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: " 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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Another Associated Press Distortion

The above headline of this morning clearly shows AP's bias towards the political left. First and foremost, the Republicans are the minority party in the Senate. If the Obama jobs bill goes down in defeat, it will be a direct result of 4 or more Democrats going against Obama and not voting for it. Obviously, the AP wants the American public to associate the Republican party with not wanting to create jobs.

Lastly, I would have thought that, in this era of the post-Gabrielle Giffords shooting, a toxic word like "kill" would be excluded from any political discourse. Apparently, AP didn't get the memo. Then too, you've got to wonder if there isn't some kind of subliminal message being built into this headline. To see what I mean, just drop the last two words off of that title.

Media Claims that Occupy Wall Street Has No Message and No Demands

If you listen to the media reports about the Occupy Wall Street protests, they say that protesters have no message and no specific demands. But, while the individual protestors might not know why they're there, the organizers and groups behind the protests sure know what they want. And, I think the liberal media is avoiding telling the public about those demands because most are extremely radical; if not un-American. Here's a synopsis of the "proposed" demands that appear at the website.
  • Raise the minimum wage to $20 an hour
  • End free trade and block imports through onerous tariffs so as to restore jobs in America
  • Institute single-payer, government-run health care by disbanding all private insurers.
  • Guarantee a living wage; no matter if you work or not.
  • Free College.
  • Fast Track the complete elimination of fossil fuels.
  • Spend one trillion dollars on infrastructure
  • Spend one trillion dollars in the restoration of the environment
  • Eliminate all nuclear power.
  • Provide for racial and gender equal rights.
  • All borders should be open for free migration to work and live.
  • No more electronic balloting during elections. Paper only.
  • Immediately forgive all debt; including international debt.
  • Outlaw credit reporting agencies.
  • Allow workers to make a union vote at anytime.
Of course, the website claims that none of the above are "official" demands, but, I think that by posting them on their official website, they make their intentions quite clear. Obviously, this list just screams of "far left" socialist politics and I would suspect that most Americans would reject this list out of hand. That's why the Democrats are playing with fire in giving credence to the protests as some kind of valid political movement.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Corporations Sitting On Two Trillion Dollars

Obama and the Democrats have been making a lot of noise about the fact that corporations are sitting on an estimated $1.8 trillion in cash when they could be using that money to hire people. Some even accuse businesses of collectively not hiring because they want to make Obama look bad so he won't be reelected.

But, the simple fact is that businesses aren't hiring because there is no need to. The existing aggregate workforce is adequate enough to keep the shelves stocked with product and provide all the services that Americans are willing to buy. Supply isn't the problem. We have a demand problem in this country. The reality is that the consumer is MIA in the economy and, as long as this condition exists, hiring will remain stagnant.

Consumer spending is down because the average paycheck is being squeezed by a falling dollar and the resulting higher prices for food, clothing, and energy. Then, too, state and municipal governments are also squeezing the paychecks through higher taxes on everything and anything as they try to cope with their balloon debt. The housing market is stalled despite record low mortgage rates, because potential home buyers either don't have enough cash for a down payment of 20% or they can't move out of their existing homes because they are so far underwater on their mortgages.

If, as a country, we would solve the above issues, then our economy will grow again and hiring will resume. But, once again, the Democrats want to use corporations as scapegoats for their own inept handling of the economy. Higher food, clothing and energy prices are a direct result of excess government spending; driving the value of the dollar down and import prices up. Rising gasoline prices are also due to our lack of domestic drilling for oil. Higher state and municipal taxes are actually exacerbating the lack of state revenues because consumer spending is being retarded; resulting in less sale tax revenues and less business income tax collections.

And, then, the housing market. Lower interest and mortgage rates aren't doing it. We need a program that would relax some of the down payment requirements. While, before the housing crisis, any warm body could get a loan, today the pendulum has swung too far and loan requirements have become too restrictive. I suggest we have a federal, interest free, down payment matching program that would cut the home buyers 20% down in half. In doing so, the federal government would become a lien holder against the purchased home. Repayment would be on a 10 year basis as part of the mortgage payments; or, in total if the home is sold within the 10 year repayment period. It would also help if the mortgage lenders would rollback mortgage payment rates on Adjustable Rate Mortgages to 2007 levels; thus stemming the high rate of foreclosures.

Doing what I have pointed out will create more jobs than Obama's short-sighted and probably ineffective jobs plan. Unfortunately, Obama will probably get what he wants and, come November of next year, things will only be worse.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Obama's Jobs Message Is Failing

For weeks now, Obama has been on the attack against the rich, the TEA Party, and the GOP as he pushes his jobs/debt bill. But for all the dozens of near-daily speeches that he has given on the topic, the polls haven't budged the slightest in his direction. If anything, the polling has shown a deteriorating approval for this President. Today, in fact, Gallup reported another fall in Obama's rating to a tie of his previous historical low of 38%.

Some say he's trying to shore up his base; and, maybe he is. But, with him continuing to lose overall approval percentages, it appears that any gains he might have made have been more than offset by losses in approval from others like independents. And, let's not forget, it was the independents who really got him elected. Not just his base.

Obviously, his message is failing.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs: A Salesman for American Excellence

Some CEO's and their companies try to be the lowest cost provider of the stuff they make and sell. But not Steve Jobs. He created a name, Apple, that was synonymous with excellence in both quality and innovation. Apple's products weren't the cheapest. However, the demand for them was tremendous. People would wait in lines for hours just to get their hands on the newest "whatever" that Apple was selling.

To me, Apple is like so many other quality American manufacturers, such as Harley Davidson, Gibson Guitar, Steinway Pianos, Nike, Johnson & Johnson, IBM, CISCO Systems, etc. that have proven you don't have to compete on a price basis alone to be highly successful. He typified American exceptionalism and that's what he will always be remembered for. Sadly, the likes of Steve Jobs is becoming rarer and rarer as this country becomes more and more socialized and anti-capitalistic. Like the old adage says: "The good die young" and Steve Jobs died way too early and will be truly missed.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Obama's Political Miscalculation On His Jobs Bill

I'm quite sure that Barack Obama thought he could simply submit his mini-stimulus/jobs bill to Congress and call for its quick passage; and, just sit back and watch the Republicans block its passage. Then, he could run around the country with trusty teleprompter in tow and claim that it is the Republicans who aren't interested in creating jobs. Thus, thinking he had a slam-dunk issue for his 2012 reelection bid.

Unfortunately for Obama, his plans seem to have gone quite awry, because his jobs bill seems completely dead. Not only is the Republican-controlled House passing on it, but it now appears the Democrat-controlled Senate doesn't have the votes for its passage either. That little gem of information came to us this week from second ranking Democrat in the Senate, and vote counter, Dick Durbin.

Obviously, Obama doesn't understand that he has become toxic to his own political party. The Congressional Democrats, fearing for their own jobs, aren't just going to rubber-stamp everything that he throws at them. It's nice to see that the landslide loss for the Democrats in November 2010 has cooled their heels in terms of passing over-reaching and ineffective legislation.

Monday, October 3, 2011

On Cain's Lack Of Government Experience.

With Herman Cain moving smartly up in the polls, the naysayers about his ability to be President have popped up everywhere because he doesn't have any governmental experience. But, they are just flat wrong.

Herman Cain was a fine CEO with a background of turning around some very lackluster operations in the restaurant industry. To do that, Cain couldn't have been a Lone Ranger. He had to have surrounded himself with some very good people. He certainly had to be a good listener as well as a fast learner; seeking out honest advice from people who aren't just "yes men.". That, to me, is what Herman Cain is all about. He's got that unique ability to build a winning team in order to get the job done. It's what would make him a great leader; whether he be in business or in government.

Right now, we have a President who, from the very onset, surrounded himself with academics. A bunch of thinkers who have never had any real-life experience in either business or governance. In fact, the President, himself, never had any governing experience. In essence, Obama's is floundering because he couldn't build a winning team. Instead of bringing people together over a common goal, Obama creates division. I also think he's in love with himself and expects those people around him to cheer him on with approving enthusiasm; either rightly or wrongly. Just too many yes men!

That's why Cain would probably run circles around Obama and that's why I think he just might be a great President; if ever elected.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Fallacy of Obama's Infrastructure Plan

Under Mr. Obama's so-called jobs plan, $140 billion would be spent on infrastructure programs such as road and bridge building and repair, rapid transit systems, and air traffic control upgrades. Now, to many, $140 billion sounds like a lot of money and it also sound as if a lot of jobs would be created to help lower the unemployment rate. But, nothing could be farther from the truth.

First off, there is no way that any jobs would be created any time soon. At the earliest, the Obama plan might get some hiring started in 2013. That's because heavy construction transportation projects aren't off-the-shelf kinds projects. They require considerable engineering and design work to simply develop the specs for bidding the project out. Traffic engineers have to provide a plan as to how traffic flows will be handled during the entire construction process. Approvals must be obtained from the EPA to insure the the construction plan is compliant with both current and pending environmental rules. Actually, it could take up to 2 years or more before any work, and hiring, ever gets started.

Secondly, in the world of heavy construction, $140 billion is not a lot of money. For example, the lowest cost for building or replacing a single lane of road over the span of a mile in any urban road construction is about $5 million. In other words, you could easily eat up a billion dollars by simply replacing 50 miles of a four-lane road or highway.

Third, compared to other business activities, the labor component of a heavy construction project is fairly small in contrast to the cost of the equipment and material. Typically, the labor cost component is about 35%. Then, too, these kinds of projects usually span over a period of several months to years to complete. Additionally, in the snow-belt areas of America, construction is often curtailed, due to weather, from mid-Fall; through the Winter; and, into mid-Spring. This is significant because much the dilapidated infrastructure is in the colder and more densely populated areas of our country.

My guess is that, even at the very best, about 40% of the $140 billion might be spent in 2013. With the labor component of that being about 35% and assuming that the average union, heavy construction worker makes between $50,000 and $80,000 a year, Obama's plan might employ, at the very maximum, about 215,000 workers in the first year; with that overall work force declining by about a third in each successive year. So, computationally, that means that Obama's infrastructure plan would spend nearly two-thirds of a billion dollars to create a single job. Further, 215,000 jobs represents just one percent of all the people who are out of work in this country; assuming (unrealistically) that all of those 215,000 workers will be newly hired for any given project.

To me, infrastructure improvement is a good thing for America, but, in no way will it create the number of jobs needed to get the U.S. back on its feet. The cost is just too high and the employment impact only helps the 7% the workforce who are unionized. Most of this country's workforce is employed in small business activities; which this plan by Obama doesn't address. We need to cut spending so the U.S. dollar will be re-strengthened and, in doing so, reverse the inflation that the consumer has been seeing for food, clothing, and energy expenses. This way, the consumer will have more money to spend and, subsequently, small businesses will see the demand for their products and services increase; with jobs to follow. Big government and big spending by this President are only hurting the economy and the facts on the ground clearly prove that.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Obama's Buffett Rule Denounced By Buffett

In his tax-the-rich/debt-reduction speech a couple of weeks ago, President Obama introduced what he called the "Buffett Rule" whereby the rich could no longer avoid paying high tax rates. In Obama's own words, he said the rich would have to pay "their fair share." Then, once again, he defined the rich as being those singles making $200,000 a year and any couples making more than $250,000.

In outlining the Buffett Rule, he implied that Warren Buffett, himself, actually authored that rule. But as I had previously indicated in my blog entry titled Obama's Rich and Warren Buffett's Rich Are Two Different Animals, Warren Buffett was only talking about the super rich who were being "coddled" by certain aspects of our tax codes. Yet, Obama continues to invoke Buffett's name in his socialist-minded justification for taxing people who aren't even millionaires or billionaires.

Yesterday morning, in a CNBC interview, Warren Buffett put the so-called Buffett Rule into its proper context. Instead of calling for increasing taxes on all of Obama's supposed rich, he explained that he only wants taxes increased on those 50,000, or so, super rich who pay less taxes than they should. He adamantly included himself in that category. In fact, he specifically said that a ballplayer making $50 million dollars "should not" have their taxes increased. That hardly sounds like a ringing endorsement for raising taxes on a person only making $200,000 or a family with income above $250,000. (Click here to See the Buffett Interview)

Once again, we find another serious "distortion of the facts" by Barack Obama. I just wish that, in that same interview, Buffett would have directly denounced the $200,000/$250,000 tax increase. Instead, he just danced around and avoided answering that direct question. Of course, that was to be expected since Buffett is an ideological supporter of Obama. But, I think, what he did say and how he said it and what he avoided saying was damaging enough.