Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Obma's Disingenuous Push For Natural Gas

It just amazes me that the national media and Americans, in general, are unable put two-and-two together when comes to anything that Obama says or does.

Last Thursday, Obama went to a Las Vegas United Parcel Service facility to give a speech touting the benefits of using natural gas. In that speech he said that our domestic natural gas resources could "power our cars and our homes and our factories in a cleaner and cheaper way..." In hitting home to the fact that we have massive amount of natural gas, he called the United States the "Saudi Arabia of natural gas". But, in so many ways, this new natural gas initiative by Obama is so disingenuous.

First off, our abundance of natural gas has only become a reality due to a new process of extraction called hydraulic fracturing (also known as "Fracking"). But, environmentalist have been against fracking for years; claiming that the process contaminates ground water and underground aquifers. So, it was no surprise that, shortly after taking office, the anti-fossil fuel and environmentalist-loving Obama directed his activist EPA to prove the environmentalists right. So, after three years of investigation, Obama's EPA released a draft report last month that supposedly proves that "fracking" does, in fact, contaminate ground water. At least in the case of the fracking activity being conducted in Pavilion, Wyoming. But, you gotta know, that if fracking is contaminating ground water in Wyoming, the Obama assumption will be that it contaminates ground water everywhere. And, just as in the case of the BP oil spill, expect Obama to eventually shutdown and slow fracking operation to a snail's pace. But for now, Obama is running for reelection and he wants to be seen as an "energy" president; and, so, he'll continue to push for the increased use of natural gas and our use of "clean fracking" to extract it.

Then, too, you've got to wonder why Obama picked this very time to announce his support for natural gas. Just, maybe, the timing had something to do with the fact that Obama just got through shutting down the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline and he was getting a lot of heat for doing it. After all, this new push for natural gas takes away some of that heat by making it look like he supports all types of energy to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Even though Obama knows that he will probably shutdown any fracking operations after he get's reelected.

To me, the United Parcel speech was just another Obama campaign speech filled with promises that will never be kept; like so many promises that Obama has made in the past. I also know that natural gas is no panacea to reduce our dependency on foreign oil. Like the electric car, most Americans are not going to rush to buy natural gas-powered vehicles. Natural gas-powered vehicles are expensive to buy with a price tag that is at least $9,000 higher than a gasoline powered counterpart. They have half the range of a gasoline powered vehicle because gas requires consumes more volume than a liquid. And -- more importantly -- refueling stations are even more limited than electric plug-in stations. Once again, Obama's got it all wrong.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Global Warming Continues To Lose Cred

A week ago, our National Climate Data Center in conjunction with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies announced that world temperatures in 2011 were again cool. This time blaming El Nina. In fact, 2011 was the second coolest year since 2000 (Click here to See Story: La Nina cooled the globe in 2011). In actuality, world temperatures, using applied linear regression, have remained nearly flat for the last 16 years.

What's interesting about this story is the fact that it comes just two months after the U.S. Department of Energy announced that greenhouse gases had jumped by the greatest amount ever in 2011 (Click here to See Story: Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases).

So, let's see. There continues to be massive increases in the amounts of atmospheric CO2 due to human activity. Yet, somehow, world temperatures aren't really rising. It just seems to me that the supposed "settled science" of global warming is losing a lot of credibility. Mother Nature must be laughing her ass off!

Friday, January 27, 2012

2011 Economic Growth Nearly Half That Of 2010

While stumping for reelection, the President likes to hype that fact that the economy has been improving under his stewardship. Unfortunately, this morning's data on economic growth throws a lot of ice cold water on his personal and politically-driven viewpoint that he has somehow turned the economy around.

For the 4th quarter of 2011, the Gross Domestic Product of the United States only grew by 2.8% with the final, annualized growth rate for 2011 calculated to be 1.7%. That's nearly half the meager growth we saw in 2010 where the annualized GDP growth rate was only 3%. And, even that 3% growth in 2010 was horrible when you consider the fact that you need at least 2.5% growth in GDP to account for both population growth and inflation.

In effect, the economy actually contracted last year when you assume the 2.5% benchmark as minimum growth standard. And, I wouldn't count on 2012 being any better. That's because the consumer will continue to be hurt by higher prices for food, energy, clothing, health care, and eduction. All this at a time when wage increases are minimal, at best. And, if the consumer can't drive the economy, that 70% of our normal economic growth that will be marginalized.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Obama's Wish For A State Of Disunion Address

Once again, Obama launched another divisive, class warfare speech in what was supposed to be the annual State of the Union address. He talked about fairness being higher taxes on the wealthy. He talked about teamwork. Yet, is it fair and is it teamwork when almost half of all Americans pay no taxes? Is it fair that almost half of the country's high school students fail to graduate and, as a consequence, are unable to find good paying jobs. Are those people team players, Mr. Obama?

We want wealthy people in this country. We want them to use their wealth as capital to create jobs in America. We don't want to them to hand their wealth over to Washington, D.C. so that money can be squandered away in political cronyism like Solyndra.

But, this President only wants to berate the wealthy and cripple them through higher and higher taxes. What happens when those wealthy just give up and leave America? Who, then, pays for all our debt? Let's not forget that, in just 3 years, Obama is responsible for 1/3 for all the debt that this nation has accumulated in its 235 year history. Now, he thinks the wealthy -- those making more than $250,000 -- should fix the massive debt problem that he and the Democrats have created. Where's the team play when he and the Democrats put their radical priorities ahead of the health of this country. Once again, Obama's community organizing principals of disunion were quite apparent in last night's speech.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Obama's Campaign 2012 Energy Ad

Just last week, Obama's 2012 campaign team released this video:

Now, while there's a lot that I could take issue with in this ad, there is one thing that is simply a blatant lie.

At the tail end of this video, the narrator states: "for the first time in 13 years, our dependence on foreign oil is below 50%". I guess from that statement we're supposed to "derive" two implied facts.

First of all, because the major focus of the ad is on "green technology", there is this implication that wind and solar energy have reduced our dependence on foreign oil. That's a complete distortion. The only thing that wind and solar actually replaces is our dependence on our own domestic coal and natural gas resources. Electricity production from diesel and gasoline is very small and primarily limited to portable and backup generators. Therefore, there is no way that wind and solar are helping to reduce our dependence on imported oil.

Secondly, it's also implied that Obama has somehow increased our domestic oil production. But, that's quite a trick for this President who's only been in office for 3 years. That's because it takes between 5 to 8 years before any newly issued oil leases can start producing oil. All the current increases in domestic oil production have resulted from leases issued during the Bush Administration. Obama, like Clinton, has done everything possible to block drilling and our dependence on Middle East oil. He just blocked the Keystone pipeline. Since the BP oil spill, he seized the opportunity to literally shutdown deep water drilling in the Gulf. His EPA is fighting East Texas drilling over the fate a nearly extinct lizard. It now looks like "fracking" technology may be halted by the EPA because of the pressure that's being exerted by the environmentalists. And, he has blocked any drilling in ANWAR and off the coasts of California and Florida.

One last thing. There is a reason that the narrator can say that "for the first time in 13 years, our dependence on foreign oil is below 50%". Thirteen years ago was the end of the Clinton Administration and the end to another anti-oil presidency. Due to all the blocking efforts of Clinton, he left office with our domestic oil production in decline. It took Bush's two-terms in office (eight years) to rebuild our domestic oil drilling capabilities.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Valerie Jarrett: GOP Forcing Layoffs of Police, Teachers, and Firemen

On yesterday's "Morning Joe" show, Valerie Jarrett re-iterated her attack on the GOP for their blocking of Obama's American Jobs Act by saying that the non-passage of this bill would lead to the layoffs of teachers, police and firemen.

Unfortunately, Ms. Jarrett is too ideologically stupid to understand the consequences of such an action. First and foremost, the federal government is not responsible for local education and police and fire protection. Secondly, handing out federal taxpayer money to the states in order for them to retain public unionized workers only causes those states to stop looking for better ways to get their own budgets under control. As a result, the states will have then become dependent on that funding and the federal government will never be able to discontinue it in the future. Once again, it will have created another "entitlement".

What Valerie is telling the world is that this funding is simply a down payment to the unions for the support that Obama expects to get in the run up to the fall elections. The American Jobs Act is just another way that Obama proliferates big government in this country. The money would be better spent in job training programs so that the millions, already out of work, can match up with the over two million job openings that actually exist in this country but remain open for the lack of qualified applicants.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Newt Gingrich: Mr. Backtracker

Obviously, Newt Gingrich wants to be President. But, do we want a President who constantly makes decisions or speaks out against something and, then, days or weeks later has to backtrack on his statements?

This is a consistent problem with Gingrich. He did it when he made the video commercial with Nancy Pelosi on Climate Change. He also had to backtrack on his criticism of Paul Ryan's budget proposal by labeling it "right-wing social engineering". Then, there was the denial that he was for the individual mandate for health care. He also had to backtrack on his calling Sonia Sotomayor a racist. And, the list goes on and on. From comments he made about Egypt to his blundering statements about abortion. Now, in his latest retreat, he is walking backwards on his attack of Romney's association with Bain Capital.

It's one thing to make mistakes when talking about domestic issues. But, do we really want this man meeting with world leaders and making statements that weren't well thought out?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

What A Surprise! Jobless Claims Back To Pre-Holiday Levels

Well, this morning, the number of those filing for first-time jobless claims jumped "unexpectedly" to 399,000. My guess is that the Obama Administration took a little "poetic license" (actually political license) in keeping that number just under 400,000; knowing that they can revise it upward next week when all the focus will be on the current week's number.

To me, it is no surprise that we are again back at the horrible levels of joblessness. On Thursday, last December 8th, I wrote a blog entitled: "Holiday Jobless Claims are Always Lower". In that piece I pointed out that, every year, "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."

I really feel sorry for the liberal media who had so wishfully believed that the employment situation was improving based on the lower Holiday numbers. As cheerleaders for Obama, nothing could be sweeter than fewer people being let go from their jobs. After all, they're still smitten with him and blindly believing all that "hope" crap that he promised them in 2008. Too bad the hope for improving employment turned out to be so hopeless. When will they finally realize that it's Obama's policies that are killing jobs in America. He's not creating jobs!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Obama's Jobs Bill Conflicted By Better Unemployment Numbers

For months, all we've ever heard out of Obama was that Congress should pass his $447 billion jobs bill "right now". Well, it appears those calls are being silenced by better unemployment numbers. On one hand you have a President who wants to get reelected by pushing a multi-billion dollar piece of legislation that would primarily benefit his unionized voting base: teachers, police, fireman, and heavy construction workers. On the other hand, Obama wants to take credit for reducing the unemployment rate and creating 1.6 million private sector jobs.

But, there's even a bigger problem for Obama. How does he explain an improving "jobs" environment when the bulk of his original stimulus ran out in the first quarter of 2011? Isn't that another reason why we shouldn't pass his new stimulus (jobs) bill?

Of course, anyone who knows how the unemployment rate is calculated also knows that the employment situation isn't really improving. Much of the lowering of the rate has been done through the shrinking of the workforce by excluding workers who have given up looking for work; and, by using "seasonal adjustments" that were primarily developed to clarify the unemployment situation during good employment and better economic times. If you actually take the raw numbers you get an entirely different picture with a rate of nearly 23% and rising (Click here to see the chart from Shadow Government Statistics - shadowstats.com).

As usual, Obama's "politicizing" of the unemployment situation has put him in a bind. And people say he's the smartest President we've ever had.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Simple Tweet Says It All About Today's Unemployment Report

This morning, a simple and concise tweet by financial columnist, James Pethokoukis, cut through all the media enthusiasm over this morning's unemployment number. His tweet was as follows: "10.9%: The unemployment rate (U-3) if the size of US workforce was the same as when Obama took office, not 8.5%". He's right. In essence, he's saying that the unemployment rate is a deceptive number because it doesn't include all those people who stopped looking for work because there are no jobs to find.

But, to me, Jim's tweet stops short of another fact. His tweet doesn't include the workers who should have been added to the workforce due to population growth over the last three years. That's another 5.6 million workers who aren't being counted in either the Bureau of Labor and Statistics report or in Jim's calculation. That's why many believe the true unemployment rate is actually above 20%. Of course, a true reporting of the actual unemployment rate would be political suicide for both Obama and the Democrats.

The Shock And Blah Of The Chevy Volt

I think General Motors (GM) can be very thankful that the Chevy Volt was such such a flop in the marketplace. After all, having to recall an entire run of a particular line of vehicles could have been quite expensive. But, thanks to the intelligence of the American consumer, a little less than 8,000 of these firetraps have been sold to date -- well short of the 10,000 vehicles that GM had predicted they would sell by this point in time.

Then there was the news that GM may move its production of the Volt to China. If there ever was an admission by a company that it was losing money on making a product, this is it. I don't know if anyone remembers but, GM originally announced that the price of the Volt would be around $47,000. But, after Obama took over the company, the Volt hit the showrooms with a much lower price tag of $41,000; making me think that the real cost to produce this car is somewhat higher than the selling price. You think, maybe, that Obama's Car Czar had something to do with the lousy pricing? It's obvious that GM is losing money on these eco-nut vehicles. Enough of a loss, that it makes sense to replicate the current Volt production facilities in China; train new workers; and, then, ship the vehicles back to the U.S for distribution to the dealers. Of course, China's biggest cost saver is the fact that they don't have a United Auto Workers union.

This is just another example of Obama trying to force feed America with "green" technology. Like Solyndra, the Volt is a loser. And, like Solyndra, the American taxpayer is on the hook for keeping this pig alive with a $7,000 tax rebate for anyone buying one. A tax break that only benefits the wealthy who can afford to buy a $41,000 glorified golf cart. Now, it looks like those tax breaks will, at sometime, subsidize jobs in China. Thank you, Mr. Obama!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Newt's Anger Is Childish

Gingrich called it being "Romney-boated". He blames his dramatic fall from grace in Iowa on a bunch of negative ads produced by a Romney Super PAC.

Well, Mr. Gingrich ought to grow up. It was his own "bio" that gave that Super PAC all the ammunition it needed to attack him. And, believe me, what happened to Gingrich in Iowa is nothing in comparison to what would happen if he got the nomination and the Democrats and their Super PACs went after him. Many have always said that Newt is an angry man. Now he's proving them right.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Iowa Is More About Who Loses

The media seems focused on who will win the Iowa Caucus tonight, but Iowa is less about who wins and more about who loses. You see, Iowa's track record in picking the ultimate GOP candidate is somewhat flawed. Huckabee won the last time around but it was McCain who went on to be the GOP candidate. In the year that Reagan won the Presidency, his V.P., George H.W. Bush, actually won Iowa. So, don't expect tonight's winner to go on and be knighted at the GOP convention.

However, what Iowa is really good at is thinning the herd. Usually, the bottom two losers in the Iowa caucus will struggle going forward. That's because, psychologically, no one wants to back a loser. As a result, contributions tend to dry up and the polling numbers get weaker and weaker for those who finish far back. Eventually, the bottom two will wind up dropping out completely; usually because there's no money to keep their campaigns going. It's almost a given. Maybe, that's why Huntsman intentionally skipped Iowa.

Monday, January 2, 2012

My Take On Iran's Threat To Close The Strait Of Hormuz

Raising The Minimum Wage Has Consequences

On January 1st, eight states and the city of San Francisco raised their minimum wage by an average of 33 cents per hour. For the minimum wage worker, this means an average annual salary increase of $686. But, for the business owner, his/her profits (if any) will be reduced by $686 for each minimum wage earner that they employ. Some businesses will handle this wage adjustment by hiking their prices; meaning that ultimately, you and I will pay the price. At the same time, the state coffers will benefit from those higher prices because most states have a state sales tax that is calculated on the basis of price. For other businesses, who, because of competition, can't raise their prices, this new wage might either force layoffs or delay any new hiring. At the very least, it means that Uncle Sam will lose tax revenues because that $686 per worker's pay increase will be moved out of the highly taxable "business profits" category and into the untaxed low income tax status. In some extreme cases, where a business was already struggling, this new salary burden could mean an end to that business with all the workers losing their jobs.

Liberals seem to think that raising the minimum wage only affects the pay of low income
workers. They're absolutely wrong. First, many union contracts have clauses that force automatic pay increases whenever the minimum wage is increased. So, the impact of a raise might actually spread to some businesses who don't even have any minimum wage workers. Second, upping the minimum wage will often create bottom-up wage pressure. Often, this is simply because a minimum wage earner winds up being paid more than the more experienced worker who previously had the higher salary. As result, employers are forced to give wage increases to non-minimum wage employees in order to maintain a logical pay scale structure based on seniority and experience.

Just yesterday, I heard a liberal guest on a talk show argue that raising the minimum wage will give the economy a boost by putting more spending money in the pockets of the low income, wage earners. That might be so. But, on the other hand, raising wages is no different than raising taxes on the job creators; and, every economist knows that raising taxes in a weak economy will only produce an even weaker economy. In fact, there has been a lot of research into the effects of raising the minimum wage. Often the conclusions of that research show that more harm than good is done causing forcedlayoffs, raised prices, and new hiring delays.