Sunday, February 27, 2011

ObamaCar Cartoon Speaks Truth in Humor

I believe this cartoon, from the Weekly Standard, depicts ObamaCare to a tee. Enjoy!

Constitutional Amendment to Control Federal Overreach

This is a great idea in that it gives the people a way out of the strangling over reach that the federal government might project on rest of the country.

This would give the states an opportunity to protect themselves and the country as a whole, from unreasonable, destructive policies and regulations from the federal government. Article V, Constitutional amendment process of the Constitution, lays out the process allowing change to accrue within the confines of the basic law of the land. The founding fathers saw this coming and provided this article to help stem over reach from the government.

This Constitutional provision will be significant given the battles that are accruing now in the states on health care, clean air and water regulations, environmental issues.

States Should Use Constitutional Amendment to Rein in Federal Government
Source: Robert G. Natelson, "Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders' Plan," Goldwater Institute, September 16, 2010.

Americans are increasingly questioning -- and resisting -- the endless growth of the federal government. Part of this resistance finds voice in efforts to enforce state sovereignty through litigation and legislation such as the Health Care Freedom Act and the Firearms Freedom Act.

Measures such as these protect existing, fundamental rights from erosion at the federal level. But the growing discontent has also reignited interest in an even more direct route for the people and the states to regain control over the federal government -- the Article V constitutional amendment process, says Robert G. Natelson, a senior fellow at the Goldwater Institute.

Under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, the states have the power to apply to Congress to hold a convention for the purpose of proposing constitutional amendments. This power was meant to provide a fail-safe mechanism to control the federal government.

Natelson's report demonstrates that the historical record during the Founding era establishes a clear roadmap to guide the Article V amendment process. Among other discoveries, this report reveals that the Framers rejected drafts of Article V that contemplated the very kind of wide-open convention that could "run away," substituting instead a provision for a limited-scope convention, attended by state-chosen delegates, and addressed to specific subject matters.
Natelson recommends that states seriously consider initiating the Article V constitutional amendment process to restrain the federal government.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Unemployment 'Fundamentally' Worse

This doesn't come as a surprise to anyone, anyone that has a brain of course, that can see and hear what is coming from the Obama Administration - 'all we need is more investment in infrastructure to solve the long term problems that face us today and in the future' (read this as more money from the Fed's printing press to local governments) - reality check - unemployment is getting worse and the overall economy is declining.

Everyone is quick to say 'Obama is a smart man, but his agenda for the country is misguided'. Nonsense! Our president isn't any smarter than the next guy, but he certainly knows what he wants to do to "fundamentally change America".

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand the rhetoric and the accomplishments so far from the progressive left are designed to limit freedom and restructure the American way of life. Do we accept this as the new norm?

No Silver Bullet for Unemployment
Source: Marie-Josee Kravis, "It's Time for Washington to Get Serious About Job Creation," Real Clear Markets, February 22, 2011.

The last jobs report was dismal. Recent consensus forecasts of 148,000 new jobs collided with a reality of 36,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate fell only because half a million discouraged workers stopped looking for jobs and left the labor force, says Marie-Josee Kravis, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute.

The labor force participation rate of 64.2 percent is the lowest it's been since 1984, and the employment to population ratio -- at 58.4 percent -- is the lowest it's been since 1983.
Total employment in January 2011 was 139.3 million, which means 555,000 fewer workers had jobs than in June 2009, when the National Bureau of Economic Research deemed the recession over. Even if the workforce had grown by the anticipated 148,000 last month, there still would have been 443,000 fewer people working than in June 2009.

Despite massive fiscal stimulus and expansionary monetary policy, jobs continued to disappear even when the recession was said to be officially complete; leaving roughly 8.8 million workers out of work. In contrast, in the '80s, '90s, plus the early part of the decade just passed, job growth resumed relatively quickly. Eighteen months after the end of the recession, employment had reached prerecession levels.

There is no magic bullet here, but governments must stop hiding behind the financial nature of the recession and come forth with policies that actually steer growth toward a more vigorous course, says Kravis.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Taxes/Spending Cuts : Obama Agenda Smoke and Mirrors

The top 2% of taxpayers pay 37% of all taxes and nearly all taxes are paid by the top 48% of the population. The Bottom 52% virtually pay nothing.

How long do you think it will take for the smart guys and gals that make millions to figure out how not to pay all the taxes? This is just class warfare that Obama is fomenting to expand his voting base. That it will cause huge problems for the country is of little concern for Obama and his criminals in kind. What matters is power, and if you have the power, you have control.

Where Is the Money Going to Come From?
Source: Howard Gleckman, "Where Will New Revenues for Deficit Reduction Come From?" Tax Policy Center, February 17, 2011.

If Washington is going to need new tax revenues to bring the deficit under control, where is the cash going to come from? It appears that while corporations and nearly all individuals and families would avoid any tax hit at all, a handful of high-income households would get socked with major increases. These tax hikes would be so big, in fact, that top-bracket taxpayers might end up paying a rate of 67 percent on ordinary income and nearly 50 percent on capital gains, says Howard Gleckman, a resident fellow at the Urban Institute.

Since proposing his 2012 budget, President Obama has laid out three goals: He wants to reform the corporate income tax, but in a way that raises no more money than the current code.
He's repeated his long-standing vow to never raise taxes on individuals making $200,000 or less (or couples up to $250,000). Thus, he'd exempt 96.5 percent of households from any tax hikes.
And despite those self-imposed constraints, he also wants to dramatically reduce the long-term deficit. As a result, a relative handful of individuals and families (fewer than 6 million) would foot the entire revenue bill for deficit reduction.

How big would these tax hikes have to be? Let's assume the president's goal is fiscal balance. And let's say he would get there with the same formula as his fiscal commission -- two-thirds of deficit reduction from spending cuts and one-third from taxes. To reach balance in 2020, Obama would have to reduce the deficit by $735 billion in that year alone. Using the two-thirds/one-third formula, the tax hike would be about $245 billion, says Gleckman.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Oil Prices Dictate Economic Recovery

As Rev. Wright pointed out to his congregation, 'Obama chickens have come home to roost' or something close to that. With oil going over $100 a barrel and headed even higher, it seems Obama's interior domestic terrorist, Ken Salazar, sees more drilling for oil, gas or coal as unnecessary.

His new plan for this year, and next, is no new drilling permits, and as of his latest move to shut down one of the largest coal mining operation in America, as it doesn't meet the new standard for energy production that the mining industry just met two years ago, just approved this year, we will see a dramatic decline in economic recovery.

If you believe this doesn't make sense, especially given our current situation with oil prices headed to $150 or more, you are among the majority. Worse, being in the majority with the Obama administration really doesn't matter, it's what he has determined to be important that matters.

All considerations for an American recovery seem to depend on one man's agenda. This isn't what the founders had in mind for the America experience.

Mideast Unrest Is Not the Only Cause of High Oil, Gas Prices
Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Roadblock on Domestic Oil Production Even More Costly Now," National Center for Policy Analysis, February 22, 2011.

The ongoing turmoil throughout the Middle East highlights the continuing and pervasive vulnerability of the U.S. economy to oil price instability, yet the Obama administration continues to thwart any efforts to increase domestic oil production, according to H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Overdependence on supplies of oil from what are now increasingly unstable regions of the world throw into stark relief the need to develop our own domestic reserves of oil.

An additional 1 million to 2 million barrels a day in increased U.S. oil production would have an inordinate impact on oil prices beyond that expected from the additional amount of oil, because oil prices are driven, in part, by fear of uncertainty of future supply, says Burnett.

Burnett points out:
This risk premium would be reduced if the United States brought more oil to the market; since oil traders could count on the oil being delivered, they would not fear supply disruption from political turmoil or conflict.

Since the oil production would be developed privately for profit, the U.S. oil would not be used as a political tool and profits would be reinvested in improved technology and new supply development rather than to pay off political constituencies while the capital equipment and production declines (as occurs in Venezuela and Mexico, for example).

The need to remove unwarranted roadblocks to increased domestic production would also improve the continuing recession and overall malaise in the U.S. economy, Burnett points out.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Internet Kill Switch Good for Progressives : Stop Free Speech

What a great idea for the liberal Democrats - if they decide that the Internet is not properly aligned with their agenda, they can just shut it down. This is easily understandable given past moves by progressive Democrats, the "Fairness Doctrine" to kill talk radio.

Freedom of speak is good as long as it meets certain criteria determined by progressives. Good examples of this are the requirements needed for free speech a most universities.

Internet Kill Switch Would Be Complex and Expensive
Source: "Reaching for the Kill Switch," The Economist, February 2011.

On January 25th American senators reintroduced a bill granting the president emergency powers to shut down parts of the nation's Internet as a defense against cyber attack. Three days later Egypt's embattled autocrats took their country offline. The American bill's backers never expected an easy victory. But outrage at the five-day shutdown of Egypt's once-flourishing Internet and its mobile phone network has given opponents of the "kill switch" in America and elsewhere some powerful arguments, says The Economist.

Proponents of the American bill say that they would never want a shutdown on Egyptian lines.
The powers would be needed, for example, if hackers took control of nuclear facilities, or were about to open the Hoover dam. Critics call this scaremongering and fear that the White House will gain unnecessarily sweeping powers.

The people who run the networks are themselves best-placed to keep them safe, they argue.
Either way, the size and complexity of the networks in America, coupled with the fierce protection of laws guaranteeing free speech, make blackout or manipulation on an Egyptian scale almost unthinkable. The more complex communications networks become, the harder it is to disable them swiftly, remotely or unilaterally.

A remote "kill switch," even if authorized, would be hugely complex and expensive to build and run. An American Internet shutdown would require the cooperation or coercion of many hundreds of companies and individuals, says The Economist.

Liberal Democrats On Their Knees To Union Bosses

A note from Jim DeMint - United States Senator on what is happening in Wisconsin and what the effect will be on all of us. It has become abundantly clear it not about the little guy as they claim, or about doing what's right for everyone, the greater good.

The progressives don't care now, as they didn't care in the past, about the "worker", and notice the term they use for cover here is reminiscent of agendas used in Europe in the last century. Does this sound familiar?

It's clear the liberal progressive Democrats are taking their marching orders from the union bosses. If the state goes bankrupt, no matter, it's about preserving the union and it's power. Oh, and the union bosses and their big salaries.

Jim DeMint

What's happening this week in Wisconsin demonstrates how dangerously beholden the Democrats have become to their out-of-control union bosses. Rather than vote on a measure to limit the collective bargaining power of public employee unions and ask workers to contribute more to their health insurance and pensions, Democrats fled the state bringing their government to a standstill. They completely deserted the democratic process, at the unions' bidding.

As the Democrats left town, unions deployed their workers to the state Capitol to demonize Wisconsin's Republican Governor Scott Walker. More than 600 teachers employed by Milwaukee Public Schools, the state's largest school district, even staged a "sickout" on Friday, forcing classes to be canceled. President Obama is taking the side of the striking unions and has called Gov. Walker's reasonable proposals an "assault." His political machine, Organizing for America, is on the ground ginning up opposition to Wisconsin Republicans who are trying desperately to balance their budget.

Obama isn't the only one cheering them on. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters, "I stand in solidarity with Wisconsin workers fighting for their rights." The Senate's second most powerful Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin, has said he is "rooting" for the unions.

Make no mistake, the Democrat Party is bought and paid for by the unions.

In pursuit of cushy contracts and pensions, courtesy of the taxpayer, unions spent hundreds of millions the last election cycle to defeat anyone who stood between them and federal coffers. Public employee unions alone spent more than $200 million to defeat Republican candidates. The top state employees union, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, spent more than $87 million in the 2010 cycle.

The unions will be even more active in the next election. They are certain to go after Republicans more aggressively then they ever have before. The unions are viewing Wisconsin as a community organizing "warm-up" for 2012. It is critical that we recruit and elect more strong conservatives who are unafraid to stand up to the unions.

Public sector employee unions have a stranglehold on our national and state budgets that must be severed.

We need more people in government who will fight on the side of the American people, not the unions. The Senate Conservatives Fund only supports Senate candidates who pledge support for a National Right to Work law. No American should ever be forced to join a union as a condition of their employment. If a National Right to Work law is passed, it will significantly weaken the unions ability to shutdown the government and schools like they are in Wisconsin now.

I'll be watching the events in Wisconsin very closely. I hope you do, too. It's an eye-opening preview of what's to come in 2012 and a reminder of why we must stay together in this fight to save our country.

Respectfully,Jim DeMint

United States SenatorChairman, Senate Conservatives FundP.S. Please help us pass the National Right to Work law, which will prevent workers from being forced to join a union and pay dues as a condition of their employment. Your support for the Senate Conservatives Fund will help us elect leaders who will stand up to the powerful union in Washington and secure America's future.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Green Energy Creats Jobs : Failure In Spain

Planning for the future by government mandate is progressive socialism. When we allow government to dictate outcomes in the market place, failure is sure to come.

Promises of Green Jobs Don't Live Up to Expectations
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience," American Enterprise Institute, February 15, 2011.

With $2.3 billion in Recovery Act tax credits allocated for green manufacturers, President Obama and other Democratic politicians have high hopes for green technology. But their expectations clash with both economic theory and practical experience in Europe, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at American Enterprise Institute.

Consider: The capital needed for one green job in Italy could create almost five jobs in the general economy. Wind and solar power have raised household energy prices by 7.5 percent in Germany.

Look at Spain's experience. Since 2000, Spain spent 571,138 euro (about $774,000) on each green job, including subsidies of more than 1 million euro (about $1.4 million) per job in the wind industry.

The programs creating those jobs destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy (2.2 jobs destroyed for every green job created). Each "green" megawatt installed destroys 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy on average.

These costs do not reflect Spain's particular approach but rather the nature of schemes to promote renewable energy sources, says Green.

Central planners in the United States trying to promote green industry will fare no better at creating jobs or stimulating the economy. Green jobs merely replace jobs in other sectors and actually contribute less to economic growth.

Speculation In Financial Markets : More Instability

Interesting work - just where do speculators fit into the housing mess and just what has their impact been.

The Role of Flippers in the Housing Market
Source: Patrick Bayer, Christopher Geissler and James W. Roberts, "Speculators and Middlemen: The Role of Flippers in the Housing Market," National Bureau of Economic Research, February 2011.

In thinly traded markets for heterogeneous, durable goods, such as housing, intermediaries may play especially important roles. Using a unique micro-level dataset of housing transactions in Los Angeles from 1988-2008 and a novel research design, researchers Patrick Bayer, Christopher Geissler and James W. Roberts identify and measure the importance of two very distinct types of intermediaries, also known as "flippers."

The first type act as middlemen who quickly match sellers and buyers, operate throughout housing market cycles and earn above average returns when they buy and sell.

The second type act as speculators who attempt to time markets by holding assets for longer periods of time, perform relatively poorly when buying and selling and are strongly associated with price instability in their targeted areas.

The presence of these unsophisticated speculators and positive feedback trading contribute the first pieces of evidence from the housing market to a growing body of work in other financial markets that questions whether speculators always act to stabilize prices, say Bayer, Geissler and Roberts.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Health Care Horrors : More IRS Agents

How cool is this - 'hope and change we can believe in' - big brother and big sis breathing down our collective necks, taking every cent we have to fund attacks on American freedom and it's very exists.

Who voted for this? Please stand up and take credit for electing a Marxist socialist progressive to lead us into oblivion.

Implementing Health Reform Will Cost Millions
Source: Paul Bedard, "Health Care Reform Law Requires New IRS Army of 1,054," U.S. News & World Report, February 15, 2011.

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says it will need a battalion of 1,054 new auditors and staffers and new facilities at a cost to taxpayers of more than $359 million in fiscal 2012 just to watch over the initial implementation of President Obama's health care reforms, says U.S. News and World Report. The requests are just the beginning, since the new health care program is evolving and won't be fully implemented until about 2014.

For example, some 81 staffers will be tasked just to handle the tax reporting of 25,000 tanning salons. Their cost: $11.5 million.

Another 76 will be assigned to make sure businesses engaged in making and importing drugs pay their new fee which is expected to deliver $2.8 billion to the Treasury in 2012 and 2013.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Corporate Tax Rates : Lower Means More Tax Revenue

One of the first rants that a true liberal progressive believer has is 'corporate greed'. Once a debate starts, it eventually, inevitably, ends with the true believer falling back on how the American corporations steal money from the trusting average citizen. Poor fools that they are.

What they are really saying, of course, is the corporations need more regulation and higher taxes so the average Joe will have a chance to obtain the 'good life' just like the fat cats that control the big corporations. In truth, what they want is income redistribution. Through government regulation and taxation, the corporation will pay their fair share of taxes. Some liberals want corporation to give up at least 90% of their profits in taxes.

Does this sound unreasonable or economically unsound? Of course, but then it not about what's reasonable or for the common good, it about taking from the productive and giving to the unproductive. The result will result in economic collapse, as proven throughout history. Marxist socialism.

Liberals are aware of this fact but it means nothing. It's the agenda, the ideology of Marxist socialism that drives them - and believe me when I say there is no debate possible for this agenda. Liberalism is a mental states of mind that can not see or hear opposition.

Lower Corporate Tax Rates Would Boost the Economy
Source: Martin Feldstein, "Want to Boost the Economy? Lower Corporate Tax Rates," Wall Street Journal, February 15, 2011.

President Obama has talked of lowering the corporate tax rate and improving the tax treatment of profits earned abroad by American companies. Unfortunately, his desire to use the elimination of "loopholes" to avoid any loss of corporate tax revenue means that he cannot possibly go far enough in reducing corporate tax rates, says Martin Feldstein, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan and a professor at Harvard University.

Eliminating every loophole in the taxation of domestic corporate profits identified by the administration's own Office of Management and Budget would raise less than $60 billion of extra revenue in 2011, enough to lower the combined federal-state corporate rate to 35 percent (currently 39 percent).

The U.S. rate would still be higher than in every other country but Japan, and a full 10 percentage points higher than the average in other industrial Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

The negative economic impact of the corporate tax rate is compounded by the unusual way in which U.S. firms are taxed on overseas incomes. For example, French and American firms that invest in Ireland pay a corporate tax of only 12.5 percent to the Irish government. The French firm can then bring its after-tax profit back to France by paying less than 5 percent on those repatriated profits while an American firm would have to pay the 22.5 percent difference between our 35 percent corporate tax and the 12.5 percent Irish tax.

Fortunately, shifting the U.S. method of taxing foreign profits to the "territorial" method used by all other industrial countries would have little adverse effect on corporate tax revenue. According to the 2010 Report on Tax Reform Options of the President's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, the Treasury estimates that a territorial system might cost only $130 billion over 10 years but could be structured in a way that actually raises revenue. Even the $130 billion estimate ignores the favorable revenue effect of the resulting increase in profitable corporate investment in the United States, says Feldstein.

The other harmful effects of the corporate tax could be reduced by bringing the U.S. rate into line with those in other industrial countries.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Clean Energy for America Controlled by China

Why would the proponents of 'clean energy' demand that we go head long into a dark pit of unknown technology without first using a light to shine down inside to see just what lies at the bottom.

As this article points out, China holds the majority of key elements to production of 'clean energy'. With China in the drivers seat with out debt, would it be good sense to allow them to dictate our energy resources as well?

Now I'm not an alarmist but this seems to be agenda driven. Just who wants China to be telling us how warm we should be or how cold is not a mystery. Who would benefit most from having a foreign nation in control of our economy and virtually the very well being of America?

Think about this for a few moments. Can a very small minority really have this much power?

Clean Energy Threatens U.S. Economy and National Security
Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Obama's Green Power Builds China's Red Power," Washington Times, February 16, 2011.

Increasing the United States' reliance on "clean" energy would leave Americans dependent on a single nation for critical energy supplies -- China. The threat to both national security and the U.S. economy is obvious to anyone who isn't blinded by environmentalist dogma, says H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Key components of every green energy technology are made from a small class of minerals known as rare earth elements and other rare minerals (such as tellurium, neodymium and lanthanum). Despite their name, these elements are rather abundant, but at the moment and for the near future, they are found in economically exploitable concentrations only in China.

With 96 percent of the global market, China has a de facto monopoly on the trade in these rare elements.

By contrast, the world's oil market is diverse. Dozens of countries, including the United States, produce and export oil. In 2009, the United States imported oil or oil products from 90 countries. By comparison, there is no other supplier of rare earth elements to turn should China find it in its interest to restrict its supply to the market. This leaves China free to manipulate the market at will, says Burnett.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Dogs Sing from The Heart - A Video

If you love dogs, and what they can make us think they know, then you will love this short video.

EPA Regulation : Tyranny by A Minortiy

Here is just another reason to make sure that we vote out the remaining Democrats and Obama in 2012. This is not representative government, this is tyranny by a minority. The EPA is not elected but appointed, and appointed by Marxist progressives. Why would they, progressive Democrats, believe the people of this great country would allow this travesty to continue!

Worse, this is how people in America believe the Democrats are sending our Constitution to the ash heap.

Strategies for States to Fight EPA Regulation
Source: "EPA's Regulatory Train Wreck," American Legislative Exchange Council, 2011.

While pending regulation of greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act has received the lion's share of the attention, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also begun promulgating and will continue promulgating over the next several years a slew of overreaching and inefficient air and water rules that will dramatically increase energy costs, cause enormous negative impacts to jobs and the economy, irreparably damage the competitiveness of American business, and trample on the rights of states in the process, says the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).

The EPA is developing and finalizing nearly 30 major regulations and more than 170 major policy rules.

Despite pleas from a broad cross-section of business, EPA has refused to undertake a study of the effect of its greenhouse gas regulatory initiatives on jobs, the economy and the business competitiveness. It has similarly failed to conduct a study of the overall, cumulative cost of all of its regulations together.

It is not, though, simply a matter of the scope of these regulations that constitutes a train wreck. As Kathleen Hartnett White and Mario Loyola of the Texas Public Policy Foundation note: "The new heavyhanded EPA...operates far more like an activist for whom no standard is too high, no impact too onerous, no risk too low and no science too speculative."

Given all of this EPA regulatory activity, now is an essential time for concerned state legislators to stand up, says ALEC.

In its new report, "EPA's Regulatory Train Wreck," ALEC outlines some comprehensive and issue-specific legislative tools, including expressing strong opposition to EPA's regulation wreck via resolutions, enhanced regulatory review, and bills to assert state sovereignty. As unemployment hovers around nine percent, it is the duty of states to weigh in against the effects of these job-crushing regulations.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Insuracne Weavers Proves ObamaCare Failures

This isn't just collateral damage from ignorance, this is a planned conclusion to implantation of ObamaCare. Insurance rates sky rocketing, people and corporations dropping their health insurance plans, everyone running for the exits trying to find a financial harbor that will shield them from ruin.

The question remains though, why would anyone do this intentionally? Why would anyone want to cause pain on such a huge scale?

Granting of Waivers Shows ObamaCare Contradictions
Source: John Hoff and John E. Calfee, "The Contradictions of ObamaCare," The American, February 10, 2011.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requires insurance policies to meet federal standards. One of these requirements is that, starting in 2014, insurance plans must provide coverage without imposing any annual or lifetime limits on the amount paid to individual beneficiaries. During the transition years between now and 2014, however, insurance firms can impose annual limits, subject to Health and Human Services (HHS) rules, say John Hoff, former deputy assistant secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, and John E. Calfee, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

HHS recently announced that in December it had granted more than 500 waivers for 2011 from its specification of the permitted annual limit because forcing these plans to meet the requirement would result in "large" increases in premiums or "significant" decreases in access to insurance coverage.

This brings the total number of waivers it has granted to 733, providing exceptions for 2.1 million enrolled Americans. The fact that HHS has felt it necessary to grant these waivers tells volumes about ObamaCare, perhaps more than HHS may realize.

The waivers demonstrate Health and Human Services' recognition that, in 733 instances (to date), requiring insurers to meet its payout regulation for 2011 will make coverage too expensive or impair access to coverage. If waivers are necessary to keep 733 insurance plans in place now, think of what will be necessary in 2013, when the amount policies must cover in a year will be nearly three times that cost, say Hoff and Calfee.

Middle East Unrest : Oil Production Uneffected?

This scenario seems a little out of bounds given past histories of Middle East unrest. And with Ben Bernanke weighing in with his analysis, with his record of being wrong, QE2, I truly think this article's hypothesis bears watching.

Unrest in Middle East Will Not Affect Oil Supply
Source: Jeremy Kahn, "Crude Reality," Boston Globe, February 13, 2011.

As the unrest in the Middle East has spread, people in the West have been keeping a wary eye on something closer to home: the gyrating stock market and the rising price of gas. Fear that the upheaval will start to affect major oil producers like Saudi Arabia has led speculators to bid up oil prices -- and led some economic analysts to predict that higher energy costs could derail America's nascent economic recovery.

But a growing body of economic research suggests that this conventional view of oil shocks is wrong, says the Boston Globe. The U.S. economy is far less susceptible to interruptions in the oil supply than previously assumed. Scholars examining the recent history of oil disruptions have found the worldwide oil market to be remarkably adaptable and surprisingly quick at compensating for shortfalls. Economists have found that much of the damage once attributed to oil shocks can more persuasively be laid at the feet of bad government policies.

The U.S. economy, meanwhile, has become less dependent on Persian Gulf oil and less sensitive to changes in crude prices overall than it was in 1973. Past oil shocks have also been studied by Ben Bernanke, the current chairman of the Federal Reserve, says the Globe.

In 1997, Bernanke analyzed the effects of a sharp rise in fuel prices during three different oil shocks -- 1973-1975, 1980-1982 and 1990-1991. He concluded that the major economic damage was caused not by the oil price increases, but by the Federal Reserve overreacting and sharply increasing interest rates to head off what it wrongly feared would be a wave of inflation.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Enemies Are Gone : Live to See it!

Okay - if you're over the age of 50 this will ring true or if you are over 80 and living life to it's fullest, then this guy tells how he did it!

Truth told! This is good stuff -

Let's hope this happens to all of us! 98 and no enemies - human interest story. All golfers should live so long as to be this kind of old man!

Toward the end of the Sunday service, the Minister asked, "How many of you have forgiven your enemies?"80% held up their hands.The Minister then repeated his question. All responded this time, except one man, an avid golfer named Walter Barnes, who attended church only when the weather was bad.

"Mr. Barnes, it's obviously not a good morning for golf. It's good to see you here today. Are you not willing to forgive your enemies?" "I don't have any," he replied gruffly.

"Mr. Barnes, that is very unusual. How old are you?""Ninety-eight," he replied. The congregation stood up and clapped their hands.

"Oh, Mr. Barnes, would you please come down in front & tell us all how a person can live ninety-eight years & not have an enemy in the world?"

The old golfer tottered down the aisle, stopped in front of the pulpit, turned around, faced the congregation, and said simply, "I outlived all the sons of bitches."

Progressives Move for More Regulation : Freedom Lost!

More government, that's what we need is the call from the liberal left. More crushing regulation to bring the nations industries under the boot of unelected agencies.

If you ever wondered what 'progressivism' is all about, well here it is. Every day they take more of our freedom and call it 'progress'.

Do you feel more secure now?

Regulation without Representation
Source: Wayne Crews and Ryan Young, "Regulation without Representation," Investor's Business Daily, February 8, 2011.

Regulatory agencies enact more than 3,500 new regulations in an average year. A new federal rule hits the books roughly every two hours, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Compare that with Congress, which passes fewer than 200 pieces of legislation per year. Only Congress has the power to legislate in the American system of government, but Congress never actually votes on most regulations.

This is regulation without representation, and it is a major problem, say Wayne Crews, vice president for policy, and Ryan Young, a fellow in regulatory studies, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Regulation without representation is a major reason why the Code of Federal Regulations has ballooned to 157,000 pages and counting, making it far more difficult to do business and slowing economic recovery.

The total cost of federal regulations last year was over $1.75 trillion. Every year, about 200 major rules hit the books -- these are defined as regulations that cost more than $100 million per year.

In 2010, there were 224 major rules at various stages at the agencies. Taken together, they cost businesses and consumers a bare minimum of $22.4 billion, yet Congress did not vote on most of them. Agencies have little incentive to restrain their command-and-control impulses without proper congressional oversight. That needs to change, say Crews and Young.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Constitution Alive and Well : Automatic Weapons Festival Video

This video has been around for a while but it's still heart warming in that it shows that, here in America, anything is possible. What's more we have the freedom to take responsibility for our own actions which is the foundation for our strength as a nation.

The fact that we have the capability of owning and using fully automatic weapons as citizens means we still have some of the freedoms that so many other people died for since 1776.

God bless America. God bless Oklahoma.

Oshkosh Air Show Video : Fantastic!

Here is great video of the Oshkosh air show, it's short but covers the high lites very well - enjoy! If you have any connection to airplanes, this is video is for you.

Affordable Health Care (PPACA) : States Crushed by Debt

ObamaCare costing billions more than expected? Really? Will it crush the states with huge costs and mandates to cover everyone, even illegals? Of course it will and does, but who cares, after all it not about health care, it's about control.

ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion: Larger and More Expensive
Source: Peter Suderman, "Could ObamaCare's Medicaid Expansion Be Even Larger than Expected?" Reason Magazine, February 8, 2011.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's (PPACA) Medicaid expansion might be far larger -- and presumably far more expensive -- than previously estimated, says Peter Suderman, associate editor of Reason Magazine.

In addition to the higher level of allowable income, the Affordable Care Act expands eligibility to people under age 65 who have no other qualifying factors that would have made them eligible for Medicaid under prior law.

The estimated increase in Medicaid enrollment is based on an assumption that Social Security benefits would continue to be included in the definition of income for determining Medicaid eligibility. If a strict application of the modified adjusted gross income definition is instead applied, as may be intended by the Act, then an additional 5 million or more Social Security early retirees would be potentially eligible for Medicaid coverage.

Numerous states are already in deep fiscal trouble thanks to their bulging Medicaid programs. The PPACA calls for the federal government to pick up much of the cost of the Medicaid expansion, but states will still be responsible for coming up with tens of billions in extra funding over the next decade.

The bigger picture, of course, is that we still don't really know how this will play out.
Currently, for example, there are millions of individuals who are eligible for Medicaid or S-CHIP but not enrolled. So it's at least possible that total enrollment will be lower than expected. (That said, most experts expect that the new law will actually bring many of the currently unenrolled out of the woodwork.)

All this should serve as yet another reminder that there are numerous reasons to believe that the PPACA might not work as planned -- and that it will cost taxpayers quite a bit more as a result, says Suderman.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Government Workers : One Sixth of Work Force

If you ever thought the government was out of control, this will convince you it isn't! It is in control of everything, or better, it is taking control of everything.

With the military aside, how do we pay for all these people and just what do they do for us?

Growing Federal Payroll
Source: Iain Murray, "The Government Payroll Is Longer than You Might Think," National Review Online, February 3, 2011.

The federal government employs around 2 percent of the workforce, but that doesn't include contractors or grantees funded with taxpayer money, says Iain Murray, the vice president for strategy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not keep records of how many government contractors or grantees, so it is difficult to tell how many the government actually employs. Nevertheless, Professor Paul Light of New York University was able to come up with some useful estimates by using the federal government's procurement database.

By 2005, the federal government employed 14.6 million people: 1.9 million civil servants, 770,000 postal workers, 1.44 million uniformed service personnel, 7.6 million contractors and 2.9 million grantees.

Since 1999, the government has grown by over 4.5 million employees.

Professor Light's figures are from 2006, but there can be little doubt that the size of the federal government has increased still further since. When we add up the true size of the federal workforce -- civil servants, postal workers, military personnel, contractors, grantees and bailed-out businesses -- and add in state and local government employees -- civil servants, teachers, firefighters and police officers -- we reach the astonishing figure of nearly 40 million Americans employed in some way by government.

That means that about 17 percent of the American labor pool -- one in every six workers -- owes its living to the taxpayer, says Murray.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Congress' Spending Sickness

What happens to a person when they get to congress? Do they lose all common sense and become zombies raising their hands or pushing a button to vote for anything that comes along that demands more money?

Hopefully now we will see some restraint and pull-back from the edge of ruin. But then again, maybe the sickness that has effected so many before will infect the new crop of legislators as well.

Congress Is Unable to Control Its Own Spending
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "The Truth about the Debt Ceiling," Reason Magazine, February 2, 2011.

The statutory debt limit, or debt ceiling, was designed to control congressional spending by limiting the amount of debt the federal government could accumulate. Clearly, it has not fulfilled its legislative purpose. In fact, the government has lost its ability to monitor its own spending, says Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Here are three myths about the debt ceiling, each one rebutted by a fact:

Unless we increase the debt ceiling, the U.S. government will default on its debt. Fact: The federal government has other options -- if the debt ceiling is not increased, the Treasury Department can make interest and debt payment its first priority to avoid a default.
Then it can essentially put the government on a stringent pay-as-you-go basis.

These are extraordinary times: We need to increase the debt ceiling now and will cut spending later. Fact: In the last 10 years, Congress has raised the debt ceiling 10 times, sometimes twice in the same year. Congress has raised the debt ceiling 98 times since 1940. Having to raise the debt ceiling again is a sign that Congress has failed to do what is necessary to get the nation's finances in order.

Democrats are the big spenders and are the party of debt.
Fact: Historically, the party in power always wants to increase spending.
As a result, lawmakers in power -- regardless of party affiliation -- overwhelmingly vote to increase the debt limit.

In conclusion, far from providing fiscal discipline, the debt limit has in fact served only as a symbolic cap that Congress, regardless of the party in power, will simply push higher and higher as spending increases dictate, says de Rugy.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Energy Independence Not Necessary?

Here is a view that I don't understand - 'even if we produce enough oil on this side of the pond to support our own needs, we will still be dependent on others for price control'? - We import 15% of our gasoline now, wouldn't it wise to not do that? We spend over 700 billion dollars on imported oil. Wouldn't it smart to at least keep some of those dollars here in America?

And if we just continue to import a significant amount of oil and gas, given the reduction in our navy that protects sea lanes that is proposed by Obama, and the Chinese securing major oil fields around the world, it sure seems funny that world events will not effect how we depend on oil from foreign suppliers.

Is Energy Independence Realistic?
Source: John Tamny, "T. Boone Pickens Unwittingly Reveals the Absurdity of 'Energy Independence,'" Real Clear Markets, February 3, 2011.

This week's uprising in Egypt that occurred in concert with a minor spike in the price of oil unsurprisingly led to renewed commentary suggesting the United States must achieve "energy independence." But looked at with a more reasoned eye, the events in Egypt exposed the sheer absurdity of the charitably false notion of energy independence, says Real Clear Markets.

For one, the not so notable increase in oil prices was to be expected either way. On the other hand, assuming some of the oil price increase was related to fears of supply shortfalls given the shipping lanes under Egypt's purview, what becomes apparent is that even if the United States were totally oil sufficient, our being that way would in no way shield us from global events that might reduce supply while increasing costs.

Oil is oil is oil, and it's a commodity whose price is discovered in deep world markets.
Much as we might like tonaively fantasize about walling ourselves off from international market realities, we'll never be immune to the activities around the world that impact oil's price.

Of course assuming a major uprising in the Middle East that does include a major reduction of shipments from that part of the world, the United States is poised to weather such an occurrence better than most countries. Not only is the United States the world's third largest producer of oil, it's 11th in the world in terms of proven reserves (Canada is 12th), plus the three countries we import the most oil from -- Canada, Mexico and Venezuela -- are far from the Middle East.

The false god of independence will not wall us off from supply-driven increases, and more important, the waste of human and financial capital necessary to achieve the silly notion would be far more economically crippling than any presumed supply shock could ever hope to be.

Monday, February 07, 2011

School Choice for Better Education : It's Coming!

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure why the public school system would be against funding private school systems - they will lose funding for the teachers unions and therefore will find it much harder to support liberal Democrats for office.

After all it is all about the money, teachers always need more money so they can teach better and the unions always need to take more from the teachers to control what goes on in the community by electing liberal politicians that promise to give them more tax dollars.

See how this works. Everybody wins except the taxpayer and their kids. The biggest loser though, the kids.

School Choice Makes Financial Sense
Source: Ben Boychuk, "School Choice Is Remedy for Destitute States," Washington Times, February 2, 2011.

Empowering parents to choose the best school for their children -- whether public or private, regardless of ZIP code -- isn't just the right thing to do. With states struggling to overcome yawning budget deficits, school choice makes good fiscal sense, says Ben Boychuk, managing editor of the Heartland Institute's School Reform News.

States such as Florida, Indiana, New Jersey, Ohio and Pennsylvania are considering legislation to establish or expand opportunity scholarship programs currently offering low-income parents or parents with disabled children the means to send their children to the school of their choice instead of one determined by their residence.

Opponents argue tax-credit scholarship programs are expensive, deprive traditional public schools of resources and use taxpayer dollars to enrich private or even religious enterprises.
Despite these claims, the programs have expanded slowly but steadily, successfully raising academic achievement where they've been tried in 14 states and the District ofColumbia.

In addition, study after study shows school choice saves money.

The Foundation for Educational Choice estimated the 12 voucher and tuition tax-credit programs operating before the 2006-2007 school year produced a 15-year cost savings of $444million. According to the same study, Pennsylvania's tax-credit program had saved Keystone State residents $144 million since 2001.
Florida's trailblazing McKay Scholarship Program for disabled children saved taxpayers $139 million in its first seven years.

Another study by University of Arkansas economist Robert M. Costrell concluded Milwaukee's Parental Choice Program has saved Wisconsin taxpayers money every year since 2000, with estimated savings reaching $31.9 million in 2008.

A robust system of school choice, in which funding followed students and wasn't filtered through a clogged sieve of bureaucracy, would provide further benefits.

Traditional public schools currently operating as de facto monopolies would be forced to compete for students. Schools that consistently failed to persuade enough parents to trust them with their children would no longer be guaranteed funding from the state, says Boychuck.

Osama, A Biker, A Farmer : Joke of The Year

Okay, chill out a little and enjoy the joke of the year!

Three men - a farmer, Osama bin Laden and a Biker are all walking together one day. They come across a lantern and a Genie pops out of it.

'I will give each of you one wish, which is three wishes in total', says the Genie.

The farmer says, 'I am a farmer and my son will also farm. I want my land to be forever fertile'POOF! With the blink of the Genie's eye, the his land was forever fertile.

Osama was amazed, so he said, 'I want a wall around Afghanistan , Syria, Jordon, Palestine, Iraq , Iran, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Pakistan so that no infidels, or Americans can come into our precious lands.' POOF! Again, with the blink of the Genie's eye, there was a huge wall around those countries.

The Biker says, 'I am very curious. Please tell me more about this wall.' The Genie explains, 'Well, it's about 5,000 feet high, 500 feet thick and completely surrounds the countries. Nothing can get in or out; it's virtually impenetrable.'

The Biker sits down on his Harley, cracks a beer, lights a cigar, smiles and says, 'Fill it with water.'

Sunday, February 06, 2011

College Education Not Workable For Everyone

Most students that are currently in college shouldn't be there - they have no idea why they are there and therefore will not get any real benefit from the huge amount of money they will spend, as well as taxpayers, trying to stay in school. This has been true for years, decades.

Most graduate and go into the work force doing what they would have done if they never attended college. They never learned anything that will help them establish a career. It's only the technical students that get some advantage from higher education.

Are students better people for attending a university, maybe, but the down side many will end up worse off from not establishing a good work ethic, that is, too much activity unrelated to getting an education.

Is Higher Education a Public Good?
Source: Jane S. Shaw, "Is College a Bad Public Good?" Pope Center for Higher Education, February 1, 2010.

As state legislatures around the country start cutting budgets, they face a puzzler -- what is the proper subsidy (if any) for higher education? The answer to this question may hinge on another: whether higher education can be considered a "public good." Perhaps higher education, as currently provided, is not, indeed, a public good -- but a bad one, says Jane S. Shaw, president of the John William Pope Center for Higher Education.

Many say that because education is partly a public good your education deserves public support. The reason is that public goods are not just "things that are good for the public," as the name may suggest. There is an argument that education will be undersupplied. The extra public benefits of education (such as contributing to a well-run community) aren't something that most people are willing to pay for (because the buyers don't benefit directly). Thus education will be undersupplied and the government must step in. But here is the issue, says Shaw.

In a democracy, citizens own the government -- they both provide public goods and use them, so it's up to the citizens to make sure that the goods are properly provided. It is not exactly news that special interests influence the government provision of goods and services.

Education, like other public services, is rife with special interests and political payoffs.
Indeed, the education that college graduates receive is sometimes so one-sided that it may reduce graduates' contributions to a well-run community rather than increase them.
Higher education looks a lot like a bad public good.

Trians to No Where : The ObamaTrain Derailed

What did Wisconsin and Ohio know about the 'high speed trains' that Illinois and California don't? Simple, when the government gets involved with any small or big project, it always ends with huge overruns and more taxes, that is, more financial problems for the state which right now would be catastrophic. The other states don't seem to understands.

And as this article points out, and Wisconsin's governor Scott Walker knew all along, they aren't high speed and the after construction costs will drive the state into more debt. Walker knew that the federal government was lying about the over-all costs of the 'not so high speed' train project which got him elected. Whoa, the people listened and believed him, a Conservative with a message that even the liberals in Wisconsin could understand.

But the other states that see this just for the federal funds to fix their deficits are headed in the wrong direction and, in the near future, higher taxes and still more debt, all of which they can't endure.

Not So High-Speed Trains
Source: Marc Scribner, "Obama's State of the Union Address: More of the same on Trains,", January 26, 2011.

In recent years, Americans' heads have been filled with images of the future -- a future where they will be able to take trains at speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour the same way they have heard citizens of developed European and Asian countries can dart across continents. Yet this allusion to a supposedly more cosmopolitan future in transport rests on a shaky foundation of programmatic sluggishness, high price tags and political mislabeling, according to

One of the proposed high-speed rail corridors the president mentioned was the seven-state Midwest Chicago Hub Network. Despite President Obama's optimism, the situation on the ground is quite bleak.

Wisconsin and Ohio recently elected governors who campaigned heavily against high-speed rail investment in their states, and the Obama administration pulled stimulus funds for the projectsout of those two states. This move effectively takes Minnesota service off the table as well.

It is also quite misleading to refer to this as high-speed rail, at least in the sense that the Chicago Hub Network somehow compares with Chinese and European high-speed passenger rail, says OpenMarket. In those countries, trains can travel at speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour.
In contrast, "high-speed" trains in the Midwest will eventually be able to top out at 110 miles per hour for very limited stretches.

Nor will the Midwest trains ride on electrified railways, which is the only practical method of achieving speeds exceeding 150 miles per hour.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Afghanistan Marine Recon : God Bless You!

What a great story of our guys in action - I believe it's a way of life like non other. I have friends from war zones, including Vietnam, that say it's believing every minute of every day could be your last, but what a minute.

Some say you can't find this out until your are safe again, but then you find security isn't all it's crapped up to be. You have to dig deep to make the transition. Some have no problem getting away from the nightmare, but others feel the pull.

The love, the fear, the hate, the frustration and the laughter is always there, but you know beyond a doubt, you share it with friends, brothers in arms.

Living on the edge with real friends is where life begins and then, of course, it could end as well, violently. But to really know though, you would have to be there, done that.


Here is another point of view other than the wonderful American press. This guy should be a writer for FOX.

From : A Recon Marine in Afghanistan

From the Sand Pit it's freezing here. I'm sitting on hard, cold dirt between rocks and shrubs at the base of the Hindu Kush Mountains , along the Dar 'yoi Pomir River , watching a hole that leads to a tunnel that leads to a cave.

Stake out, my friend, and no pizza delivery for thousands of miles. I also glance at the area around my ass every ten to fifteen seconds to avoid another scorpion sting. I've actually given up battling the chiggers and sand fleas, but the scorpions give a jolt like a cattle prod. Hurts like a bastard. The antidote tastes like transmission fluid, but God bless the Marine Corps for the five vials of it in my pack.

The one truth the Taliban cannot escape is that, believe it or not, they are human beings, which means they have to eat food and drink water. That requires couriers and that's where an old bounty hunter like me comes in handy.

I track the couriers, locate the tunnel entrances and storage facilities, type the info into the handheld, shoot the coordinates up to the satellite link that tells the air commanders where to drop the hardware. We bash some heads for a while, then I track and record the new movement.

It's all about intelligence. We haven't even brought in the snipers yet. These scurrying rats have no idea what they're in for. We are but days away from cutting off supply lines and allowing the eradication to begin.

I dream of bin Laden waking up to find me standing over him with my boot on his throat as I spit into his face and plunge my nickel-plated Bowie knife through his frontal lobe.

But you know me, I'm a romantic. I've said it before and I'll say it again: This country blows, man. It's not even a country. There are no roads, there's no infrastructure, there's no government. This is an inhospitable, rock pit shit hole ruled by eleventh century warring tribes. There are no jobs here like we know jobs.

Afghanistan offers two ways for a man to support his family: join the opium trade or join the army. That's it. Those are your options. Oh, I forgot, you can also live in a refugee camp and eat plum-sweetened, crushed beetle paste and squirt mud like a goose with stomach flu, if that's your idea of a party. But the smell alone of those 'tent cities of the walking dead' is enough to hurl you into the poppy fields to cheerfully scrape bulbs for eighteen hours a day.

I've been living with these Tajiks and Uzbeks, and Turkmen and even a couple of Pushtuns, for over a month-and-a-half now, and this much I can say for sure: These guys, all of 'em, are Huns... Actual, living Huns.. They LIVE to fight. It's what they do. It's ALL they do.They have no respect for anything, not for their families, nor for each other, nor for themselves. They claw at one another as a way of life. Huns, roaming packs of savage, heartless beasts who feed on each other's barbarism. Cavemen with AK-47's. Then again, maybe I'm just cranky. They play polo with dead calves and force their five-year-old sons into human cockfights to defend the family honor.

I'm freezing my ass off on this stupid hill because my lap warmer is running out of juice, and I can't recharge it until the sun comes up in a few hours.

Oh yeah! You like to write letters, right? Do me a favor, Bizarre. Write a letter to CNN and tell Wolf and Anderson and that awful, sneering, pompous Aaron Brown to stop calling the Taliban 'smart.' They are not smart. I suggest CNN invest in a dictionary because the word they are looking for is 'cunning.' The Taliban are cunning, like jackals and hyenas and wolverines.

They are sneaky and ruthless, and when confronted, cowardly. They are hateful, malevolent parasites who create nothing and destroy everything else. But smart? Pfft. Yeah, they're real smart. They've spent their entire lives reading only one book (and not a very good one, as books go) and consider hygiene and indoor plumbing to be products of the devil. They're still figuring out how to work a Bic lighter. Talking to a Taliban warrior about improving his quality of life is like trying to teach an ape how to hold a pen; eventually he just gets frustrated and sticks you in the eye with it.

OK, enough. Snuffle will be up soon, so I have to get back to my hole. Covering my tracks in the snow takes a lot of practice, but I'm good at it.

Please, I tell you and my fellow Americans to turn off the TV sets and move on with your lives.
The story line you are getting from CNN and other news agencies is utter bullshit and designed not to deliver truth but rather to keep you glued to the screen through the commercials.

We've got this one under control. The worst thing you guys can do right now is sit around analyzing what we're doing over here, because you have no idea what we're doing, and really, you don't want to know.

We are your military, and we are doing what you sent us here to do.

Saucy Jack Recon Marine in Afghanistan - Semper Fi !

"Freedom is not free..but the U.S. Marine Corps will pay most of your share".

Friday, February 04, 2011

Inflation IS here Now : Reality Striks Home

Obama knows this but goes ahead anyway! Money doesn't grow on trees, this is a fact but the Fed makes new rules about reality.
Inflation Threatens
Source: Alvaro Vargas Llosa, "The Specter of Inflation," Independent Institute, January 26, 2011.

Symptoms of price inflation have begun to pop up in many countries, says Alvaro Vargas Llosa, a senior fellow of the Center on Global Prosperity at the Independent Institute.

A major factor in what is happening is the liquidity disease of our times -- "quantitative easing," the artificial creation of money as a way to spur a full economic recovery in the wake of the 2007-2008 financial calamity. The theory says that the money created by the government will prompt more spending, lifting businesses out of their morass.

What really happens is that the money first goes to the financial markets, whose players mostly create bubbles by investing in whatever is fashionable. The reason is twofold, says Vargas Llosa.

One, financial players expect to make quick money.

Two, families and businesses reeling from the credit excesses of recent years are not ready to borrow as much as their governments say they shouldand banks are probably not willing to lend as easily as they used to.

For a while, then, it looks as if more quantitative easing is necessary because consumption remains insufficient and unemployment high. So central banks print even more money. To justify themselves, sometimes they point to (highly unrepresentative) consumer price indexes that show low inflation. Until, of course, it is too late and the symptoms begin to show up everywhere.

Yes, everywhere: even in the United States, where, against every effort by the Federal Reserve to keep it very low, the 10-year bond yield has shot up, reflecting the fear of many investors that the authorities will soon be compelled to raise interest rates, says Vargas Llosa.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Education Without More Money : What a Concept

Amen! But then it's not about education, it's about supporting the teachers union. The porgressives believe if the feds spend more on the basics, the unions can take a larger share of local tax dollars for themselves but have intention of doing anything more to earn it.

What they will do is strike for more time off!

Stop Federal Spending on Education
Source: Neal McCluskey, "For the Nation's Sake, Cut Education Spending," Cato Institute, January 25, 2011.

While Washington spends huge sums on things that are education-related, the riches produce almost nothing of educational value. If anything, the feds keep stuffing donuts into an already obese system, says Neal McCluskey, associate director of the Cato Institute's Center for Educational Freedom.

In 1970 Uncle Sam spent an inflation-adjusted $31.5 billion on public K-12 education; by 2009 that had ballooned to $82.9 billion.

On a per-pupil basis, in 1970 the feds spent $435 per student; by 2006 -- the latest year with available data -- it was $1,015, a 133 percent increase. Real, overall, per-pupil spending (federal, state and local) rose from $5,593 in 1970 to $12,463 in 2006.

What do we have to show for this?

Since the early 1970s, scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress have been stagnant for 17-year-olds. In 1973 the average math score was 304 (out of 500); in 2008 it was just 306.

In reading, the 1971 average was 285; in 2008 it was up a single point, hitting 286.
In the 2008-09 academic years, Washington spent roughly $83 billion on K-12 education and $37 billion on higher education. Add those together and you get $120 billion, a sum that's doing no educational good and, therefore, leaves no excuse for not applying it to our $14 trillion debt, says McCluskey.

States Deficit Spending : Unions/Healthcare/Pensions

With most states running a deficit and into the future, one still has to wonder just what the leaders where thinking when they spent more each year than they took in in revenue. Why would anyone do that?

Unions did it so they could fund Democrat campaign candidates - taking retirement funds of the workers and large shares of dues to do it. Now they are all in trouble. And where are they all headed, of course, the average taxpayer that saved their money so they would have it when they retire.

But hey, why cry over this problem, what better way to spend our retirement money than to help out the unions and federal workers.

Where Did the States Go Wrong?
Source: David Wessel, "What Sent States' Fiscal Picture into a Tailspin?" Wall Street Journal, January 27, 2011.

There are several reasons for state governments' fiscal woes, says the Wall Street Journal.

The recession:
The deep and long recession devastated tax revenue --in early 2009, state and local tax revenue combined were down 11 percent from year-earlier levels. Despite an improving U.S. economy, tax receipts at the state level remain 12 percent below prerecession peaks.

The boom:
In the good times, governments enjoyed and spent a tax windfall; state and local tax revenue rose 36 percent in the five years before the bust. Going into the recession, spending exceeded the revenue that states and localities can expect to collect in normal times.

Health care:
In 1978, health spending accounted for 12 percent of state and local spending.
Twenty years later it was 20 percent of much-larger budgets. Medicaid accounts for more than $1 in every $5 of state spending, more than states spend on elementary and secondary education.

States and localities began funding their pensions more soundly, but then a long bull market led management and unions to count on super-charged stock market returns to cover the future costs. Stock market busts of the early and late 2000s show the downsides of that strategy.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

ObamaCare Waivers Favor Unions - Who Knew?

Obama is returning the favor from the unions that gave him hundreds of millions of dollars for his elections - think the union retirement funds that are broke and how they got that way.

Don't you feel good about having to use your tax dollars to help out the unions that put Obama in office, using your hard earned money to make sure you don't prosper.

Now they want more of our tax dollars to refund the pension funds so they can use it again in 2012 to get Obama reelected.

Unions Get Good Deal under ObamaCare Waivers
Source: David Freddoso, "Unions make up 40 Percent of Employees Exempted from ObamaCare," Washington Examiner, January 27, 2011.

The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week it had granted more than 500 new waivers to ObamaCare's requirement that health plans have annual limits of no less than $750,000, reports the Washington Examiner.

The reason these exemptions from the law are needed is that ObamaCare forces all health insurance consumers to overinsure themselves and pay high premiums as a result.
Without the waivers, many companies, nonprofits and unions would simply drop their health plans.

As of 2014, the waivers will no longer be available.

It is worth noting that there are 166 union benefits funds now exempted from this requirement, which account for about 40 percent of the exempted workers, says the Examiner.

Derivatives Explained : Selling Debt

If you didn't understand what a Derivative was before, you will now, and isn't pretty. This is what got us into the mess we are in now, i.e. the housing collapse. Thank you Barney Frank and Chris Dodd!! Liberal Progressive politics at it's best.

Understanding Derivatives -- A Primer

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later. Heidi keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans).

Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit . By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral!!! At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINK BONDS. These "securities" then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as "AAA Secured Bonds" really are debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb!!!, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi. Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Heidi's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINK BOND prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community. The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from the government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, nondrinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar. Now do you understand?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Obama Stimulus : Huge Failure - Who Knew?

Is this news? But wait - it was only a trillion dollars and trillions more in every year from now on so why worry? Obama says all we need to fix our economy is spend more, we haven't spent enough up to now to make a difference.

What is he talking about? I know - he's a liberal socialist progressive which means he takes from the productive and gives to the unproductive.

What Stimulus?

A new report from Stanford University economists John Cogan and John Taylor says, "There was little if any net stimulus," resulting from President Obama's $862 billion package.

Worse, say the authors, the White House should have known it would not work. "The irony," they write, "is that basic economic theory and practical experience predicted this would happen."

But why the stimulus didn't work is a little more complex. The authors break down the three kinds of Keynesian stimulus packages.

  • In one, government gives money to consumers and hopes they spend it.
  • In another, the federal government directly buys goods and services, ranging from computers to building infrastructure.
  • In the third, government hands money to state and local governments to spend.

The $862 billion stimulus package passed by Congress and signed into law by the president tried to do all three things. Unfortunately, none of them worked, says Investor's Business Daily.

  • In the case of money handed over to consumers, "It went to pay down some debt or was simply saved rather than spent on consumption."
  • At the federal level, the stimulus generated just $20 billion in added government purchases, about 3 present of the total spent;of that amount, only $4 billion was spent on infrastructure.
  • Then there were the grants to state and local governments, which were expected to get local economies revving again, but were unsuccessful, according to Cogan and Taylor.

Source: "The Economic Stimulus That Wasn't," Investor's Business Daily, January 25, 2011.