they got one that has a touch of blue blood.

Please! This is just unbelievable! McCain was elevated to the nomination by Republican voters. Not by Rush Limbaugh... Not by Ann Coulter... And, not by the rest of the far right radio personalities and pundits. Instead of looking at McCain as the "most electable" candidate that the Republicans could possibly put up against a Hillary Clinton or a Barack Obama (based on the current polling), the far right sees him as the "gate" to hell.

These people seem to forget that the Republican party (and the conservative movement) may have reached its peak and might be on its way down. The conservative movement seems to be on its wane "because of" this current President and "because of" the former conservative control of Congress. They blew it! The Republicans decisively lost both Houses of Congress in a "sweep" the last time out. And, without McCain, they are well on their way to losing control of the White House. There will be no "house" they can claim as their own. They will be "homeless" in the world of government. McCain is the only chance they have to cling to some control. Without him, and his appeal to a broad range of the national electorate, the Democrats will have a near-complete and veto-proof control of government. The 60 vote threshold in the Senate, that Republicans "now" enjoy as the "minority" party, will vanish. The Democrats would have the near-unfettered ability to pass tax increases; repeal the Bush tax cuts; get out of Iraq; implement the first steps to socialized medicine; slash military spending (again, and at a time of war); hamper our intelligence community's ability to eavesdrop; install liberal judges throughout the Federal system, and probably vote in, at least one, liberal, Supreme Court justice in the next four years. The balance of power will decidedly tip to the Democrats, and their "doing over" during the next four years (and possibly longer) will take a decade or more to undo.

Just listen to the polls. In poll after poll, the concept of "change" keeps ringing out. And, in poll after poll, the President and Congress' approval ratings just keep falling to new lows. The concept of "change" is hard to "specifically" put your hands around because it means different things to different voters; the better and bottom-line concept of "change" seems merely to be the getting away from business-as-usual "partisan" politics. I believe that the electorate is tired of partisan politics that always puts the needs of the political party in front of the needs of this country. McCain offers that change. He is "the" more middle-of-the-road candidate that is now left standing; on either the right or the left. And, while Obama and Hillary talk that game, neither has ever really demonstrated that fact. Their actions as politicians have clearly proven their partisan behavior. That is why Hillary has such a far left voting record. And, Obama is even farther left in his record. McCain has crossed over to the other side of the aisle.. That is why he is well known as the "Maverick". And, that is why this massive "hissy fit" on the far right proves that McCain is the "right" candidate to lead this country, at this time in history; and, not just the "right" candidate - politically.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tuesday's Winners and Losers

After the dust has now settled following Super Tuesday, I think the "biggest" winners of the day were Barack Obama, John McCain, and Mike Huckabee. The losers for the day were Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney.

Certainly, with a literal tie in delegates, Barak Obama has now put Hillary Clinton on notice that she is losing ground. Hillary's only bright spot is that she won Massachusetts. That was a sweet victory because it proved that not even a "truckload" of Massachusetts Kennedy's could sway the state to vote for Obama. Based on the fact, one might even venture to think that the Kennedy's might have even impaired Obama from winning even more votes that night.

On the Republican side, Mitt Romney fell short; proving that money can't buy you love. He spent millions (especially in California) and he came up short. In fact, Huckabee, on a shoestring budget, has managed 142 delegates to Romney's 222. I don't know exactly how much Romney spent on getting those 222 delegates but I'll bet it is more than anyone in the history of politics. My guess it is he spent close to a half-million dollars per delegate. I think Romney's biggest problems were his past waffling on issues and his attack-dog tactics against McCain, Dole, and Huckabee. His ads over the last week went after Hillary Clinton as if he already had the nomination. He seemed to forget he had to overcome McCain and Huckabee before that fact ever was a reality. And, his religion, Mormon, may have had some minor influence on his loss, also. Certainly, his biggest percentage win, Utah, was only because of his religion.

I would be remiss in not mentioning another big loser for the night. That loser is the "right-wingers" of talk radio like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Reagan, and Laura Ingram and the right-wing madwoman, Ann Coulter. Their late-in-the-game efforts to promote Romney and defeat John McCain just didn't work. In fact, they may have shot themselves in the foot because the voting public may have reacted negatively to their tactics. I liken their stupidity to the tactics of to try and defeat Joe Lieberman in the last Senatorial election in Connecticut. Of course, Lieberman easily won as an Independent over that far-left machine that thought it could trample him. The far right and far left have to understand that the world doesn't believe in "their" extreme views. Sorry, Rush! Sorry, Ann!

Monday, February 4, 2008

The Tax Cut for the Rich Mantra

On the Democratic side, you will consistently hear echoes after echoes that the Bush Tax Cut was for the "rich". But was it?

The tax cut bill of 2001 actually benefited the lower 2/3's of tax payers "more" than the upper 3rd. The lowest tax bracket saw a one-third reduction from a 15% tax rate to a 10% tax rate. The next bracket up (lower middle class) was reduced from 28% to 15%; a 53% reduction in rates. The middle class tax break was from 31% to 25%; a 33% reduction. The upper two tax brackets went from 36% and 39.6% to 33% and 35%; respectively. So, the rich "only" saw tax reductions of about 9% for the former 36% and 39.6% tax brackets.

Additionally, tax payers with children saw the child tax credit double from $500 to $1000. Since, typically, wealth generally comes late in life (after the children have left the nest) and because, for whatever reason, the poor and middle class have more children than the wealthy, this tax adjustment clearly benefits the bottom two-thirds of the tax payers.

Those that argue that the tax cuts were for the rich like to point to the reductions in Estate taxes which do not benefit the poor and middle class. But reduction of those taxes do stop the wholesale slaughter of family owned businesses that have, over the years, resulted in the bisecting of farm land to pay estate taxes; and, the sell-off of business and their inventories to payoff the tax burden. Take, for example, a farmer who owns land and equipment that is now worth one million dollars, but took a lifetime of work to pay off the loans needed to achieve that supposed wealth. Under the old estate tax system, everything over $750,000 was subject to a minimum of 38% in taxes. That meant that at the death of the primary holder of that property, the surviving spouse was saddled with a tax bill of nearly $100,000. In a good year, that farm may have made a taxable profit of $100,000. In a bad year, it could have lost that much. So, having an estate tax bill of $100,000 puts that farmer's family in the position of having to sell off much of their land to pay the tax. That then reduces their income potential, and, typically, they have no other choice but to sell the entire, life-long, business to pay the tax. In the case of farmers, the land is usually sold off to massive Corporate farmers. The net-net of that is that the jobs are also lost because the big corporate farmer is more efficient.

Additionally, those who "chant" the mantra of the "tax cuts for the rich" like point to the 2003 law which cut capital gains rates from 20% to 15%. Also, the top dividend rate for Stock and Bond holders was reduced from 20% to15%. It is true that this does benefit the rich directly. However, more than 50% of this country's population is, at the very least, indirectly benefited by these cuts. For example, the various employee unions benefit because their pension funds are invested in securities such as stocks and bonds. And, those union operations that avoided taxable investments can, now, look at other stocks and bonds that pay dividends because the rates are lower.

Always overlooked is the fact the the Bush tax cuts reduced the number of workers who were actually eligible to pay taxes. In fact, about 10 million workers and retirees no longer have to pay taxes because the minimum eligibility for paying income tax was raised above their income levels. Those people just fell off the tax rolls and no longer pay "any" taxes under the Bush tax cuts.

The Bush tax cuts reversed a recession that he inherited from President Clinton, That recession was exacerbated by the events of 9/11 which just knocked the economic stuffings out of this country. Those tax cuts have been able to consistently reduce the budget deficit since they were implemented; and, this is despite the fact that our Congress has spent nearly 45 percent more in the last 7 years than when Bush took office. A fact that probably resulted in the loss of both Houses of Congress for the Republicans.

Tax cuts work. That is why both the Democrats and the Republicans are trying to give every tax payer in this country a rebate of about $1200. And, what is a tax rebate? Just another "tax cut" done after the fact!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

The Real Story Of Health Care Costs in the U.S.

Truly affordable, and possibly mandated government-sponsored or government-controlled health care insurance in this country is at the forefront of all the political campaigns this year. Both sides of the aisle believe they have the answers. However, none (and, I mean "none") of them addresses the real reason that health care is so unaffordable for so many in this country.

The answer is fairly simple. It is malpractice lawsuits.

In their defense, the attorneys who are involved in malpractice litigation will point to the fact the dollars being awarded as a result of their lawsuits pales in comparison to the aggregate annual cost increases being charged by the health insurance companies and the medical profession. And, that is true.

However, to see the "true" impact of lawsuits on the medical system in this country, you need only look at "9/11" and the loss of the World Trade Center buildings as a parallel. The replacement cost of those buildings, two planes, and the remaining lifetime salary potential of those killed in that tragedy, are a mere fraction of the trillions of dollars that Federal, State, and local governments and corporations are now (and probably will be forever) spending for increased "security measures" to prevent that event from ever happening again.

The same is true in health care. Today, doctors have a fear of lawsuits. They don't want to be sued because their individual rates will increase. As a result, patients are subjected to more tests than ever to make sure that their reason for seeing a doctor isn't something "more" than just a cold, a sore throat, body ache, etc. In the same way that we, as a country, are trying to prevent another "9/11" with extensive and very costly security measures, doctors are taking extraordinary steps to insure they don't misdiagnose and, ultimately, get sued. That's why many doctors are increasingly using "specialists" as a form of second opinion to insure that they, alone, don't make an erroneous decision on what ails you. This is "CYA" to "nth" degree! All these tests and referrals to specialists are driving costs through the roof. And, while insurance companies and Medicare can control the costs of the "individual tests" and office visits; they are unable to step in to control the frequency and breadth of either. That's why costs are going up so fast.

In addition, we know more than we did years ago. For example, we know that high cholesterol can lead to a stroke or heart disease. Millions of Americans who can't control their cholesterol are put on "statins" to control it through medication. Once you are put on one of these "statin" drugs, you have now committed yourself to an expensive blood test every 90 days to insure that your liver function is not impaired. And, it's the insurance companies (and, ultimately us) who pay for all those tests. Even though the incidence of liver failure as a result of taking a "statin" drug is relatively low, the doctors are "not" going to take the risk that you have an impaired liver function and wind up suing them. So, as a result, 2 or 3 thousand dollars a year will be expended in medical costs and the cost of the medications, themselves, to insure you, primarily, don't have a stroke or heart attack (which could also result in a lawsuit against a doctor), and, secondarily, don't have liver disease which could result in future litigation.

And, here's another example. One of the reasons that we have so few influenza vaccine manufactures in this country is because 90% of them were driven out of that business by lawsuits. Every drug manufacturer builds a certain amount of cost into every drug they develop and market to cover the risk potential of lawsuits. And, that's why so many drugs can cost more than the cost of dinner each day. Those manufacturers know that "no" drug is 100% safe. There are always side effects and potential long term consequences. However, the legal profession sues on the basis that there be no risk at all!

If we, as country, want to get serious about making health insurance broadly available to everyone, we have to start with tort reform in the medical care arena. In many countries, that have socialized medicine, the ability to sue is severely limited because, to do so, would be to sue the government. Doctors are just employees of the State. There's no juries awarding millions and, subsequently, a third of that award being given to an attorney as a big fat paycheck. Nor are there any awards for pain and suffering or any premium imposed as "punishment". Generally, a governmental panel will decide if you are entitled to any compensation; and, if so, it is usually in the simple terms of wages being lost. In some countries, the panel can refer a case to the courts. But, it's their call and "not" some attorney's. The punishment of failing doctors is left up to a governmental review system and "not" done in the court system.

Hillary's Subprime Bailout; A Carter-esk Solution!

Probably one of the most ridiculous proposals by any one candidate for President is Hillary Clinton's proposed fix for the sub-prime mortgage lending crisis. She has two primary elements which she believes will "fix" the problem. The first is to suspend any foreclosures over the next 90 days. And, the second, is to freeze interest rates for "five" years.

I don't know who is advising Hillary on this one, but this is the most absurd proposal I've every heard. And, it is a play that is straight out of Jimmy Carter's dumbest plays in government history.

During Carter's absolutely failed administration, he froze oil prices in order to try to combat the oil embargo by OPEC. However, this action didn't address the primary issue of oil shortages but exacerbated it. The artificially induced low prices did not create the financial incentives that would ultimately be needed to stimulate more oil drilling and overcome the oil shortages that we were faced with. As a result, people stood in lines nearly a mile long for hours on end to get gasoline for their cars. Once the Carter Price Controls were lifted, the price doubled (another shock to the consumer). However, those higher oil prices created the incentive to explore and drill for more oil and the net result was that OPEC was forced to breakdown their embargo because they couldn't control the market any longer.

Hillary's plan is similar. By ignoring market forces and artificially freezing interest rates for mortgages for "five" years on existing loans, she will force rates on other types of loans to rise abnormally to compensate for it. Small business loans will be set at abnormally high rates and will result in a disastrously slowed economy for the lack of new businesses and jobs to meet our growing population. After all, small businesses account for the nearly 80% of the jobs in our economy. Also, these frozen interest rates will force lenders to be extremely cautious and limit their risk. New home loans (and auto loans) will be only given under the best of conditions. I would expect minimums of 20% or 25% down on a new home. Also, borrowers will have to have extremely high credit ratings; which, as a result, will mean that the housing market (except for the wealth) will just dry up. Thousands in the homebuilding industry will be out of work. Talk about making a recession worse.

Artificial controls are a horrible idea and just typical of someone who doesn't understand the first thing about business and economics. Carter may have been a great and prosperous peanut farmer but he failed miserably in the world of domestic and world economics. And, Hillary is no different!

We have to come to the realization that a lot of people received home loans that they should never have had. Trying to rescue those people is just delaying the inevitable (like the doubling of oil prices when controls were lifted). Our focus should be on those who are marginally at risk and that may need short term help for a year or two to get out of the bind they are in. Some kind of loan assistance may be in order.

Finally, we should "not" bailout those people who leveraged their existing homes in order to try and play the "boom" in the house market, thinking that they could "flip" houses for a quick profit. They took a financial risk and they should accept the consequences!

The fact is, the majority of foreclosures are already in progress; and, not reversible. The people are already out of their homes. The politicians have to move quickly, now, and not when a new President takes office next year if they are to forestall any further deterioration of the housing market. The actions by the Federal Reserve to quickly lower interest rates with help. That will keep any adjustable rate mortgages from rising any further. However, there are a lot of people in trouble because the salaries aren't increasing at the same rate as their mortgages; their taxes; their food prices; and, their energy costs.