Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The EPA: The Grinch Who Stole Christmas From America and the Coal Industry

Last Wednesday, just days before Christmas, Carol Browner, Obama's radical Climate Czar, announced new EPA restrictions for mercury, arsenic, and other toxic substances being outputted into the atmosphere by coal-fired power plants. Compliance is required before 2014. Hailed as a victory by environmentalists, it is expected that it could mean the demise of nearly 60 existing coal-fired power plants with upwards of 22 million customers being affected; mostly in the already beaten up and declining cities and states in what is known as the Rust Belt. Some communities could see their power bills rise by as much as 30%. Most of the country may see rates go up by 10% as this nation's nearly 600 coal-fired power producing facilities are retrofitted with expensive new or modified smokestack "scrubbers" that will be needed to drastically reduce these types of emissions.

Of course, Obama and his EPA could care less about the impact on energy prices and the fact that thousands may lose their jobs in what is already a slow economy. Instead, they claim that their actions are all about saving lives and preventing illness. The "straw man" that they want us to believe in is that their new coal regulations will prevent illnesses like asthma and the effects of mercury and arsenic poisoning and any resulting deaths. Yes, it is true that the number of asthma cases in the U.S. has risen significantly over the years and The EPA would have you believe that those numbers can be reduced by the new regulations. But, in direct contradiction to this, our dependence on coal-fired power production has been steadily declining for two decades since a modified version of the Clean Air Act went into effect in 1990 to reduce acid rain emissions from any coal burning activities.

At one time, almost all electricity in this country was being produced from coal. Today, coal is only responsible for about 49% of this nation's electrical power. The reason is simple. It is too time consuming and costly to maintain any existing coal-fired power plants and to build new ones. For the existing base, the cost to keep up with ever-changing EPA rules and regulations is just too punitive. For any new power generating facilities, there are too many months needed to get EPA licensing. Then, if a power company does manage to get a "go-ahead" from the EPA, there's usually years of court battles with environmental organizations like the Sierra Club and/or Greenpeace. For most power companies, natural gas has become the clear choice over coal. It's easier to get licensing and it typically avoids lengthy environmental court action. More importantly, natural gas, through efficiencies and new finds, has become more competitively priced to what had been previously unbeatable coal prices.

So, with the power companies, themselves, already policing coal out of business, why this new ruling and why now? Why an unreasonable two year compliance mandate? I'm quite sure that the EPA didn't just, all of a sudden, connect the dots on the health risks of burning coal. And, if there truly is a deadly health risk, why did it take 3 years into the Obama Administration before the EPA decided to act on saving lives?

To me, the purpose, the timing, and the compliance requirements of this EPA ruling have "politics" written all over it. First of all, the new regulations conveniently appeal to Obama's environmental voting base in what is the beginning of an election year. Secondly, the decision comes just a little over 10 months away from the next Presidential election. As a consequence, the negative impact on jobs and energy prices are being held off, presumably, until Obama has been reelected. After all, if the EPA had implemented these new regulations in Obama's first year in office, higher electricity rates and job losses would have already been apparent; jeopardizing Obama's reelection bid. Also, the 2-year, forced compliance to the new emissions standard insures that there won't be enough time for the power industry to retrofit all of it's existing coal plants; forcing them to take many of those plants out of service. This also insures that the power industry won't have the needed time to replace those lost plants with any new and compliant facilities. Two years isn't enough time to get EPA approvals let alone have the needed 3 to 5 years to build a new power plant. Thus, brownouts can be expected. In turn, angry customers and public utility commissions will force the power companies to replace the lost power with expensive wind and solar facilities which you can expect to sail through the EPA approval process and, which, can be built in substantially less time than any brick-and-mortar, natural gas power plant.

Back in 2008, when a, then-Senator, Barack Obama was running for the presidency, he unabashedly said that it was his intent to "bankrupt" the coal industry and, in so doing, necessarily cause electricity prices to "skyrocket." That's why this EPA action is no surprise. The truly sad thing about this is that countless numbers of poorer Americans will suffer by forcing them to make "dire" choices between paying their energy bills or paying for their housing, food, clothing, and health care. All of this so Obama can get reelected by appealing to his own radical environmental political base.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Obama Showing Restraint

During last week's 60 Minutes interview, President Barack Obama placed himself in fourth place against the legislative accomplishments of all other Presidents in American history. In fact, "he sees himself" just behind Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson. For an "I-me-my" narcissist like Obama, this shows amazing and, I'm quite sure, mentally torturing restraint. For sure, he really wanted to say that he was "Numero Uno" but, instead, decided to "try and be humble" and seem a little less "audacious" by only pronouncing himself as history's fourth greatest President. Of course, in his mind, there's no doubt that all the Presidential historians, both now and going forward, will see him in that top slot; anyway. And, if you don't think so...just ask him!

The $40 Per Pay Check Deception and Chicanery

For weeks now, Obama and the Democrats have told us that 160 million workers will lose, on average, $1000 a year in their paychecks if the payroll tax cut is not extended. If you do the math, that's about $19.23 a week; or $2.75 a day. But, you see, that $1000 is actually taxable income subject to an average tax rate of approximately 25%. Therefore, at best, the average worker will see about $750 in additional annual take-home pay; resulting in a $14/week or $2/day benefit. Of course, this is hardly enough to buy a single $2.14 non-frapp, standard-brewed and standard-sized coffee at Starbucks (sales tax not included).

Now, all of the sudden, Obama and the Democrats have decided to claim that the average worker's pay check will see a loss of $40 if the tax cut isn't extended. Conveniently, the Dems have attempted to make the amount of this benefit seem larger than it actually is by assuming the average worker is being paid on a bi-weekly basis. But in America, the most common pay period is weekly; especially for the trades and service workers. Management is typically paid monthly or bi-weekly. But, still, the reality is that the true, after-tax benefit will only be about $2/day.

Effectively, this amount is literally "peanuts" when compared to the inflation that the average worker and his family has seen in gasoline, food, energy, and clothing prices over the last three years. And, that's why this payroll tax cut has done very little to stimulate the economy. It is simply a political tool for the Democrats and Obama to run on against the Republicans and get reelected.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Forget the Polls: Political Website Traffic Tells A Bigger Story

Readers of the conservative website, The Daily Caller, probably enjoyed reading this morning's lead piece: "As political season heats up, Politico’s Web traffic cools down".

In essence, this article uses available web traffic data to show that there has been a dramatic shift of traffic away from left-leaning political websites and an even more dramatic rise in traffic towards conservative sites. It appears that liberal sites like Politico, Media Matters, Talking Points Memo, the Daily Kos, Wonkette, and Salon have all suffered double-digit losses in their number of unique visitors. At the same time, political right-wing sites such as The Daily Caller, The Blaze, and Newsmax have all had extraordinary increases in traffic.

These statistics may tell a bigger story. A story that says Americans are seriously rejecting the progressive policies of Obama and the Democrats. And, more than any polling data, this may well be a better predictor of a conservative win in the 2012 elections. Not just for Congress but, also, for the presidency.

Lastly, on a related topic, The Blaze is reporting that the leftest of the left-wing websites, MoveOn.org, may go belly up on January 1st if it doesn't get an immediate cash infusion of $400,000 dollars. Many believe that George Soros will come to the rescue. He probably will. Even so, it is just another example of how liberal sites are losing at the hands of the extremist policies of Obama and the Democrats.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Reuters: Housing starts hit 1-1/2 year high in November?

Because of this morning's Reuters headline, American home building rose to a 1-1/2 year high; most readers think that the housing market is on the rebound. Not so fast. The so-called "high" was totally due to the fact that multifamily homes were being built (i.e. condos and rental properties) at an increased rate of 32.2% in November. Single family home building only rose by 2.3% for the month. For the year, single family homes are still tracking at a negative 1.5% as compared to the prior year's activity.

The problem with building multifamily homes is that those kinds of homes will easily take sales away from the huge inventory of already foreclosed on and otherwise empty single-family units. As a result, don't expect single-family home prices to rebound for a very long time. Then, too, when the true home market starts to rebound again, there will be a massive glut of multifamily homes; leading to vacancies and, possibly, a number of run down neighborhoods and eye-sores.

The housing situation in this country has become a horrible mess. It should never have been allowed to get to this point in the first place. George Bush and, then, Barack Obama should have immediately addressed housing in each of their respective terms. We should have never allowed extremely easy, pre-recession mortgage lending to be turned into today's extremely tight credit and, now, almost non-existent mortgage lending. Instead, a middle ground policy on credit standards would have easily produced a moderate pace of home sales; eventually leading to a more robust sales as the economy recovered. Instead, we have one huge inventory of homes that will ultimately lead to another new and huge inventory of rental properties and condos in the future.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Stockholm Syndrome: Tears For Kim Jong IL

A now-viral video shows a North Korean TV newscaster deeply and emotionally disturbed by the death of her country's dictator, Kim Jong IL In tears, it seems as if she can barely finish the story. Then, too, there are some other leaked videos that seem to show the whole country in deep mourning.

If these pictures and videos are not being staged, we may be seeing an extreme example of the Stockholm Syndrome whereby the captives have positive feelings towards their captor; no matter how evil or hurtful they may be. In this case, we had a cruel dictator who, for nearly two decades, tortured, starved, and killed an unknown toll of possibly thousands upon thousands of his own people. Literally, he created a closed society of slaves to both himself and the state of North Korea. Yet, we now see all this outpouring of sorrow and tears. Sorrow because they know no better. Kim Jong IL spent his life preventing his people from knowing no other life than the ones they have. Maybe someday, this imprisonment of an entire country will end. But, certainly, it will not end as long as another "Kim Jong" despot remains in power and people are being held in darkness.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Obama's No Champion of the Middle Class

In last week's Osawatomie, Kansas speech on "Income Inequality," Barack Obama attempted to channel Teddy Roosevelt by claiming that he, like Roosevelt, was a champion of the middle class against the evils and ravages of the rich, Wall Street, and big business. But, you see, that's a phoney argument. In fact, it is Obama who has done everything possible to destroy the middle class since being in office. And, here's why.

In less than 3 years, Obama has raised the federal debt by more than 30% through massive spending programs that he had claimed would rejuvenate the economy. Instead, unemployment continued to rise and the economy has only limped along over that last two years; prompting some to even predict a double dip recession.

But, any of the economic benefits that were supposed to be created by all that spending were more than offset by the fact that the U.S. dollar was being devalued in the process. This, in turn, meant that Americans would pay higher prices for many imported goods. At the same time, the weakened dollar caused world oil prices to more than double because, world-wide, oil is only traded in U.S. dollars. Then, too, Obama's war on carbon fuels and his green energy policies are forcing Americans to pay more and more for all their energy needs.

Overall, the average American family is spending more for all of those essential goods and services in their daily lives. This includes food, clothing, fuel, and energy. Effectively, the middle class has had their spending power reduced along with their standards of living -- thanks to Obama. People on fixed incomes are hurt even more. In a nutshell, that's why Obama is no champion of the middle class.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Obama Administration's Gun "Walking" to Push Gun Control

It's no secret that Obama and most Democrats wish they could overturn the 2nd Amendment- right to bear arms. Therefore, it's also no wonder that we are now finding out that Obama's own Justice Department may have used a program called "Fast and Furious" to "walk" legally purchased assault rifles over the border of Mexico and into the hands of the drug cartels in a "staged" attempt to make a case for strict gun controls. (Click here to read the CBS News report: "Documents: ATF used "Fast and Furious" to make the case for gun regulations")

Right now, Attorney General Eric Holder is on the hot seat. Congressional hearings are trying to determine just how high up. in the Justice Department. the "Fast and Furious" program received its authorization. Increasingly, it's looking like Holder was well aware of it -- if not actually authorizing it. At the same time, one has to wonder if Obama, himself, was somewhat involved. I say this because the President, nearly 2-1/2 years ago, used a phoney statistic in an attempt to pump up support for an assault weapons ban. In his April 2009 press conference with Mexico's President Calderone, Obama and Calderone both stated that 90% of the weapons being used by the Mexican drug cartel's came from the U.S.

But this was a statistic that was both taken out of context and embellished. In 2008, Mexico had confiscated more than 30,000 firearms from captured and killed criminals and drug cartel members. Of that, approximately 7200 of those weapons were suspected to have come into Mexico from the United States and they were returned to law enforcement officials in this country in order to determine their true country of origin. Of those 7200, only 4000 had enough of their serial numbers left in tact so that they could actually be traced. Consequently, of that 4000, only 3480 of them or 87% of the 4000 were traceable back to the U.S. Now, for what has to be political convenience, officials in this country have rounded that 87% to 90%. However, that still left more than 26,500 of the original 30,000 that didn't come into Mexico from this country. In reality, only about 12% were from the U.S. Not 90%. (Click here to read this report from the prestigious Stratfor Global Intelligence group: "Mexico's Gun Supply and the 90 Percent Myth")

Now, I ask you: If a President is willing to lie about a number in an attempt to gain support for gun control, what else would he be willing to do?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Jobless Claims are Always Lower

This morning, the initial unemployment insurance claims report (aka the Jobless Claims Report) for the last week fell "unexpectedly" below 400,000 to 381,000. Reuters news wrote this in response: "The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a nine-month low last week, suggesting the labor market's recovery was gaining momentum."

Well, here's the thing. The claims numbers are always lower in the weeks that constitute the Holiday season -- starting with the week before Thanksgiving and ending in mid-January when seasonally hired workers are let go. It's a simple fact that retailers hire during the holidays; causing a lowering in unemployment and claims. It's also human nature. You see, most employers aren't the heartless, greedy ogres that Obama and the Democrats would have you believe. The last thing that any employer wants to do is throw a worker out on the street during the holidays.

But, the news media always jumps on these "seasonal" drops as some "sign" that the economy is getting better. Just last year, CNN reported on the noticeable slowdown in claims with this December 16th headline: "Unemployment claims drift lower." Inside that report, economist Stuart Hoffman of PNC Financial Services was quoted as saying: "...the current downward trajectory is 'very encouraging.'" However, as we now know, that downward trend evaporated after the holidays and the claims numbers started going back up in 2011.

Then, on December 30, CNN wrote an even more ecstatic report on the falling jobless claims under this this headline: "Jobless claims drop below 400,000 mark." They went on to write: "For the first time in more than two years, the number of Americans filing for their first week of unemployment benefits fell below 400,000 last week -- a ray of hope in one of the longest job droughts in U.S. history." Of course, that "longest drought" has continued on with millions of Americans still out of work and still losing jobs.

To me, it seems like the "left-wing media" always has convenient memory loss around this time of the year. But, if you're a liberal news operation and your favored President is floundering at his job, it's a good way to make lemonade out of lemons. This has happened time after time since Obama has been in office. Nearly every week the jobless insurance claims are report as "falling unexpectedly". Then, the following week, the previously reported claims number is bumped up again so the newly reported claims number can be, again, shown as a drop. Yet, the claims remain high at above the 400,000 level. If they had truly fallen as many times as they have been reported to have done so -- in the last three years -- nobody should be out of work.

But, Obama is not a job's president. This, despite how hard the press tries to make him look like one. From his spending and energy policies to his healthcare and financial service mandates, this President and his administration have done absolutely nothing to correct the high unemployment situation in this country. That is not just me saying this. It's a simple, statistical fact.

The Hypocrisy Of The Year's Climate Change Summit

Right now, there are about 10,000 attendees at this year's climate change summit being held in Durban, South Africa. Those showing up at this "not-so-little save-the-planet-soiree" include representatives from 194 countries, climate scientists, interested environmentalists, global warming activists, a sprinkling of protestors, and, of course, hundreds of media personnel. All there to stop mankind from pumping millions of tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Then, too, how much CO2 was spewed into the air by having 10,000 attendees, from all over the world, fly into such a remote location as South Africa. You would think that a group that is so protective of our environment would be a lot more judicious with their own carbon footprints. But, no. And, the reason? $100 billion in wealth redistribution from the bad polluting countries to those countries who can least afford to combat global warming. You see, the underdeveloped countries will need everything from food assistance, to equipment used to measure their own climate changes. This is despite the fact that none of the dire predictions of the last Climate Treaty, Kyoto, have come to pass. This is not climate science. This is all political science and, more and more, the people are waking up to that fact. For 15 years there has been no increase in world temperatures. Yet, carbon dioxide levels have continued to rise at record rates during that very same time period. To quote the famous utterance of the "Lost in Space" robot: "That does no compute!"

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Chevy Volt: A Rolling Crematorium?

Running nearly the entire length of the "hump" between the driver and passenger seats and, then, forming a "T" that runs along the back seat of the Chevy Volt is an extremely large and toxic lithium ion battery. It's the very same battery type that is used to power your laptops or cell phones.

The problem with lithium ion batteries is that under certain "stress" conditions, like extreme overcharging, they have a tendency to catch fire. Just five days ago, on a regional flight in Australia, an Apple iPhone burst into flames. A couple of days later, in Brazil, another iPhone caught fire. The fact is that the lithium battery has a history of either burning people's skin from the high heat that's generated or just plain catching fire.

Now, we have the Electric Vehicles being powered by lithium batteries thousands of times larger than any you would find in a cell phone or laptop. To my knowledge there have already been 3 fires associated with the Volt. The first occurred back in April of this year when a Connecticut couple lost their entire garage to what is suspected to be a Volt fire. Then, just a few weeks ago, a Volt that was undergoing a crash test had its battery burst into flames. Finally, another set of batteries, used in another crash test, caught fire after having been removed from the car.

After the first crash test fire, General Motors (GM) announced that they would provide rental cars to anyone concerned about their Volts until such time as they were able to assure the safety of these cars. Then, following the next fire, GM announced that it was willing to buy back any Volts from owners fearful of the hazard. That, to me, was a clear admission that GM has a serious problem. With that, sales of the Volt are starting to falter as the buying public smells a rat.

I don't know about you but, I, for one, would not want to sit in a car that had even the remotest possibility of being a mobile crematorium. I'm not sure that the world is quite ready for the electric car revolution. Thanks to the Obama Administration and the leverage they exerted with the bailout, GM was pushed into a rush delivery of the first electric car. Fortunately, only about 8,000 of these might be sold this year. But, if they are a real fire risk, even one Volt on the road is one Volt too many. I really think the future of the electric car has been put into question just because Obama wanted to please his eco-left, climate change, activist voting base by rushing an unproven electric car to market.

Monday, December 5, 2011

U.S. Postal Service: Stupid Is As Stupid Does!

The United States Post Office blames the Internet for its deficit woes? So, in order to solve their problem, they plan to eliminate hundreds of sorting facilities and slow down first class mail delivery by an average of one day. In essence, forcing even more of their business to the Internet. How stupid is this?

Income Disparity: Social Injustice or Socialist Jealously?

On a recent MSNBC "Morning Joe" program, former President Carter's National Security Adviser, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, claimed that the United States is one of the most socially unjust nations in the world (Click here to See the Story and The Video). To prove this, he pointed to our ranking in something called the GINI coefficient where we were clustered at the top of the most "unjust" country's list along with countries like Brazil, Mexico, India, and China. Simply speaking, the "Gini" is a measurement of the disparity between the rich and the poor in any given country. It was developed by a socialist, for socialist propaganda, and the results are generally skewed to make socialism look better than capitalism because it favors countries that have little or no individual exceptionalism and countries where the government dictates salaries. Lastly, Brzezinski claimed that Europeans are more upwardly mobile than Americans.

There's a reason that Jimmy Carter wears the "worst President ever" crown. He basically hired idiot socialists like Brzezinski.

Once again, we have a another leftist -- in concert with Obama -- playing class warfare. People like Brzezinski seem to think that income disparity is the only measurement of a society that counts. But, what they ignore is that fact that Americans enjoy one of the highest standards of living; including our supposed 30 million poor. Many of the so-called poor of this country enjoy a more comfortable lifestyle than the poor of hundreds of other countries. According to a study conducted by our own Department of Energy on energy consumption by social class, 99.7% of those defined as poor have refrigerators and 95% have stoves and ovens. Nearly 98% have TV's. Most have cars and nearly 75% have home air conditioning. In Europe, even some of the most posh apartments don't have air conditioning because energy prices are too high. That's why over 5000 people died in 2003 in France when they had several days of 100 degree heat.

I'm not saying that people aren't hurting in America but, we have several safety nets to help those people survive who have little or no income. 1.2 million of our poor live in some form of low rent or rent-free public housing. 40 million receive food stamps. 57 million Americans receive health care support through Medicaid. We have free school lunch programs in support of the poor. Additionally, people, having low incomes can actually file an income tax return, pay no taxes, and get paid in the process through something called the Earned Income Tax Credit. And, list goes on.

When it comes to income disparity, the only thing that comes to my mind is social jealousy and not the lack of social justice. Does it really matter if Jay Leno has a warehouse full of expensive rare cars? Does his having those cars prevent anyone else from having a car? Not hardly. What really matters is that almost all Americans who "need" a car have one.

It also amazes me that Brzezinski used Europe as an example of a more upwardly mobile society to live in than the U.S. Aside from Germany, Europe is in a mess and either partly or wholly teetering on collapse. The social unrest is unbelievable. Brzezinski is just totally off his nut. Again, it all comes down to standards of living and the purchasing power of Americans versus Europeans. The average new home being built in the U.K., for example, is just under 800 square feet; the worst in Europe (Click here to See Story). In the U.S., that number is over 2300 square feet. Even in the more affluent country of Denmark, the average new home size is still nearly half that of the U.S. The average American household owns 2.3 automobiles. In Europe, the statistic is half that and Europeans depend heavily on public transportation. But, there's a reason for this and it all has to do with the fact that Europeans have less disposable income than Americans. That's why the average age of an automobile in Europe is 13 years compared to only 9 years in the U.S.

Over and over again, liberals love to hate America. If Brzezinski thinks Europe is such a great place, then move there and take his daughter, Mika (Joe Scarborough's Co-Host on "Morning Joe"), with him. If the "Gini" is so important, he should think about moving to a country like Botswana, where there is such "low" disparity of income. A place, where so many people get to enjoy all the amenities of a one or two-room, dirt-floor house or hut that has no running water, no electricity and, certainly, no air conditioning. Yes sir, that "Gini" is fine way of measuring social justice.

Friday, December 2, 2011

This Morning's Jobs Report Just Screams Fraud!

Most all of this morning's economic news headlines read like this one from Bloomberg news: U.S. Jobless Rate Unexpectedly Declines to 8.6%.

So, supposedly, we added enough jobs to lower the unemployment rate by four-tenths of one percent from last month's rate of 9%. To put this into perspective, we currently have a labor force of about 154 million workers. To achieve a four-tenths lowering of the unemployment rate, we needed to add over 600,000 new jobs. Now, according to the report, itself, we only added 120,000 jobs in November. Then, going back to October's data, that previously reported number was revised upwards by 20,000. Therefore, overall, only 140,000 jobs were supposedly created in this reporting period. Certainly, well short of the needed 600,000. What's worse, the report also states that the workforce shrank by 315,000 workers because those unemployed workers grudgingly gave up looking for work. Therefore, the net of this report is that our economy actually "lost" 175,000 jobs. Yet the unemployment rate fell dramatically.

The reality is that this report doesn't jive with its own internal facts. It also doesn't jive with the last Gross Domestic Product (GDP) report which had been revised downwards to a mere 2% economic growth in the last quarter. Most economists would tell you that you would need a minimum of 2.5% GDP growth before there would be any "real" job creation and a "true" lowering of the unemployment rate. Lastly, this report certainly doesn't match up with the fact that the jobless claims numbers have consistently stayed near or above the 400,000 level. Simply speaking, this morning's report is either an incompetent handling of the data or, what's worse, a blatant political deception.

Already, this morning, key Democrats and the liberal media are falling all over themselves in jubilation of the lowered unemployment rate. All are singing praises to Obama's economic policies. Even Obama hit the microphones to lay claim to "his" creation of 120,000 jobs in November. But, as I have shown, that claim ignores the realities in order to "politically" deceive the public. The fact is that we need to grow the labor force by a minimum of 166,000 jobs, each month,in order to keep up with simple population growth. Obama is a fraud. Throughout his term in office, there has never been a month where there has been any true job creation. And, that's the truth that Obama continues to hide, month after month, in an attempt to prove that his economic policies are working and that he should be reelected.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Obama Wrestling The "Worst Ever" Crown From Carter

There's still 11 months to go to before we officially find out whether Obama has become the reigning one-term, "worst ever" President. Right now, that title still comfortably sits with the one-term wonder: Jimmy Carter.

But, based on recent polling data from the Gallup organization, Obama is proving that Carter's title isn't as implacable as many would have thought. According to Gallup, Obama's overall approval rating -- for this point in his Presidency -- is 8 points below the approval rating of Carter and certainly below the ratings of all other modern Presidents (Click here to See Story: Obama's Approval Plunges Below Worst-Ever President Carter).

This was no small feat on the part of our current Chief Executive. After all, he had to really go out of his way to prove that he was a weaker leader and a more do-nothing President than ole Jimmy. Further, he had to prove, like Carter, that he could actually make things worse since taking office. My hat's off to the man. Veni. Vidi. Vici!


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Cheaper Dollars Means More Inflation

This morning, it was announced that our Federal Reserve, along with the Bank of England and the Central Banks of Europe, Japan, Canada, and Switzerland would all lower their dollar interbank lending rate by 1/2 percent. In doing so, it is expected that the world economies will be stimulated.

Once again, you have the monetarist, Federal Reserve Charmian Ben Bernanke, believing that he can kick start the worlds economy through an easy money policy. A policy that he's tried in this country and that has failed miserably to stimulate anything. To me, the only thing that will happen is that the value of our dollar will fall again; making those things we import more expensive for us to buy. In fact and true to form, as soon as this banking arrangement was announced, the dollar sank in value and oil prices jumped above $101.

As I have written before, import price inflation just shrinks the total amount of products and services that a consumer can afford to buy. In other words, less bang for the buck. As a result, discretionary spending declines and the economy starts to contract. Let's never forget, much of what we buy in this country is imported. Even if a product says "Made in America", it was probably assembled using imported parts.

The big problem with this interbank lending policy is that it doesn't really address the underlying debt crisis in Europe. And, unless countries like Italy and Greece get their spending under control, we are still at risk for world wide economic collapse.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pakistan's Anger Over Air Strikes Was Inevitable

When last Saturday's NATO airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers and injured 13 others, the retaliation by the Pakistani government was only to be expected. For month's, now, the U.S. and NATO have been conducting not-always-so-surgical strikes against the Taliban in that country. Unfortunately, innocent citizens -- including some children -- and the Pakistani military have been been either killed, maimed, or injured in the process.

Since Obama took office, unmanned drone attacks have been escalated in an effort to make the Afghanistan/Pakistan Taliban war as bloodless as possible for our own military personnel. To me, not having to suffer a potential sacrifice of losing one's own troops just makes it easier to make quick -- and possibly bad decisions -- in the battlefield. At the same time, NATO, too, has conducted airstrikes in lieu of troops on the ground.

Sadly, this "air strike" policy and its collateral deaths and injuries have put us in an extremely bad position: Winning the war but losing the hearts and minds of the people in both Afghanistan and Pakistan. It is as if we never learned the lessons of World War II and how hated the Germans were for their indiscriminate buzz-bombing and V1/2 rocket strikes against British citizenry.

Make no mistake about it, we needed the cooperation of Pakistanis to effectively execute the war in Afghanistan and shutdown the influence of those Taliban militants who are in hiding in Pakistan. But, now, I think we've blown it. We just might have pushed an already-deteriorating alliance into a state of hostility; thus making the possibility of winning the Afghanistan war an impossibility.

Michele Bachmann Will Never Learn

First, she attacked Rick Perry over his HPV vaccination program in Texas. I guess she thought it would somehow elevate her in the race while, at the same time, dethrone Rick Perry -- the then-leader at the time. Instead, just the opposite happened: She fell further while Perry remained ahead of the pack. It wasn't until Perry did himself in that his lead evaporated.

Now, with Newt Gingrich leading, Bachmann is at it again. Since last week's debate, she has spent day after day attacking Newt on his immigration stance. She's acting like a gossip who thinks people will like her because she's able to dish the dirt on someone else. But, most people don't like "gossipers".

To me -- and I think to a lot of people -- this kind of tactic is not Presidential. It's ugly and it does nothing to increase the value of her stock. It only cheapens it.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

The NLRB Will Start Killing Jobs And Inflating Prices

Next Wednesday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) will probably pass a ruling that allows unions to organize in as little as 10 days after notifying management. Previously, that time frame was about 38 days; thus giving management an adequate amount of time to present it's case against unionization. The NRLB ruling is sure to pass because, thanks to Obama appointees -- one a non-approved recess appointee -- the board is now heavily skewed as pro-union.

While the unions might think they've scored an easy victory, it's actually labor and the average American who may have lost on this one.

First of all, the shortened turnaround time will certainly blindside many businesses -- especially small ones -- and they will be forced into meeting collective bargaining demands on wages, hours, working environments, and benefits, or suffer the consequence of a strike against them. The result of this will be much higher costs for labor. In some cases, this could spell bankruptcy because, in raising prices, it will have lost all of its competitiveness. If so, all those newly minted union job holders just might end up in the unemployment lines.

For some other businesses, the only option to stay competitive will be to shut down their U.S. operations and move off shore. Again, if this happens, another new bunch of fresh union jobs will disappear. Then, too, for those companies that can raise their prices to cover higher labor costs, it is American paychecks that will suffer the consequence. As I have said many times before, this will only drain the consumer of any discretionary income; causing a slow down in economy due to the lack of any broad-based consumer spending. Further, its the poor and those on fixed incomes who will suffer the most from higher prices.

At a time when our economy is already fragile, the negative impact of the NLRB decision will only be magnified. Years ago, more than a third of this country's private industry workforce was unionized. Today, that number is down to about 7%. The historical reasons that they have lost nearly four-fifths of their membership is that previously unionized businesses either went bankrupt or were forced to move their operations to other countries.

If what I have described above comes to fruition, it will most certainly be Obama's fault. For a President who is supposed to be so intelligent and supposedly focused "like a laser" on jobs, this is just damn stupid. A stupidity that could easily bring this country back down to its economic knees!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Rick Perry: Cut Their Pay...Send Them Home

Lately, Governor Rick Perry has be running this TV ad:

While threatening to "cut Congress' pay" and "send them home" might sound like a good, tough-guy kind of strategy to woo voters, in reality, it shows that Perry lacks a basic understanding of one of the primary tenants of our Constitution: The Separation of Powers. Apparently, Perry doesn't seem to know that only Congress can cut Congress' pay and only Congress can decide when and how often they meet. The only power that a President has over them is veto power. And, even that can be overridden. In fact, when it comes to pay, it's Congress who decides how much the President is paid.

Also, when it comes to the passage of a "Balanced Budget Amendment", Perry seems not to understand how utterly impossible it would be to achieve that goal. First of all, most Democrats are vehemently opposed to a forced balancing of spending against revenues. Generally, they argue that such a Constitutional mandate would hamstring Congress' need to spend more money at times of a national emergency; such as wartime. Secondly and because of the lack of Democratic support, the chances of getting a two-thirds vote in both houses is almost impossible.

To me, the Perry ad makes it sound like he's already declared war on Congress. That, in itself, shows a complete lack of leadership.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

GDP Growth Revised Down From 2.5% To A Meager 2%

This morning, the Commerce Department released its latest estimate of how much our economy grew in the 3rd quarter of this year. Back in October, they initially said that our Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at 2.5%. Today, after further factors had be taken into consideration (?), the Commerce Department revised that GDP growth number down to just 2%.

For me, this 20% overstatement error came as no surprise. In fact, after the initial 2.5% number was released, I wrote some of the following in my blog entry of October 28:
"On Wednesday, the initial take on the third quarter 2011 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in at an unexpected plus 2.5%."

"...the left-wing media was cheering about it because it is generally assumed a 2.5% GDP growth is the minimum level that's needed to start eating into the unemployment number."

"For me, that 2.5% GDP number has to be suspect. That's because, in a separate report, just released this morning, the consumer...seems to be struggling..."

"...that's why I think the 2.5% GDP growth figure might just be overstated and due for some forthcoming downward revisions."
I don't think I've ever seen as much inept reporting of economic numbers than I have since Obama and his people took over the federal departments responsible for reporting those numbers. Again, I point to the comments I made in my October 28th blog entry:
"But, before anyone gets too excited, this is only a "first pass" on the GDP number. In each of the next 3 months, that number is subject to revisions. Just last August, the 2nd quarter GDP growth was revised from 1.3% to 1%. Then, in September, it was revised back to 1.3%. But, the real shocker of all revisions came on July 29 of this year when the final number on the first quarter GDP was suddenly dropped from 1.9% (as reported in June) to just .4%. A whopping 475% downward revision."
Often, there seems to be a political component in the way the numbers are announced and, then, revised. Last month, when the 2.5% number came out, Obama was on a daily rant pushing his new stimulus package; or, what he commonly referred to as his jobs package. So, I think it was essential, at that time, that the results of his first stimulus package not be put into question with another lousy GDP report. Of course, that's just my opinion. But, it is an opinion that is based on the fact that, all too often, the good numbers being reported never seem to jive with all the other known facts.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Little Reported Truth About Wind Technology

The media and many of our politicians would have you believe that the future of American electric energy is in green wind and solar technologies. But, the reality is that these technologies are quite expensive to operate without taxpayer support. In fact, a recent report by a group known as Minnesotans for Global Warming, has estimated that 14,000 wind turbines have been abandoned for a lack of government subsidies.

For example, in the Tehachapi pass area of the Mojave Desert of California, there once were 5000 operating wind turbines. The companies that built them have long since come and gone; mostly due to profitability issues. Today, much of those turbines have either been cannibalized for parts or left idle to decay. There's a similar story in Hawaii at the South Point,Kamaoa Wind Farm.

The average American is unaware of these failures because the media isn't reporting them in an attempt to keep "going green" alive and well. Additionally, decaying "wind farms" are usually hidden by the fact they are built in remote areas, and, when the turbines are abandoned, they are typically left standing because it is too expensive to tear them back down and relocate them. This then gives the casual observer the impression that an abandoned wind turbine is actually still operational.

Besides being expensive to operate and maintain, wind turbines are highly unlikely to replace any of our existing gas and coal power plants. Their power output is just too unreliable because mother nature's wind strengths are just too unpredictable and, to date, there is no economical way to store wind-produced energy for those slack wind days. When there is no wind, they produce no power and conventional power generating must be pumped-up to take up the slack. When there's excess wind, those turbines can actually overload the power grid; causing damage and massive outages. Just last May, the Pacific Northwest was hit with just such an "overload induced" outage (Click here to See the Forbes Story: Grid Problems Trigger Rolling Wind-Farm Outages in Pacific Northwest). Then, too, there's the increasing loss of bird and bat lives to these rotating guillotines. On top of everything else, they are just plain noisy and ugly.

I predict that, someday, when the history of energy production in the world is written, wind power will be no more than a negative footnote and not the dominant energy producer that the "greens" of today seem to think it will be.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Europe's Debt Crisis And An American Double Dip Recession

No one in this country should be complacent about what's happening in Europe. If, like dominoes, the PIIGS --- Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain --- default on their individually accumulated debts, the Eurodollar could easily collapse. For America, this could spell even higher unemployment and, for sure, a second recession.

40% of all American exports depend on the buying demand that comes from the 17 countries that make up the European Union. Thousands of jobs depend on those exports. As the Eurodollar weakens, our products become more expensive and less competitive throughout Europe. This fact, alone, could spell an increasing amount of layoffs in this country; slowing our economy and raising the unemployment rate. Further, as the cost of bond debt rises in each of the PIIGS countries, inflation will be sure to rear its ugly head; thereby reducing the purchasing power of the average European. This, too, could negatively impact American exports.

Additionally, our banks, brokerage firms, and individuals are holding somewhere between $600 billion and $1 trillion in European debt. No one really knows the exact amount. It might actually be higher than a trillion dollars. But, in any event, if the Eurodollar collapses, all of that debt could be easily at risk; threatening the survivability of our key national banks. Once again, the U.S. government and the taxpayers will be forced to ante up with another too-big-to-fail TARP-like bailout. As it is, we are already exposed to the debt problems in Italy and Greece. That's why, just recently, a derivatives brokerage firm called MF Global was forced to go belly up with thousands losing their money in the process.

I am personally concerned that those troubled European countries will fail to extricate themselves from their debt problems through any real austerity programs. As a result, our own Federal Reserve and Treasury -- knowing the potential consequences of any European defaults -- might decide to shore up the entire European Union by loaning massive amounts of money to the individual PIIGS. If that happens, our own economy would be hurt because our own currency will lose value; making imports more expensive for us to buy. And, we buy a lot. Around the world, governments -- including ours -- need to stop with the liberal-minded spending and make fiscal discipline the priority. Otherwise, more than just the economies of Europe and the U.S. could be a risk.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Obama And Another One Of His Blame America Statements

Now, according to Obama, America has become "lazy" in attracting foreign business to our shores.

This comes from the mouth of a hypocrite that, for 3 years, sat on 3 free trade agreements and the Canadian Keystone XL pipeline deal. All of these would have created jobs for Americans and should have attracted foreign investment in the U.S. This is especially true in the case of the XL pipeline; which has just been put on hold by the President for another year. Obviously, if anyone is "lazy" about creating jobs and attracting foreign investment, its Mr. Obama!

Now In Phase 5 Of the Cain Scandal

It seems like every "sexually related" scandal follows the same old course. The Cain allegations are no different.

First, there's the original allegation. Then, there's the complete denial. This is usually followed up with the accuser(s) coming forth with details that seem to refute the denial. That, then, is countered with an ever changing series of stories that the accused hopes will put the issue to rest. Now, we entered Phase 5 with the "little woman" being dragged out in front of the cameras to stand by and defend her man (Click here to See the WaPo Story: Gloria Cain speaks out about sexual harassment allegations).

If all holds true to form, the next phase will be the final one with Cain bowing out of the race.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Smallpox Vaccine Deal Another Pox on Obama

With Congressional hearings heating up over the half billion dollars of taxpayer money given away to Solyndra, a whole new cash give-away -- to a well-connected Democrat donor -- has come to light.

According to a report by the LA Times, the Obama Administration has awarded a no bid, $433 million contract to buy 1.7 million doses of an experimental oral, smallpox vaccine. This is despite the fact that the U.S. government has already stockpiled enough conventional and proven vaccine to inoculate every man, woman, and child in America. Smallpox is also a disease that no one needs to be concerned about because, since 1979, it has been declared as being completely eradicated throughout the world. The only reason we have any stockpile, at all, is to protect this country against some possible bioterrorist attack.

So, you have to question why the Obama Administration would buy an untried drug to be used against an eradicated disease that we are already prepared for. The answer to that question seems to involve a wealthy Democrat donor: billionaire Ronald Perelman. You see, Perelman is the majority stockholder in Siga Technologies -- the company that sold the vaccine to the Obama Administration. Then, too, why would any company theoretically spend millions of dollars to develop a vaccine for an already eradicated disease? That, to me, makes absolutely no sense.

I think this could be a bigger problem for Obama than Solyndra. There is absolutely no rationale behind the deal. It just looks like political payback; wasting another near half billion dollars of taxpayer money. For all we know, the untested smallpox drug could be simple sugar water; and, unless there is a bioterrorist attack, who would know any differently.

So, what's next to be uncovered? Another half billion dollars to fight the dreaded Unicorn flu?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Obama's Tactical Indecision On the Keystone XL Pipeline

We've now learned that the President will put off his decision on whether or not to proceed with the Keystone XL, Canada-to-the-Gulf Coast, pipeline until after the 2012 elections. Many see this as another one of Obama's "present" votes which he had made so famous in his days with the Illinois Legislature. In reality, his indecision is the same as voting "no" without really saying it, because a year's delay will probably sink the project completely. The builder of the pipeline, TransCanada Corp., and the Canadian government aren't going to just sit around and wait for U.S. approval. Instead, they will redirect their efforts by building a truly trans-Canada pipeline that will carry oil to critical parts of Canada and to the Canadian coasts to supply tankers that are probably bound for places like China.

You see, the problem with the Keystone XL pipeline decision is the fact that no matter how Obama votes he's bound to fracture his own political base. If he votes "yes" to the project, the environmentalists will be angered. A "no" vote will be a slap against the unions who have been counting on the Keystone project as a source of thousands of high paying union jobs. By not making a decision, Obama feels like he has threaded the needle; keeping his base in tact.

But, to me, Obama has made a serious tactical error.

First, he's handed the Republicans three big "sticks" with which they can beat him over the head from now to the election. The first is all about jobs and the fact that thousands of jobs will be not be created at a time of such high unemployment. The second stick is the fact that we will become more dependent on imported oil from countries who are not our friends when, in fact, it would have been better off importing that same amount of oil from our friendly neighbor, Canada. Lastly, the pipeline would have had the added benefit of lowering the delivery cost of imported oil from Canada. A cost that would have eventually been reflected at the pumps with lower gasoline prices.

Then, too, the labor unions have to be angry about the delay. If the XL project is finally scrapped, that will only accentuate their anger.

This is another example of Obama putting his reelection bid ahead of the needs of the country. His own EPA issued a report stating that the environmental risk of that pipeline was miniscule. Yet, this President's anti-oil ideology and his concern over losing his environmental voting block has put the environment ahead of all other factors in delaying his decision. This is simply irresponsible and another reason why this man should be voted out of office next year.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Perry's Brain-In-The-Headlights Debate Performance

Viewers have gotten used to Rick Perry's poor debate performances. Initially, his handlers blamed his being tired from campaigning. But, last night's performance was just horrible with Perry only being able to recall two of the three government agencies that he had been campaigning for weeks to cut.

Shamed again, Perry and his people have restated that they may sit out the upcoming debates. Perry, himself, has stated that he acknowledges that he's weak in debates. Then goes on to say that if you want a "slick" debater or politician rather than someone who will fix this country's problems, "I'm not your guy".

But those are just words that are designed to deflect the fact that Perry is not ready for prime time. If he can't do well debating your own party members, you're certainly not ready to go up against Obama. During the debate, the famed Larry Sabato from the University of Virginia political science professor, tweeted: "To my memory, Perry's forgetfulness is the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate." I have to agree with Sabato. I have to say Rick Perry is truly a "dead man walking" with no chance of getting the nomination.

Note: I think the clear winners last night were, once again, Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich. I also think Cain did well but still has those harassment charges hanging over his head.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

In Ohio, The Unions Won and the People Lost

Pro-union groups spent about $30 million dollars in Ohio to defeat changes to collective bargaining for teachers, firemen, police, and nurses. Although the GOP backed changes would not have affected bargaining for wages and working conditions, the pro-union groups managed to make it all about safety. Now, Ohioans are faced with these basic alternatives: fewer public employees and services and/or higher taxes. That's the bottom line. There is no free ride when you have a state like Ohio that can't pay it's bills. The people have spoken and apparently they don't mind giving up services and paying higher taxes so that the state's union workers can keep there jobs, get better pay and benefits, and earlier retirements than most Ohioans.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Obama and the Democrats Big "Occupy" Blunder

Early on, many Democrats and liberal media personalities hooked their wagons to the "Occupy" movement; thinking that these protestors would bring them the same political success in 2012 that the TEA Party brought to the GOP in 2010. But, in typical Democrat fashion, their logic was flawed. That's because they really didn't understand the type of people they were dealing with.

Now, its looking more like the Democrats have got a hungry, violent tiger by the tail. And, that tiger just might eat them all alive when the 2012 elections roll around. As the violence in the streets continues to escalate, public opinion of the movement continues to decline. In the latest Quinnipiac University polling, only 30% of overall respondents approved of the "Occupy" protesters. While the protestors, themselves, might think they represent 99% of the population, that poll hardly supports that belief.

Americans increasingly fail to see these people as a valid political movement like the TEA party. Instead, they are starting to see the protestors for what they really are: Anarchists. On October 18th, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, former Bill Clinton pollster and political analyst, Doug Schoen, warned Obama and the Democrats about this very real possibility when he wrote: "President Obama and the Democratic leadership are making a critical error in embracing the Occupy Wall Street movement—and it may cost them the 2012 election." What Schoen knew, then, from the many interviews he conducted with the protestors themselves is that 31% of them advocated violence in order to achieve their goals. (Click here to See Schoen's Article: "Polling the Occupy Wall Street Crowd")

Violence will only get worse from this point forward. It will grow out of the frustration that the movement is losing support and attention. You can't have a 31% violent underpinning in any movement and expect it to remain civil. In fact, it is my guess that, as the violence increases, the less violent members will leave the movement; only to be replaced with those even more volatile. When that happens, you can expect to see the same kind of inflamed protests that we are now seeing in Europe. Many Americans will then blame Obama and the Democrats for fueling and fanning the flames of class warfare -- the kind of class warfare that initially spawned the "Occupy" movement. That's when Doug Schoen's prediction of 2012 losses for the Democrats will come true. Just mark my words.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Watch "Drain The Swamp" Pelosi Dance Around Her Own Questionable Activities

On Friday, poor, poor Nancy Pelosi got ambushed by a 60 Minutes reporter, Steve Kroft. Kroft went after her on a Visa Initial Public Offering (IPO) stock deal that Nancy and her husband were involved with in 2008. The deal, estimated to be between one and five million dollars, netted the Pelosi's a nice profit in three separate transactions. But, the problem lies in the fact that, at the time Pelosi was buying into the Visa deals, she and her fellow Democrats (and the White House included) were also involved in passing credit card legislation that would greatly affect how companies, like Visa, would operate.

The timing begs the question as to whether or not the Pelosi's Visa deal was, at the very least, a conflict of interest. Then too, one might conclude that the convenient access to the Visa deal was intended to soften the legislation against that company and the industry as a whole. Obviously, Kroft smells a rat. The video (below) is the actual exchange between Kroft and Pelosi. Note how she completely dances around the issue without ever directly answering Kroft's question; or, for that matter, even acknowledging the deal. This, from the woman who, in 2006, said she would "Drain the Swamp". A swamp that, naturally, had no Democrats in it. Only Republicans.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Insanity Of Republicans Ignoring The Cain Allegations

This morning, a Washington Post/ABC poll revealed that 70% of Republicans say that the Cain harassment allegations don't matter when it comes to picking him as a nominee. But, that's just plain stupidity. The Cain situation is a serious political problem and those 70% of Republicans are insane to ignore it. Voting out of spite has no place here. When it comes to getting a nominee into the White House, its not what one party or the other thinks about a person. It's what the overall electorate thinks about that candidate. Herman Cain has been tainted and obviously unable to extricate himself from the bind he now finds himself in.

What's really sad about this whole thing is the fact that Cain actually made it worse for himself. In an interview on the Fox News channel, he admitted that he had a 10-day, heads-up on that story. That means that he had a full ten days whereby he could have hired a P.R. expert and come up with a strategy to defuse the situation before the Politico article even came out. Instead, he allowed the bomb to go off; and, then, as if he was dazed by the explosion, floundered around with ever changing story lines. I'm sorry, that kind of bury-your-head-in-the-sand strategy is just not presidential; let alone even logical or intelligent.

Rightly or wrongly, Cain is toast and the Republicans better move on to someone else who hasn't accumulated the kind of baggage that would sink that person's chances in the general election.

Harry Reid's Teeny, Tiny Tax On The Rich

Just a couple of days ago, Harry Reid took to the after hours podium of the Senate floor to drum up support for what he calls a "teeny, tiny tax" on the rich. But, once again, Reid's words don't match his actions.

Under the Senate Democrat's version of the Obama jobs bill, a 5.6% surtax would be levied on all incomes above one million dollars. Certainly, most Americans would see this as a reasonable increase on high end wage earners to solve our debt problem and to theoretically create jobs. But, you see, Harry's assault on the rich doesn't stop there. Harry fully expects the Bush tax cuts for the rich to expire in 2013; meaning that millionaires will see their current tax rate of 35% rise to 39.6%. So, when you add in the new surtax rate, millionaires will actually see their income tax rate rise from 35% to 44.6%; a jump of 26%. Not hardly a teeny, tiny bump in their tax rates.

Then, too, the expiration of the Bush tax cuts would increase the capital gains tax from 15% to 20%. This is another 33% rise that will not only hit the rich but anyone else who sells stocks or bonds at a profit. But, the tax rate won't simply stop at the 20% level. When ObamaCare was passed, another 3.8% tax was applied to capital gains activity; meaning that the true capital gains tax will rise to 23.8%. Overall, that's a whopping 58.8% increase in the tax on any capital investment income.

I'm still not done. There's one more teeny, tiny tax increase on the rich. Under ObamaCare, another 0.9% tax would be applied to them as a surcharge to pay for that health care law; bringing their total non-investment income tax rate to 45.5%.

So, Harry's supposed teeny, tiny increase appears to be a 30% jump in income taxes and a near 60% increase on investment income. Combine that with state income taxes, sales taxes, and real estate taxes and most millionaires with be paying more than half their income to taxation while nearly half of this country's wage earners pay nothing. Of course, in the eyes of a socialist Democrat like Harry, it's only fair.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Declining Graduation Rates and the Disparity Between The Rich And The Poor

America's political left wants us all to believe that the rich are getting richer off the backs of the poor. But, that argument simply makes no sense. Using that kind of logic is the same as saying that, if we had no rich, we would then have no poor. In reality, if we had no rich we would look more like some of the poorest, 3rd world, countries on this planet. When it comes to the rich versus the poor argument, I think John F. Kennedy said it best: "A rising tide lifts all boats". Meaning that, as a country becomes more wealthy, even the poorest of the poor will benefit.

To me, the progressive/liberal argument is totally ignorant of reality. Did Steve Jobs, in becoming a millionaire, take money away from those who were poor in this country? Not hardly. If anything, his wealth, his company's profits, and the personal incomes of the workforce that he created have only helped pay for all of the government programs that support the poor; such as food stamps and even the earned income tax credit where that poorest of our tax payers pay no tax and actually get money back.

In my opinion, the real reason that the poor are getting poorer in this country has do with a decline in the value of our human capital. By that, I mean, that our workforce has become less educated and less dedicated and, as a consequence, less able to get the kind of jobs that produce a lifetime of good earnings.

In the 1960's, the average high school graduation rate was 82%. Today, that national average has declined to 70%. Worse yet, in our 50 largest cities, the rate stands at only 53%. Conversely, this means that 47% percent of the people in our highest population centers are without the discipline and motivation to finish high school and, subsequently, are without the education needed to obtain a quality, high paying job.

Based on a March 2011 report from the Bureau of Labor And Statistics titled "Education Pays..," the unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma was, at that time, just under 15%. Also, those with a diploma were nearly 50% better off with an unemployment rate of 10.3%. But, for a college degreed worker, the unemployment rate was only 5.4%; three times better than the non-high school graduate.

So, obviously, those who don't finish high school are a real drag on the economy when it comes to the unemployment rate. More importantly, a worker without a high school diploma will, on average, make 41% less money over his/her lifetime than a worker with one. And, that's the the crux of our increasing rich/poor disparity problem. With declining high school graduation rates in America, our overall workforce is becoming less educated and poorer. It's also the reason the middle class is in decline. Its no coincidence that 47% of us pay no taxes and 47% of high school students in our major cities don't graduate.

The rich aren't responsible for this. Yet the Democrats still insist on playing the class game. Just recently, the Government Accounting Office released a set of statistics showing that the top 1% of all wage earners have had their salaries jump by 270 percent in the last 30 years while the bottom 20% only saw a gain of 18%. Of course, to a liberal, this just proves that the rich are getting richer at the expense of the poor. But no. This just proves my point that we have an education problem in this country. And, despite decades of effort and billions of dollars being spent on liberal programs like increased teacher's pay, smaller class sizes, preschool and after school programs, etc., the problem has only gotten worse. But, you see, education still all comes down to the student wanting to learn and work hard for that degree. Instead of condemning the rich, we should encourage our nation's students to look up to them and want to emulate them by working hard to get a good education. Maybe then, the disparity between the rich and poor will start to narrow again.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Media's Double Standard Regarding Sexual Harassment

When is comes to our national press corps, it really makes a difference if you're a Democrat or a Republican when reporting on supposed sexual misconduct.

Take, for example, former President Bill Clinton. In his case, we had actual living, breathing accusers like Gennifer Flowers, Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Elizabeth Ward Gracen, Sally Perdue, Dolly Kyle, and, of course, Monica Lewinski. Some claimed rape or assault. Others claimed actual affairs. But, in most cases, the press went after these women to discredit them and their stories while essentially giving Bill Clinton a pass.

Now, flash forward to this weekend's charge that Herman Cain sexually harassed two women. Without any real details or actual accusers, the media is acting like rabid dogs in going after Herman Cain. One writer actually referred to this situation as a "full-blown political crisis."

Yes, we do have a full-blown political crisis. It's a press corps that practices politically biased reporting.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Obama Versus The Congress

In recent days, it has become quite obvious that our President has decided to "run" against Congress and no longer against George Bush as a means of getting himself reelected in 2012. In speech after speech, he's chided the them for doing nothing to create jobs and get the economy going again. Of course, the logic here is that he has a much higher approval rating than Congress and, consequently, America will side with him instead of them on the issues. Then, in an attempt to further strengthen his image in contrast to the Congress, he keeps introducing plans of his own that he can implement with executive order and without any congressional approval.

But, the problem with this kind of tactic is that the Congress isn't just made up of a bunch of do-nothing Republicans. The Senate is still controlled by Democrats. Also, there are a lot of already-teetering Democrats who could wind up losing in 2012 -- thanks to this President's broad-brush tactic of lambasting Congress. In fact, recent polling already shows that top Democrats are notably less liked than their Republican counterparts (Click here to See Story).

Another problem is that, when it comes to senatorial and congressional races, all politics is truly local. While national polling for Congress, as a whole, shows a lowly approval of around 10%, the individual polling for each member, in their respective states and districts, is something entirely different; and, in most cases, at least 4 to 5 times higher than that horrible 10% rating. My guess is that individual Republicans, in localized battles over election/reelection, will do better in 2012 running against Obama's failed policies then the other way around.

Throughout Obama's presidency, he has literally played wedge politics by trying to stir up American anger towards the wealthy, the banks, the health care insurers and providers, the cops "who acted stupidly", and on and on. It's what he knows how to do well because, at one time, he was a full-fledged, rabble-rousing community organizer. Now, it appears he's even willing to direct American's anger towards those members of Congress who belong to his own political party. I feel that in the end, this tactic will fail to get him reelected. But, even if he does win reelection, he might have done so much damage to his own political party that he finds himself alone at the top with both Houses of Congress being controlled by Republicans. If so, he'll really find himself saddled with a do-nothing Congress because he's a man who is totally devoid of the skills to compromise or find common ground. Another little undesirable trait inherent to being a community organizer.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Where Did This "GOP Are Racists" Come From, Anyway?

On a recent airing of ABC's The View, Joy Behar warned Herman Cain that the GOP (Republican Party) is not "black friendly". I personally don't know where this Republican are racists idea came from. Certainly, based on historical facts, it's an absolutely bogus claim.

First off, it was a Republican President, Abraham Lincoln, who helped abolish slavery and who presided over a civil war that resulted in it's abolition. Secondly, some of the most vocal opponents to black civil rights in the 1960's were all Southern Democrats; like Bull Connor, Robert Byrd, George Wallace, and Lester Maddox. And, when it came to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, more than 80% of the Republicans in both the House and Senate voted for the bill while the Democrats could only muster tw0-thirds of their party's votes.

I guess the GOP are racist thing is a perfect example of how insightful Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propagandist, was when he declared these two concepts about lying for propaganda purposes: (1) "If you tell a lie often enough, people will come to believe it" and (2) "The bigger the lie, the more it will be believed."

Friday, October 28, 2011

All The Excitement Over 2.5% GDP Growth

On Wednesday, the initial take on the third quarter 2011 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) came in at an unexpected plus 2.5%. In response, I can only imagine that those in the Obama Administration were handing out cigars on the assumption that the economy had just dodged a possible double-dip recession bullet. Then, too, the left-wing media was cheering about it because it is generally assumed a 2.5% GDP growth is the minimum level that's needed to start eating into the unemployment number.

But, before anyone gets too excited, this is only a "first pass" on the GDP number. In each of the next 3 months, that number is subject to revisions. Just last August, the 2nd quarter GDP growth was revised from 1.3% to 1%. Then, in September, it was revised back to 1.3%. But, the real shocker of all revisions came on July 29 of this year when the final number on the first quarter GDP was suddenly dropped from 1.9% (as reported in June) to just .4%. A whopping 475% downward revision.

For me, that 2.5% GDP number has to be suspect. That's because, in a separate report, just released this morning, the consumer, while spending more, seems to be struggling with disposable income falling for the 3rd straight month; real wages stalling; and people being forced to eat into their savings to pay the bills. (Click here to See Story: Consumer spending up in September on savings) Certainly, that's not a formula for a healthy economy and that's why I think the 2.5% GDP growth figure might just be overstated and due for some forthcoming downward revisions. And, for sure, this also casts doubt on having a strong 4th quarter GDP number.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

On Spending, The Democrats Talk Out Of Both Sides Of Their Mouths

According to Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and a whole slew of other Democrats, it would be disastrous to cut government spending during a recession because, in their Keynesian mindset, it would cause unemployment to rise. But, on the other hand, they don't seem to have any problem with slashing military spending by getting out of Iraq and Afghanistan and by carving out more than $400 billion a year from the Pentagon's budget.

Aside from the fact that massive cuts in our military operations would probably jeopardize our national security, cuts in military spending would also directly affect all those manufacturers and their workers who keep our forces equipped. You see, Democrats detest our military. Many actually think that a strong military causes war; rather than deters it. But, history is littered with long-gone countries who had a weak military and were unable to fend off external attacks. In a tough world, the weak fall by the wayside and the strong survive. Yet, the Democrats would still prefer that we be weak.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Hypocritical Multimillionaire, Michael Moore

Yesterday, appearing on a CNN, Piers Morgan special, Michael Moore, a full sponsor of the Occupy Wall Street movement, denied being in that richest "One Percent" of this country that all those protestors are hatefully demonstrating against.

Here's a guy who owns an exclusive, million dollar, New York City apartment, overlooking Manhattan, and another million dollar beach-front vacation home in Michigan and, he has the gall to say he's not in the "One Percent" of this country who are consider to be "rich". The value of those two properties, alone, are greater than the total income that many in this country will make over their entire lifetimes. This guy really needs some mental health intervention.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Obama's "Improved" Home Affordable Refinancing Plan

Yesterday, in Las Vegas, definitely ground zero of the mortgage disaster, President Obama unveiled what he wanted you to believe was some kind of new plan to save the housing market. Actually, its a reiteration of an already-failed program called HARP (Home Affordable Refinancing Plan). The only difference, now, from the old HARP is that that you can refinance your home; no matter how upside down you are on your mortgage. Previously you could only refinance up to 125% of your home's value. Now, someone can get refinancing even if they are 250% upside down on their mortgage; and, in Las Vegas, many who bought homes in 2006 and early 2007 are just that far underwater.

So, will this program stem foreclosures or help home prices improve? In theory, not really. The old program didn't and this one won't either. It's a refinancing plan; plain and simple. It's intended to give existing homeowners who are current on their mortgage payments and who already have Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae backed mortgages, a chance to refinance their homes at the existing lower interest rates; thus giving people some extra money in their pockets to spend on the economy. So, in essence, its really a backdoor stimulus package that puts all the risk on Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae; two Government Sponsored Enterprises (GSE's) that are already mega-billions in debt.

Like everything that Obama does, it addresses the symptom of the problem and not the cause. The only reason why homeowners are upside down on their mortgages is because home prices have fallen below the equity level that those owners have in their homes. The falling home prices are due to the massive amount of foreclosures and a stalled real estate market and not because people can't refinance their loans.

First and foremost, most of today's foreclosures are a direct result of someone losing their job. While refinancing with lower monthly payments might keep someone in their home a little longer, the possibility of foreclosure is probably inevitable without an improved job market. Secondly, even after refinancing, the homeowners will still be underwater and locked into living in that home for a very long time; thus furthering a stalled housing market and the possibility that home prices will start to rise.

Back in February of 2009, I wrote a rather lengthy blog entry on Obama's original HARP. While Obama promised to save 9 million upside down mortgages under his program, I concluded the following: "...my bet is still that we will only see the maximum of 1-1/2 million mortgages being saved by his plan." In reality Obama's original mortgage modification program has only impacted around 800,000 mortgages. Is there any reason to believe that this "improved" plan will do any better? I don't think so. This is just some more of Obama's campaign B.S. and a lot dumb people will probably fall for it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Where Was Obama's "We Can't Wait" Three Years Ago

The campaigning Obama unveiled his new slogan -- "We Can't Wait" -- in order to promote his jobs bill and, once again, con the America people into believing he's dedicated to fixing all the housing, jobs, and economic woes that have befallen this country since the recession began.

But, where was Obama three years ago? All of his poorly thought out and poorly implemented programs have failed. He hasn't fixed the economy or stemmed high unemployment or abated the foreclosure rate or even curtailed the falling home prices. Now, with his poll numbers nearing the miserable record of Jimmy Carter, he's out campaigning with another look-alike to his failed stimulus and another brain-dead attempt to refinance home loans.

The only thing that "We Can't Wait" for is the November 2012 elections where this President, his Administration, and many of his fellow Democrats deservedly join the 15 million unemployed!

Finally, in February 2009, Obama gave another speech entitled the "We can't afford to Wait" speech. At the time, he was trying to sell his Stimulus bill. In that speech, he was going to fix the roads and bridges; just like his current jobs bill. He also said he would keep the unemployment rate from rising and create 3 to 4 million jobs. He said the unemployment rate would hit double digits if we didn't pass his "recovery act" (Stimulus Bill). All promises that either completely failed or substantially fell short of advertised results. So, for a chuckle, I've included a YouTube of that infamous "We can't afford to wait" speech from 2009:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Obama Spent A $Billion To Lose -- Not Gain -- 1100 Jobs

This week's "green jobs" scandal for the Obama Administration is all about a $529 million loan to a start-up electric car company, Fisker, who took that money and then decided to build their new Karma automobile in Finland. Prior to this, there was the Solyndra scandal who, when given a similar amount of money, spent like there was no tomorrow; first class on everything. Ultimately, they closed their doors and 1100 people lost their jobs. So, our "net" in an investment of over a billion dollars: A loss of 1100 jobs in America and a gain of 500 manufacturing jobs in Finland.

Both these debacles fall under the purview of Obama's Energy Secretary Steven Chu. And, my guess is that this won't be the end of these kinds of screw ups. That's because you can see a trend in Chu's inability to understand the business plans and potential marketplace of the products of these two companies.

Take for example, the lack of thought that went into the Fisker loan. First, its a $90,000 automobile that only has an expected annual sales goal of 15,000 units worldwide. Its target is the super rich. Is that the best use of a half-billion dollars in taxpayer money? Worse yet, it is an automotive styling showpiece (And that's all it is!) which is no engineering marvel. It only has an all-electric range of 35 miles; after which, it runs on gasoline and only gets around 20 miles to the gallon. The Fisker website states that the Karma is "Pure Driving Passion" and goes on to say that it will be distributed by a "network of retailers...handpicked to give owners unparalleled service while making them part of an exclusive club". Not hardly a "people's car" that is designed to save the planet. For that reason, alone, the government should never have funded this company. But, it did anyway; leaving the only reason for the loan: Crony Capitalism due to pressure from political donors.

The bottom line is that the Obama Administration, through its ineptness, has thrown away more than $1 billion in taxpayer money. If either of these companies were proven to be good investments, the corporate community, now sitting on nearly $2 trillion, or some venture capitalist would have been more than happy to give them the needed seed money. Instead, both companies failed to find adequate private sector funding and wound up suckering the Obama Administration for the cash. Believe me, if this had been anything other than a Democrat Administration, the media would be calling for heads to roll.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Moral Irresponsibility Of Harold Camping

In some parts of the world, it's already October 22nd or a day past the date that Harold Camping said the world would come to an end.

To me, Harold Camping isn't just some flake who's wrong. Actually, he may be morally responsible for the mental deterioration of some of those who believed in his again-failed, end-of-days prediction. One of the strongest human emotions is the fear of death. And, I have to believe that some of his followers had to have had severe mental anguish over the coming of this supposed final day. Therefore, in some cases, it is possible that this anguish could have pushed an already mentally unstable person over the edge. If so, Harold Camping is no Christian.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Biden's Wrong Again: Crime Rates Are Down

In a defense of the President's jobs bill, Joe Biden claims that any GOP blockage of the bill will "continue" the "rise" in rapes and murders across this country. So, by implication, the GOP could be said to be complicit in those crimes.

Unfortunately for Biden, there are some just-released FBI statistics that completely contradict his rather big lie.

Nationwide, all violent crimes, as of the end of 2010, have fallen each year over the last 4 years by a collective factor of 6%; with no indication that 2011 wouldn't follow that same trend. According to this recent CBS story on the subject, FBI: Violent crimes fall for 4th year in row, the author explicitly states that the nation's "Law enforcement agencies are doing more with less". To me, this statement implies that many communities had actually over-staffed their police departments rather than apply better crime fighting efficiencies and techniques. This also proves that Obama's jobs plan is solely intended to save union jobs in his bid for reelection. The fact is that Obama's jobs initiative would only impede or regress the much needed and appropriate cost cutting efforts by our state and municipal governments.

This "lying" to get something passed in Congress is typical of the Democrats. With the biggest whopper being that of the ObamaCare legislation. Also, this is another example whereby our national, left-wing media "allows" a Democrat, like Joe Biden, to make remarks that are patently unfounded.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Heee's Back!

The last time we heard from him, the world was to end on May 21 with a calamitous worldwide earthquake. And, the him is? Well, he's that purveyor of the Apocalypse, Harold Camping. The 90-year old Christian broadcaster and founder of Family Radio. Of course, I'm writing this today because May 21 came and went without any world ending events. Then, too, every day past that date has been without any evident godly intervention.

So, what to do if your a Harold Camping and you were so nutcase wrong? Well, you come up with a new story that's based on the original screw-up. That story is that the beginning of the end started on May 21 with the final Judgement Day coming exactly five months later on October 21; as if, some how, God marks time on the basis of our man-made calendar system. (Click here to See the ABC Story: Harold Camping Predicts End of the World, Again) So, like before, you've only got days left to go and get your "Christianity" on. Don't buy any Halloween candy this year because you won't be handing it out in the after world that is sure to come on October 21.

My bet is that you and I will still be around this ole earth when October 22nd arrives. Of course, this assumes that none of us won't die, before hand, from some non-earth-ending natural or accidental cause. I don't know how many times religious personages or so-called religious groups or sects seem to think that they are so privileged that God would impart to them, and them alone, the date of the Apocalypse. Then too, even if God decides to end the world on October 21, what could anyone really do about it? Any good Christian should simply live each day in a manner that is pleasing to God. That way, it really doesn't matter if the end of time is tomorrow, October 21, or a billion years from now.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Washington... Not Wall Street

With protestors sitting-in and marching against the corruption and fat-cats on Wall Street, I thought it might be appropriate to repost a March 2009 blog entry of mine. After reading it, please take the time to read my latest comments at the very end of this addition:

Greedy Wall Street or a Political Bunch of Bull?

As a country, we elect a President, 435 members of the House of Representatives and 100 members of the U.S. Senate to watch over our health and well being. We expect them to insure that our food supplies and the drugs we are taking are safe for us to consume. We expect them to protect us from all domestic and foreign enemies.

We very much expect them to make sure that our money and our finances are safe. Our government has supposedly set up a Treasury Department, a Federal Reserve Banking System, a Securities and Exchange Commission, a Commerce Department, A Department of Housing and Urban Development, and a whole host of financial oversights to insure that. Yet, none of them did their jobs and we now find ourselves in the midst of a financial collapse and the only thing our elected Representatives can say is that it was the fault of "Greedy Wall Street."

I, for one, am not buying that. That's because the Executive Branch and our Congress were asleep at the wheel. It's not Wall Street, it's our elected officials that are all at fault. But, politicians just love to deflect the blame. And, this one takes the cake!

While our representatives were having hearings on steroid abuse in baseball, the financial walls of this country were collapsing. Key members of the Senate Banking Committee were saying that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae were just fine. But, thanks to campaign contributions, it appears there was too much "rose" in those rose-colored glasses.

George Bush and his Administration knew damn well that there were problems at Fannie and Freddie but miserably failed to forcefully bring those issues to forefront. Freddie and Fannie were well-populated with ex-Clinton people and, so, the senior Democratic members of the Senate Banking Committee did everything in their power to shield them from any investigation and exposure. From 2004 and beyond, key financial figures in this country were shouting out that the housing boom was a boom waiting to bust and our Congress wasn't even listening. All along, there were warning signs; yet, our elected officials were both deaf and blind.

The next time you hear the words "Greedy Wall Street," I would suggest you think, instead: "Partisan, incompetent, and corrupt elected officials who left the American people out in the cold!" That's where the real blame lies!

Image of the bronze "Charging Bull" (aka The Wall Street Bull) by sculptor Arturo Di Modica was taken by Christopher Chan for his Flickr site with Creative Commons Licensing. Some rights retained. (Click to View Other Works).

Today, we are almost 5 years past the beginnings of the housing collapse and the eventual financial crisis. Yet, there has never been a criminal indictment of any Wall Street or banking executive. The top people at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac also remain unscathed. We've had two politically-opposite Justice Departments since then and we've had a completely Democrat-controlled Congress with a Democrat President who could have clearly made political hay out of going after Wall Street and the banks. But, not so. To me, this just shows that our own politicians and government officials are afraid to go after anyone because they, themselves, and maybe some past Presidents, might be seriously exposed as being complicit in the housing/financial fiascoes. Ya think?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Government Owes Postal Service $75 Billion?

Recently, the American Postal Workers Union (APWU) had been running the following TV ad:

Unfortunately, the claims are false. The Government Accounting Office has just concluded that the $5 billion a year that the APWU claims is being "drained" from the United State Postal Service's profits is a valid and necessary charge to fund the Civil Service Retirement Fund. (Click here to See Story: GAO report dashes hopes of a $75bn rebate for USPS)

As usual, the Democrats of Congress, totally beholding to the unions, heartily believed the claims in that ad and were unquestionably happy to transfer more than $75 billion in tax payer money to the Postal Service to prevent any further layoffs of union workers. Of course, in doing so, they actually help fund their own campaign war chests. That's because some portion of union workers dues will eventually come back to them as campaign contributions; not to mention direct donations by the workers themselves.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More Proof That Obama's Stimulus Was A Failure

As most people know, the unemployment rate only proceeded to go higher following the passage and roll out of Obama's Stimulus Package. Now, comes some more proof that the "stimulus" was a failure.

A recently released report, Household Income Trends During the Recession and Economic Recovery, has determined that the average household income fell nearly 10% since the beginning of the recession in 2007; from $55,309 to today's $49,909. But, what's more disturbing is the fact that, during the years that the stimulus was being applied, household incomes fell at a rate that was double that of the actual recession years. In fact, during the recession (2007 to mid-2009), incomes lost 3.2 percent. But during the years forward of that period, at the height of stimulus spending, the average household income lost a whopping 6.7 percent.

It's facts like these that should make anyone uncomfortable about Congress' passage of another one of Obama's recovery plans; especially his current jobs bill which is just a repackaging of his original stimulus package with a new name and half the amount of money.