Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wind Energy Falls Short, AGAIN!

Why will it take a total catastrophe in this country to wake up the public to the fact 'green' energy is not a reliable alternative to fossil fuel at this time? Report after report have shown wind and solar can not supply even small communities with adequate power under all conditions.

And with the EPA now forcing new regulations on the coal industry that will effectively reduce the number of plants by 10% in the near future, just how do we supply our homes and industry with enough power to make our economy, and life itself, sustainable?

Just where is the common sense? Do these advocates of a dream society, where all things happen by proclamation, have some kind of disease that has affected their powers of rational thought? Are these people genetically different from the rest of us?

Is it possible to say the sun will not come up in the East and therefore it won't just because we proclaim it won't or pass some regulation saying it shouldn't?

Texas Wind Energy Fails, Again
Source: Robert Bryce, "Texas Wind Energy Fails, Again," National Review, August 29, 2011.

Last Wednesday brought yet another unspeakably hot day to Texas and, alas, it was yet another day when wind energy failed the state's consumers, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Texas has 10,135 megawatts of installed wind-generation capacity, which is nearly three times as much as any other state. And yet, last week, when the state's electricity demand hit 66,552 megawatts, all of the state's wind turbines mustered just 880 megawatts of power when electricity was needed the most.

Put another way, even though wind turbines account for about 10 percent of Texas' 103,000 megawatts of summer electricity-generation capacity, wind energy was able to provide just 1.3 percent of the juice the state needed last Wednesday afternoon.

None of this should be surprising.

For years, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) has counted just 8.7 percent of the state's installed wind-generation capacity as "dependable capacity at peak."
What happened last week? Just 880 megawatts out of 10,135 megawatts of wind capacity -- 8.68 percent -- was actually moving electrons when consumers needed those electrons the most.
Consider what might be happening had the state kept the $6.79 billion it's now spending on wind-energy transmission lines and instead allocated it to new natural-gas-fired generators.
The latest data from the Energy Information Administration show that building a megawatt of new wind capacity costs $2.43 million -- up 21 percent over the year-earlier costs -- while a new megawatt of gas-fired capacity costs a bit less than $1 million, a drop of 3 percent from year-earlier estimates.

Under that scenario, Texas could have built 6,900 megawatts of new gas-fired capacity for what the state is now spending on wind-related transmission lines alone.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gas Prices Rise to Force 'Fundamental' Change

Gas prices are high for several reasons not mentioned here. The basic reason is there are those in our government that want to slow the growth of America as they see the United States as dominating the world populations with it's success. This is completely unacceptable to these people.

Secondly, by having gas prices rise to levels higher that the average family can comfortably afford causes the family to stay closer to home, that is, reduce the tendency to move to different location for new jobs or just for a better life. There are already plans for anyone wanting to travel from state to state to have travel permits. To anyone over the age of forty and has a sense of history, this will have a familiar ring.

This, the elites figure, will reduce gas consumption, forcing prices higher, and make 'green' energy a more plausible alternative. Also, by forcing people to stay in one spot, restricting freedom of movement, they believe it will be easier to control the population.

Does this sound like Orwell's 1984? The Bolshevik's of 1917? It should. It is. fundamental

What Drives Gas Prices?
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "What Drives Gas Prices: Cartels, Speculators, or Supply and Demand?" American Enterprise Institute, August 2011.

For much of the summer, high gasoline prices have been in the news. As of this writing, the national average gasoline price per gallon hovered around $3.50. The public is unhappy with these high gas prices, and politicians are scrambling to find ways to reduce the pain -- or, failing that, to publicly shoot the messenger by investigating, penalizing or punitively taxing oil companies.

In a new paper, Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, explores the true causes of oil price fluctuation and explains how policymakers can help lower gasoline prices. Key points in Green's paper include:

High gas prices are inducing consumers to tighten their belts and politicians to call for taxes on oil companies.

About 85 percent of oil price hikes are due to supply and demand, and the remaining 15 percent is likely attributable to environment-conscious regulations.

To help lower gas prices and promote domestic employment and trade benefits in the future, policymakers should facilitate drilling offshore and in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and lift boutique-fuel requirements.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Health Care Through Free Markets

This is a great idea - let the free market do the job that everyone knows the government can't do - and that is provide health care.

With states in control, Paul Ryan's plan of block grants, the people have a much better chance of getting the health care they want. And the best thing for everyone to know is most people are not idiots, they do care about good health care for them selves and for those that can't provide for themselves.

ObamaCare, get out of our lives!

Physician-Owned Hospitals
A competitive health care market is vital to ensure high quality, cost effective health care for patients. Some of the most competitive participants in the health market in recent years have been physician-owned hospitals (POHs), says Spencer Harris, a health care policy analyst, and Brad Zarin, a research associate, with the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
These facilities provide broad consumer choice, cutting-edge innovation and equipment, high quality of care and high patient satisfaction.
This added competition from POHs has been a wakeup call for some general hospitals, forcing them to innovate to stay competitive.
However, provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) have essentially eliminated future expansion of POHs.
By effectively removing this competition from the marketplace, access to high quality health care for patients will be diminished.
The prohibition in the PPACA against physician-ownership of hospitals removes a clear source of competition to non-physician owned hospitals. As a result, the law constricts the economic effectiveness of the physician-owned facilities. Just as the free market has served us well in so many other sectors of the American economy, so free market solutions should remain a major force for more effective delivery of health care services as well, say Harris and Zarin.
Source: Spencer Harris and Brad Zarin, "Physician-Owned Hospitals," Texas Public Policy Foundation, August 2011.

States Fight to Survive Meltdown : Some are Winning

I disagree with the conclusion 'all states face meltdown in the foreseeable future'. Example, Wisconsin has a new budget that is balanced and it was done in one year. Are the problems facing the state solved, no. But the real problem solver here is that the people running the state now recognized that the state 'actually' has a problem.

For the past 10 years Wisconsin was totally controlled by liberal Democrats and the problem of debt was ignored. The over riding solution was 'live large now, let someone else fix the problems later', that is, 'take the money and run'. They did just that and nearly drove the State of Wisconsin into the ground.

Well, later is here and the Walker administration, Conservative Republican, has the solution.

The Fiscal Health of U.S. States
Source: Jeffrey Miron, "The Fiscal Health of U.S. States," Mercatus Center, August 2011.

State and local governments experienced large budget shortfalls during the recent recession, and states share the burden of rising Medicaid expenditures. Jeffrey Miron, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and director of undergraduate studies in the department of economics at Harvard University, examines the fiscal health of the 50 U.S. states and finds that the popular perception that some states are fiscal basket cases while others are models of fiscal rectitude is accurate only in the short term; over a longer horizon, all states are in danger of fiscal meltdown.

Miron reaches five major conclusions: State government finances are not on a stable path; if spending patterns continue to follow those of recent decades, the ratio of state debt to output will increase without bound.

The key driver of increasing state and local expenditures is health care costs, especially Medicaid and subsidies for health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2009. ( Read this a ObamaCare )

States have large implicit debts for unfunded pension liabilities, making their net debt positions substantially worse than official debt statistics indicate. If spending trends continue and tax revenues remain near their historical levels relative to output, most states will reach dangerous ratios of debt to gross domestic product within 20 to 30 years.

States differ in their degrees of fiscal imbalance, but the overriding fact is that all states face fiscal meltdown in the foreseeable future.

Green Energy Subside Cuts Saves Billions

I like this - just cutting Ethanol would bring in billions, let alone all the money wasted on solar and wind generation.

"Green Scissors" Proposes Billions in Cuts to Federal Giveaways
Source: "'Green Scissors' Proposes Hundreds of Billions in Cuts to Federal Giveaways," Environment News Service, August 24, 2011. Eli Lehrer, Autumn Hanna, Benjamin Schreiber and Tyson Slocum, "Green Scissors 2011: Cutting Wasteful and Environmentally Harmful Spending," Green Scissors Coalition, August 2011.

Eliminating $380 billion in subsidies to industries that damage the environment could go a long way toward resolving U.S. budget challenges, a coalition of groups from across the political spectrum said in a new study, reports the Environment News Service.

The report, "Green Scissors 2011," identifies cuts to "wasteful spending that harms the environment," that would save $380 billion over five years. That amounts to about a quarter of the savings the new congressional Super Committee has been charged with achieving, in half the time, the groups point out.

The groups propose cutting many fossil fuel, nuclear and alternative energy subsidies.
Other targets include giveaways of publicly-owned timber, precious metals, oil and natural gas; "poorly conceived" road projects; and a host of "questionable" water projects planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The three other organizations behind Green Scissors 2011 are the environmental group Friends of the Earth, consumer watchdog Public Citizen and free market think tank the Heartland Institute.

As proposed in the report, the federal government could end these programs and save the United States a significant amount of money:

Highway Trust Fund: $72 billion for general revenue transfers.
Crop insurance: $30 billion.
Oil and gas royalty relief: $4.82 billion.

The programs and policies identified in the report not only "cost Americans up front, but also create additional financial liabilities down the road and threaten our nation's fragile land, air and water," the groups warn.

Finland's Schools Succeed : Teachers Unions?

The most important question left out here is, does Finland have a national union representing the teachers?

Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?
Source: Lynnell Hancock, "Why Are Finland's Schools Successful?" Smithsonian Magazine, September 2011.

The transformation of Finland's education system began some 40 years ago as a key part of the country's economic recovery plan. Educators had little idea it was so successful until 2000, when the first results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), a standardized test given to 15-year-olds in more than 40 global venues, revealed Finnish youth to be the best young readers in the world. Three years later, they led in math, says Smithsonian Magazine.

By 2006, Finland was first out of 57 countries (and a few cities) in science.

In the 2009 PISA scores released last year, the nation came in second in science, third in reading and sixth in math among nearly half a million students worldwide.
By contrast, the United States has muddled along in the middle for the past decade.
Finland's schools were not always a wonder. Until the late 1960s, most children left public school after six years and only the privileged or lucky got a quality education.

In 1963, the Finnish Parliament decided public schools would be organized into one system of comprehensive schools for ages 7 through 16.
Teachers from all over the nation contributed to a national curriculum that provided guidelines, not prescriptions, and resources were distributed equally.

The second critical decision came in 1979, when reformers required that every teacher earn a fifth-year master's degree in theory and practice at one of eight state universities.
From then on, teachers were effectively granted equal status with doctors and lawyers.

By the mid-1980s, a final set of initiatives shook the classrooms free from the last vestiges of top-down regulation and control over policies shifted to town councils. There are no mandated standardized tests in Finland, apart from one exam at the end of students' senior year in high school. There are no rankings, no comparisons or competition between students, schools or regions.

Ninety-three percent of Finns graduate from academic or vocational high schools, 17.5 percentage points higher than the United States, and 66 percent go on to higher education, the highest rate in the European Union. Yet Finland spends about 30 percent less than the United States.

Teachers in Finland also spend fewer hours at school each day and spend less time in classrooms than American teachers.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Progressive's Nanny State Agenda Attacks Salt?

Why would anyone, with a shred of common sense, believe anything that comes from the main stream media without first checking the validity?

No matter what the subject, if it's proclaimed as fact in the media, or from our progressive government, rest assured it probably is not true. The "new" media uses misinformation as a tool to advance it's progressive liberal left agenda. An agenda that is in lock step with Democrats and socialists everywhere.

End the War on Salt
Source: Luke Pelican and Jacqueline Otto, "Let's Put a Stop to the War on Salt," Fox News, August 15, 2011.

The Council of Better Business Bureaus recently rolled out new criteria for reducing the sodium, sugar and fat in children's food and beverages. Seventeen companies are participating in the initiative, including the Campbell Soup Company, General Mills and Kraft Foods.

Many food manufacturers are working to preempt regulation by reducing the sodium content in their products at considerable cost -- costs that are being passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices, say Luke Pelican, a Google Policy Fellow, and Jacqueline Otto, a research assistant, at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

Health writer Melinda Wenner Moyer has called for an end to the "war on salt," saying there is no conclusive evidence to warrant sweeping and intrusive mandates to reduce or eliminate salt from foods. Moyer cites a 2011 study that found "no strong evidence that cutting salt intake reduces the risk for heart attacks, strokes or death in people with normal or high blood pressure." And scientists with the European Project on Genes in Hypertension recently published the results of another study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggesting an inverse correlation between sodium consumption and heart-disease deaths.

One of the main driving forces behind the anti-salt crusade is a 1970s study that showed a high salt diet caused high blood pressure in rats. This study, however, made the common fallacy of mistaking correlation for causation and failed to control or account for myriad additional variables.

In reality, each person's individual risk of heart disease is based on many factors, including lifestyle, genetics and access to health care. Diet, including sodium consumption, is only one of many factors. It is foolhardy for politicians to lump all individual cases together and make prescriptions for society at large that will limit individual choice and raise our cost of living. The European Project on Genes agrees, noting their conclusions "do not support the current recommendations of a generalized and indiscriminate reduction of salt intake at the population level."

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Oil Production Strangled : A Country in Decline

As stated before here, it's all about changing America "fundamentally". By reducing our economic development, the progressive liberal Democrats believe they can change our entire way of life through the strangulation of industrial productivity. Stop the means of industrial production, crush the American dream.

Crushing the means of Capitalism to exist by eliminating the very source of economic expansion, fossil fuels, the progressives' agenda is to convince the general public 'green' energy is the wave of the future even though they know it's a lie. Wind, solar and bio-fuel will never, ever be a resource capable of providing enough energy to power our way of life.

Reality check! What's really going here? Never forget, this is all about power and the ultimate control of everything in this country being put into the hands of few elites that believe they know what's best for all of us. This has always been the dream of the progressive lift in this country and now, under the fist of Obama and his minions, they believe their time is now.

Uncertainty Causes Oil Rigs to Flee
Source: "Rigged For Failure," Investor's Business Daily, August 24, 2011.

A year ago, three oil rigs fled the Gulf of Mexico for better opportunities abroad. Now, it's 10. Make no mistake, the toll is rising on a business environment marked by the Obama administration's uncertainty, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

The massive planning, capital, project management and luck required to produce energy are uncertain enough, but the climate of government caprice makes it even worse. The 2010 BP oil spill proved Obama's anti-energy production talk was more than rhetoric -- it was policy.
It started to create uncertainty when the president arbitrarily demanded $20 billion from BP to set up a cleanup fund for its spill in April last year.

Then the president issued an arbitrary moratorium on offshore drilling, idling rigs and throwing hundreds of thousands of Americans out of work. When a court ordered him to stop, he played three-card monte with the energy industry with an unannounced but real permit moratorium until another judge stopped him.

Meanwhile, lease sales hit their lowest level since 1958.

The president finally set an auction for December 14. But the Interior Department nearly tripled the minimum bid price for deepwater leases in the Gulf of Mexico from $37.50 an acre to $100 an acre. Why the big increase? More regulators, of course.

Meanwhile, even companies that got permits years ago can have them revoked for minor irregularities. This happened to Exxon Mobil, which spent $300 million to make a billion-barrel discovery of oil, only to have its permit pulled on a technicality. It's now suing.

With such uncertainty, it's no wonder that oil producers -- which create thousands of high-paying jobs -- are heading for places like the Congo. The only certainty now is uncertainty. Until that stops, more rigs will flee, says IBD.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Pension Funds Risked Market Rise but Lost Large

No matter how one looks at the union pension fund disaster, it comes down to how the union management raided the funds in the past to support their political agenda.

Now they want the taxpayers to pick up the tab just like always. The problem is the taxpayer has suddenly awaken to this theft and have said no more.

Witness the new balanced budget in Wisconsin that has changed the entire landscape for union fund raising as just the beginning of the end for unions automatically stealing funds from the employees and the taxpayers.

Pension Fund Risks in Wild Market
Source: E.J. McMahon and Steven Malanga, "Pension Fund Risks in Wild Market," Politico, August 19, 2011.

Though union leaders and their political supporters would seize on every upward market move to proclaim the end of the pension crisis, the recent Wall Street upheaval should remind taxpayers that states and cities still need fundamental pension reform to lower the long-term risks for taxpayers and bring pension costs under control, say E.J. McMahon and Steven Malanga, senior fellows at the Manhattan Institute.Because so many government pension systems are underfunded, their managers have been chasing high returns by betting heavily on volatile investments like stocks, producing wild swings in the value of the funds' assets. Even with the run-up in the market earlier this year, New York's State and Local Pension Fund assets were still some $9 billion lower than their peak in 2007.
Those assets have now declined by perhaps another $10 billion to $15 billion in the current market debacle. Meanwhile, even as the fund struggles to get back to 2007 levels, annual benefits payments to retired workers have grown $2 billion in the last four years -- more than $400 million a year.
Union leaders and their advocates do understand the risks in the stock market. They just want taxpayers to bear it. That's why it's important not to buy into claims that just a few more good quarters in the stock market could bail out most state and local pension systems.

In fact, even as pension funds were proclaiming that their assets were rising earlier this year, they were sending out bigger bills for pension contributions to cities and states, as they have been doing for years now, say McMahon and Malanga.

Oil Shale to Triple Gas/Oil production

In the face of even the EPA saying that 'fracking' is safe tells us all that the bases for the environmentalists objections are agenda driven, they have nothing to do with the environment.

Unfounded Fears Threaten Energy Success Story

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently forecast that natural gas production from five American shale reserves would double in five years and triple in 20. These U.S. sources of gas can transform America's energy outlook, provided lawmakers don't interfere with the process, says Lawrence J. McQuillan, director of business and economic studies at the Pacific Research Institute.

Shale formations created from sea basins millions of years ago have trapped oil and gas within them; only in the past century did scientists discover how to unlock them.

With hydraulic fracturing, water pressure is used to open up spaces in the rock underground, which allows oil and gas to escape and be brought to the surface. Thanks to this process, the United States now has a potential supply of natural gas for the next century. That's something environmentalists should cheer, because natural gas has lower carbon content than many other energy sources.

Instead, environmentalists are using scare tactics to end hydraulic fracturing in America.

At the heart of the controversy is the concern that hydrofracking will contaminate the nation's drinking water. The procedures for protecting water supplies are well established and effective. Casing, in the form of steel pipe, is put into place at the top of a well in order to protect groundwater. If a well needs to be drilled deeper, more casing is mounted so that groundwater continues to be shielded.

The mixture used to fracture shale is a benign blend of 90 percent water, 9.5 percent sand and 0.5 percent chemicals, mostly common ones such as sodium chloride (table salt) and citric acid (think orange juice).

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulators have studied the issue; in 2004 the EPA concluded there were no significant environmental risks from hydrofracking.

The energy from hydrofracking can transform the U.S. energy outlook for a century. Let's not allow groundless fears to destroy our future, says McQuillan.

Source: Lawrence J. McQuillan, "Unfounded Fears Threaten Energy Success Story," San Francisco Chronicle, August 16, 2011.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Green Energy Subsides A Waste of Money

Green energy is a waste of energy resources. They have little or no impact on demand. The fact that they need huge subsides is fact enough they are not a solution to our energy needs.

The open market will decide what energy resource is best for our economy and the demand of it's users. This has always been the case and will be for the foreseeable future.

Where Federal Energy Subsidies Really Go
Source: Robert L. Bradley, Jr., "Where Federal Energy Subsidies Really Go," Forbes, August 15, 2011. "Direct Federal Financial Interventions and Subsidies in Energy in Fiscal Year 2010," Energy Information Administration, July 2011.

A new report from the Department of Energy's research arm, the Energy Information Administration shows that "renewable" energy firms are heavily dependent on government support, says Robert L. Bradley, Jr., the CEO and founder of the Institute for Energy Research.

The federal government handed out $37.2 billion in direct energy subsidies in 2010, an increase of more than $19 billion over 2007.

Of that $19 billion increase, additional subsidies for renewables amounted to more than $9 billion, a 186 percent increase.

Subsidies for renewables now total $14.7 billion.

Wind power was the biggest recipient of federal energy dollars. Last year, this sector took in almost $5 billion in subsidies -- a more-than-tenfold increase from 2007.

Meanwhile, solar energy subsidies increased six times over the same period, from $179 million to $1.13 billion.

And biofuels (think ethanol) saw a jump from $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Funneling money into renewables is certainly politically popular. But, at the end of the day, what exactly do green firms have to show for all that money? The truth is, not much. Wind power, for example, provides a paltry 1.2 percent of total domestic energy production. That's an increase of just 0.7 percent since 2007, despite billions of dollars in taxpayer resources.

If wind or solar or biofuels truly represent a revolution in American energy, that's great -- but let them compete on the open market, says Bradley.

Green Energy Costs Wasted

The best way to find out just how effective wind energy will be as a substitute for fossil fuel energy generation, will be to shut down all coal, gas and nuclear fired plants that are in close proximity. This way the citizens that have some notion wind power can save the day will have second thoughts as they freeze in the winter, roast in the summer and have to read the paper by the fire place.

Estimates have wind, solar and bio-fuel generating 15% of our energy needs by 2025. The cost difference will triple.

According to the eco-fascists wanting to relive the 1800's, this is acceptable. Of course, when the deaths start to piling up, the bearded wonders will be nowhere to be found. If they can be found, their very existence will be brought into question.

Wind Power Doesn't Work When Needed Most
Source: Robert Bryce, "The Wind-Energy Myth: The Claims for this 'Green' Source of Energy Wither in the Texas Heat," National Review, August 19, 2011.

Wind energy turbines are not as effective at reducing carbon emissions as people have hoped.

The current Texas summer has been extraordinarily hot, and the state's vast herd of turbines proved incapable of producing any serious amount of power, says Robert Bryce, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

On August 2, one of the hottest days of the summer in Texas and by no means an anomaly, wind energy was able to provide only about 2.2 percent of the total power demand even though the installed capacity of Texas's wind turbines theoretically equals nearly 15 percent of peak demand.

When considering that $17 billion has been spent installing wind turbines in Texas and that another $8 billion has been allocated for transmission lines to carry the electricity generated by the turbines to distant cities, the wind turbines haven't been the best use of taxpayer money.
That money could have been better spent on 5,000 megawatts of highly reliable nuclear generation capacity or as much as 25,000 megawatts of natural-gas-fired capacity.

Even though wind energy is being called an alternative to conventional electricity by its proponents, its output is generally low when demand is at its highest. The incurable intermittency and extreme variability of wind energy requires utilities and grid operators to continue relying on conventional sources of generation like coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Social Security, Disability Going Broke!

Maybe the government should take a concerned look at the fraud that is driving the cost out of sight. Every government program has fraud as they are so huge and uncaring, but the possibility of someone taking advantage of this confusion with false claims is very good.

Maybe what we need is a whole new department in the government dedicated to one thing only, investigating fraud in government programs. How to pay for this new department is easy, shut down the department of energy and the department of education, cut back the EPA and restructure the state department as well as the justice department.

Just think of the possibilities for savings in just the restructuring alone.

Social Security Disability on Verge of Insolvency
Source: Stephen Ohlemacher, "Social Security Disability on Verge of Insolvency," Associated Press, August 22, 2011. "CBO's 2011 Long-Term Social Security Projections," Congressional Budget Office, August 2011.

Laid-off workers and aging baby boomers are flooding Social Security's disability program with benefit claims, pushing the financially strapped system toward the brink of insolvency, reports the Associated Press. Applications are up nearly 50 percent over a decade ago as people with disabilities lose their jobs and can't find new ones in an economy that has shed nearly 7 million jobs.

The stampede for benefits is adding to a growing backlog of applicants -- many wait two years or more before their cases are resolved -- and worsening the financial problems of a program that's been running in the red for years.

New congressional estimates say the trust fund that supports Social Security disability will run out of money by 2017, leaving the program unable to pay full benefits, unless Congress acts.
About two decades later, Social Security's much larger retirement fund is projected to run dry, too, leaving it unable to pay full benefits as well.

The trustees who oversee Social Security are urging Congress to shore up the disability system by reallocating money from the retirement program, just as lawmakers did in 1994. If Congress does not act, the disability program will collect only enough payroll taxes to pay about 85 percent of benefits after the trust fund is exhausted in 2017.
Even if Congress does act, the combined retirement and disability trust funds are projected to run out of money in 2036, the trustees say.

The new congressional report estimates the combined fund would run out of money in 2038.
At that point, the combined programs would collect enough in payroll taxes to pay about three-fourths of benefits.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Energy Dependence Doubled by Chinese

Here is just another disaster waiting to happen to our energy supply - not that solar energy is much of a factor, yet, but still the Chinese are using their resources to extract as much capital as possible from everyone else. In it's self, not a bad idea for them as we would do the same thing if it were our resource.

But in the face of our energy demand, that increases every year for manufacturing and personal use, Obama and his kind demand we stop coal production, stop drilling for oil and refuse to allow more nuclear power plants or trying to shut down the plants we have now have in favor of "green" energy sources. These sources, now or in the future, do not supply anywhere near our demand for energy.

It seem it doesn't matter what happens to our economy as long as Barack Obama's agenda is pushed forward. This, of course, is not lost on the Chinese.

Rare Earth Dependence
Source: H. Sterling Burnett, "Rare Earth Dependence," Public Broadcasting, August 19, 2011.

Increasing the United States' reliance on a "clean" energy, as touted by President Obama, is a risky policy that leaves Americans dependent on China for supplies of critical energy resources, says H. Sterling Burnett a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Key components of every green energy technology -- from wind turbines to high-tech batteries -- are made from of a small class of minerals known as the rare earth elements, and other rare minerals. These elements are abundant, but, for the near future, they are found in economically exploitable concentrations only in the People's Republic of China.

With 97 percent of the global market, China has a de facto monopoly on the trade in these rare elements. And China has already shown itself willing to use its virtual monopoly on rare earths to extract favorable political outcomes from foreign nations.

The production of solar cells relies on the rare element tellurium. However, the only tellurium mine on Earth is in China. As a result, China is increasingly dominating the market for solar manufacturing.

In 2003, China produced only 1 percent of the world's solar panels but by 2009 its share rose to 43 percent. By contrast, since 2003, U.S. production of solar panels fell from 14 percent to just four percent of the world's total. China is increasingly choosing to sell finished green products to the world, rather than exporting its rare earths in raw form. It has eliminated export tax rebates for rare earth elements while increasing the export taxes to as much as 25 percent.

Further, China decreased its export quota by 40 percent between 2009 and 2010.
The push to adopt rare earth-powered energy technologies involves swapping one form of dependence for a much more restrictive one, says Burnett.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Millionaries Disappearing Along with Revenues

Obama's attack on the wealthy is no accident - it's about class warfare, it's about dividing the country for political gain. It's about causing chaos and where this confusion among the people they become easier to control with misinformation and out right lies.

Fortunately for the country, a large and ever growing number of citizens have become aware of this deception and are fighting back. All anyone has to do to see the results of this is the elections in Wisconsin last November and the riots that followed at the capital.

Again, the people see the catastrophic disaster that is coming our way brought on by the Obama administration. The people see this calamity as another Katrina, but this time the entire country with be involved. As you will remember, New Orleans was governed by progressive liberal Democrats for more than 60 years, and as a result New Orleans was not prepared to defend itself. The governor and the city mayor both knew what to do, they did nothing to stop the disaster.

Now the entire country is under assault from the liberal progressive Democrats and we are being stripped our defenses.

Millionaires Go Missing
Source: "Millionaires Go Missing," Wall Street Journal, August 17, 2011.

In 2007, 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. In 2009, there were only 237,000 such filers, a decline of 39 percent. Almost four of 10 millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42 percent, says the Wall Street Journal.

Those with $10 million or more in reported income fell to 8,274 from 18,394 in 2007, a 55 percent drop. As a result, their tax payments tanked by 51 percent.

These disappearing millionaires go a long way toward explaining why federal tax revenues have sunk to 15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in recent years. The loss of millionaires accounts for at least $130 billion of the higher federal budget deficit in 2009.

But the millionaires who are left still pay a mountain of tax.

Those who make $1 million accounted for about 0.2 percent of all tax returns but paid 20.4 percent of income taxes in 2009.

Those with adjusted gross income above $200,000 a year were just under 3 percent of tax filers but paid 50.1 percent of the $866 billion in total personal income taxes.

Before the recession, the $200,000 income group paid 54.5 percent of the income tax. This means the top 3 percent paid more than the bottom 97 percent, yet the 3 percent are the people that President Obama claims don't pay their fair share.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

College Education Not for Everyone

There is an easy way to solve this problem, only those that can pass the test get into college. The rest that want get but can't pass the entrance exam have to got to a junior college to prepare.

Now how simple is that. Oh wait, colleges would lose millions of dollars and have to lay off professors. Can't have that. After all, what would an elite do without the secure environment of the university? Actually work for a living? Compete with ordinary low-lifes for a job? Gasp!

Scores Show Student's Aren't Ready for College
Source: Ben Wolfgang, "Scores Show Students Aren't Ready for College," Washington Times, August 17, 2011.

Three out of four high school graduates aren't fully prepared for college and likely need to take at least one remedial class, according to the latest annual survey from the nonprofit testing organization ACT, which measured half of the nation's high school seniors in English, math, reading and science proficiency, reports the Washington Times.

Only 25 percent cleared all of ACT's college preparedness benchmarks, while 75 percent likely will spend part of their freshman year brushing up on high school-level course work.
The 2011 class is best prepared for college-level English courses, with 73 percent clearing the bar in that subject.

Students are most likely to need remedial classes in science and math, the report says.
While often frustrating for professors who are forced to spend a semester teaching concepts their students should have learned by the end of 12th grade, remedial classes also carry more serious consequence.

Students are much more likely to drop out of college if they feel that they are simply repeating high school, says Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Taxpayers also suffer, Mr. Wise says, by "paying twice" for students to take high school-level classes again, since most remedial work doesn't count toward college graduation.

Enviro Crazies Wrong Again : Styrofoam Cup

The bigger they are the harder they fall - the environmentalist nutjobs will say anything to get noticed and become relevant. More importantly, what they say never has to be true, only show that they care about the environment, mother earth. Who can be against mother earth?

We all know how that 'touchy feely' thing goes, they mean well, it's just this time it 'didn't work out as we planned'. The definition of 'didn't work out as planned' means, nobody bought the lie.

Activists Wrong about Styrofoam Cups
Source: Angela Logomasini, "Fast Food Outlet in Pickle as Activists Attack Foam Cup," Pajamas Media, August 16, 2011.

Activists have long claimed that foam cups are less energy efficient than paper cups because they were not recycled as much. More recently, they have levied the charge that the cups are dangerous because they are made with a supposed carcinogenic chemical -- styrene. They are wrong on both counts, says Angela Logomasini, director of risk and environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

First consider the impact on energy usage. Earlier this year, the research group Franklin Associates released findings from their lifecycle assessment of polystyrene packaging and alternative paper products. Such assessments attempt to measure the impact that products have on the environment during their entire lifetime -- from cradle to grave.

The company found that the average 16-ounce polystyrene cup uses a third less energy, produces 50 percent less solid waste by volume, and releases a third less of greenhouse gases than does a 16-ounce paper cup with a sleeve.

Over their lifecycles, polystyrene packaging products require 20 to 30 percent less water than do paper alternatives.

Ironically, there are additional adverse environmental impacts resulting from the politically correct substitution of foam cups. Specifically, the elimination of foam cups causes some people to "double cup," placing one paper cup within another to prevent burning their hands.
According to Franklin Associates, "double-cupping" results in over twice as much energy and solid waste volume, and over five times as much solid waste by weight.

It also results in nearly twice as much greenhouse gas emissions as the use of a single polystyrene cup.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Regulatory Rules Explode Under Obama!

This is just insane! It's like the administration of Barack Obama has only one thing in mind and that is to bring America to look like Europe, a socialist democracy run by elites from the ruling classes.

Who would ever have thought it would come to this in America? Who voted for this guy in the White House? Why would 40% of this country still say they approve of his accomplishments?

Regulatory Agency Boom
Source: John Merline, "Regulation Business, Jobs Booming Under Obama," Investor's Business Daily, August 15, 2011.

Under President Obama, while the economy is struggling to grow and create jobs, the federal regulatory business is booming, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Regulatory agencies have seen their combined budgets grow a healthy 16 percent since 2008, topping $54 billion, according to the annual "Regulator's Budget," compiled by George Washington University and Washington University in St. Louis.

That's at a time when the overall economy grew a paltry 5 percent. Meanwhile, employment at these agencies has climbed 13 percent since Obama took office to more than 281,000, while private-sector jobs shrank by 5.6 percent.

Michael Mandel, chief economic strategist at the Progressive Policy Institute, found that between March 2010 and March 2011 federal regulatory jobs climbed faster than either private jobs or overall government jobs. Regulatory production is way up, too, if measured by the number of rules federal agencies churn out.

The Obama administration imposed 75 new major rules in its first 26 months, costing the private sector more than $40 billion, according to a Heritage Foundation study.
The number of pages in the Federal Register -- where all new rules must be published and which serves as proxy of regulatory activity -- jumped 18 percent in 2010.

This July, regulators imposed a total of 379 new rules that will cost more than $9.5 billion, according to an analysis by Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo. And much more is on the way. The Federal Register notes that more than 4,200 regulations are in the pipeline, says IBD. But what's good for regulators isn't necessarily good for the private sector, as compliance burdens impose ever-increasing costs on businesses.

By 2008, the cost of complying with federal rules and regulations already exceeded $1.75 trillion a year, according to a 2010 study issued by the Small Business Administration.
Worse, the SBA found that small companies, which account for most of America's new jobs, spend 36 percent more per employee to comply with these rules than larger firms.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Leadership Fundamentally Based on Wisdom

Barack Obama needs to understand that life isn't based on power and control of others. Obama thought he had to "change fundamentally" how America was structured as fast as he could before the population woke up to see just what he was doing and put a stop to his ambitions.

The American citizens are "fundamentally" based on the premise of individual freedom which is the very bed rock of our Constitution founded 235 years ago by individuals escaping from the very system that Obama wants to force us all into today.

"Progress has little to do with speed, but much with direction". (Author unknown)

"Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gets understanding, for the gain from it is better than gain from silver and it's profit better than gold."

Proverbs 3:13, 14

Terminat Small Business Administration

Okay - here is another government bureaucracy to get rid of along with education, energy and scaling back the EPA, interior and the state department. There are others to but this would be a good start if some politician had the guts to get the ball rolling.

Terminating the Small Business Administration
Source: Veronique de Rugy and Tad DeHaven, "Terminating the Small Business Administration," Cato Institute, August 2011.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) was created by the Small Business Act of 1953. The primary purpose of the SBA is to encourage lending to small businesses through government loan guarantees. Other SBA activities include offering direct loans for disaster recovery and helping small businesses gain government contracts, say Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, and Tad DeHaven, a budget analyst at the Cato Institute.

The SBA will cost taxpayers about $6.2 billion in 2011. Annual outlays are typically closer to $1 billion, but the SBA has suffered higher than usual losses on its guaranteed loans in recent years, so the costs imposed on taxpayers have soared.

The SBA will guarantee almost $24 billion in new loans in 2011. The share of guaranteed loans outstanding that the SBA -- and ultimately federal taxpayers -- is on the hook for is about $70 billion.

The SBA retains political support because it is a tool for policymakers to signal their support of small businesses. At the same time, SBA supporters have cultivated a myth that being against the agency is equivalent to being against small businesses. In reality, the great majority of American small businesses have thrived without government subsidies.

The SBA's lending programs benefit a relatively tiny number of businesses at the expense of taxpayers and the vast majority of businesses that do not receive government support.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Unemployment Numbers Confusing

This is very confusing as it will always be when dealing with the government. Still, it gives some idea that finding out the real number of the unemployed is nearly impossible.

One thing we do know for sure, there are a lot of people out of work and with little hope of finding a job anytime soon. Thank you progressive Democrats.

How Do Jobs Numbers Work?
Source: Philip I. Levy, "How Do Jobs Numbers Work?" American Enterprise Institute, August 9, 2011.

Americans are intensely interested in the state of the job market but trying to get a good sense of it is difficult. Without attempting a tusk-to-tail description of job statistics, here is a rough guide to the much-discussed numbers, says Philip I. Levy, a resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute.

How is the job market doing, anyway?

The latest figure for the first number shows 117,000 net new jobs in July; it comes from a monthly "Current Employment Statistics" survey of approximately 140,000 employers and their hiring.
The second number shows unemployment decreased to 9.1 percent; it comes from the monthly Current Population Survey, a sample of 60,000 households.

Why do some people say the unemployment rate paints too rosy a picture?

The two big numbers are just crude summaries of a more complicated situation.
For example, suppose someone would like to be working 40 hours per week, but can only find part-time work (say 20). Does he have a job? Yes. Is he unemployed? No.

Is it really one big labor market, from data engineers to short-order cooks?

No, those workers are not interchangeable. Nor does a job in Oregon necessarily do much for a high school graduate in North Carolina. The job numbers capture some of this, but not all.
What if you had a really big data set of employers and job seekers? Could you get a better picture? Probably, but there would be some pitfalls to watch out for. Those big numbers are not seasonally adjusted, while the headline payroll employment number of 117,000 is.
Seasonal adjustment helps answer whether the job market is doing better or worse than we would expect.

Are these government surveys the only measure of the labor market?

No. There are a number of other measures and reports out there: mass layoffs; first-time claims for unemployment benefits; Challenger, Gray & Christmas's job cuts. Each of these provides a different look at how workers are leaving their jobs.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Proverty and Class Warfare : Failed Techniques of History

The quote is from a renowned author and respected man of the world. Read this several times and then compare it to what Obama is doing right now with his agenda of class warfare.

Divide and conquer. A technique used by tyrants since the beginning of time. Most recent is Napoleon during the French revolution and the start of the Bolshevik's revolution after the first world war. There are others, of course, but it seems clear that the liberal progressive agenda used today resembles these failed attempts to control society.

Will they succeed? I don't believe so. Slowly, but surly, the population in America is becoming aware of the tactics used by the liberal left to "fundamentally" change our way of life. Only time will tell if enough citizens, of this great country, will stand up and be counted when they vote next November. If the voters do the right thing, we will start to get our country back from the brink of a socialist nightmare.


Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man.

Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people.

Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

Public Employee Heathcare Costs Huge

The conclusion here is that states must redefine what a contract does to the tax base and just who, the government employee and districts managers, has to rethink their demands and allocations of resources.

Wisconsin found, under the new Walker budget, that school districts can save millions and teachers and other government workers are not being laid off because the law allows the districts to find new ways and proposals to redefine health care contracts.

The unions attacked the budget as being biased against the people, but even now the 'employees' are finding the sky didn't fall down and most everyone still has their job. If nothing had changed, like the unions wanted, collective bargaining, thousands of teachers and others would have be laid off.

The High Cost of Public Employee Health Benefits
Source: Josh Barro, "Cadillac Coverage: The High Cost of Public Employee Health Benefits," Manhattan Institute, August 2011.

In light of budget deficits and the need to identify ways to reduce spending in states across the United States, public discussion has increasingly focused on health care costs for public employees. Much of that discussion has focused on the relatively low share of insurance premiums paid by government workers when compared with their private-sector counterparts.

Although this is a real phenomenon, it is not the only, or even the most important, reason for high health insurance costs, says Josh Barro, the Walter B. Wriston Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Among the reasons identified for the cost differences are:

Public employees contribute less to their premiums -- an average of about 15 percent of the overall premium, compared with about 25 percent in the private sector.

Public employee plans offer more generous benefits, including lower deductibles and lower copayments.

Governments require shorter enrollment waiting periods for new employees than in the private sector.

Public employees have higher opt-in rates for employer-provided coverage: 26 percent of private-sector workers choose not to participate in available employer health plans, while just 16 percent of government workers chose not to.

Realigning government-employee contributions to match those of the private sector could save taxpayers millions of dollars a year. However, this simple approach does not bend the cost curve over time -- benefits will still continue to grow astronomically -- and further, it will understandably upset workers by reducing their take-home pay.

Barro recommends instead that governments work more broadly to reduce their spending on health benefits -- including by reducing the overall cost of plans offered to employees.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Congress' Pay A Waste of Money?

I think most people can agree that congress is not doing the job that we pay them to do. But the bottom line here who is to blame? Republicans or Democrats.

It boils down to your point of view in most cases. Are you of the mind government has the answer to our problems or of the mind that the individual freedom is the answer. What does history have to say about this in deciding who is right? What works and what doesn't according to history? Which point of view has the burden of proof on their side?

Whether we pay them too much is still a question to be answered. The coming election and the new blood that has come aboard in the last election will determine just who is right.

Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money's Worth?
Source: "Are Taxpayers Getting Their Money's Worth?" Taxpayers Protection Alliance, July 2011.

Citizens across the country are struggling to make ends meet. They are frustrated with the failure of their elected representatives in Congress to address pressing national problems to make things better for all Americans. Compounding their frustration is the fact that members of Congress receive pay and benefits far in excess of what average working Americans receive, says the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.

In addition to a salary of $174,000 per year, which by itself puts members of Congress among the highest-paid 5 percent of American workers, Congressmen and women receive more generous fringe benefits than typical American employees. In fact, congressional compensation including benefits totals around $285,000 per year.

In a time when unemployment rates are at unacceptably high levels and those who are working are often subject to "pay for performance" standards, it is galling to many to hear of the generous pay and benefits Congress has provided for itself.

Members of Congress should be adequately compensated for their efforts. However, the salaries and benefits make them among the best compensated employees in the American workforce. Given record budget deficits and Congress' seeming inability to agree on plans to address the shortfall, many Americans are skeptical of what they receive in return for what they are paying their elected representatives.

Immediate steps need to be taken to cut Congressional salaries and benefits and reassure Americans that sacrifices made during this economic downturn are being widely shared.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

EPA's Demands for More Regulation/Control A Fraud

More nonsense from the EPA. The whole concept of the EPA is lost on the individuals that now inhabit the halls of this organization. In fact the actions of this department of the Obama administration boarders on criminal.

Each year they find new ways to regulate the energy industry and impose new ways to stop any use of fossil fuels to generate electricity which our economy demands. And with over 54% of electricity generated by fossil fuel at this point time, to bring it to a halt will cripple our economy and leave future generations of Americans with substantially lower standard of living. The quality of life that we know today will of a thing of the past.

With all of the new regulations, the EPA is out of control.

The EPA's New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain, No Gain (Part Two)
Source: Kennedy Meier, "The EPA's New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain, No Gain (Part Two)," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 11, 2011.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to expand its reach, creating a host of new regulations at a high cost to the economy. This is especially true of two new initiatives: a proposed revision to the national ground-level ozone standard and the attempt to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, says Kennedy Meier, an intern with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The EPA is proposing a new, more restrictive primary ozone standard under the National Ambient Air Quality Standards program, which regulates air pollutants the EPA deems unhealthy. Estimates vary, but researchers agree that complying with a new ozone standard will be costly:

Compliance costs could reach $19 billion to $25 billion for a 0.070 parts per million (ppm) standard and $52 billion to $90 billion (in 2006 dollars) for a 0.060 ppm standard by 2020.
Roughly 7.3 million jobs could be lost by 2020 with a 0.060 ppm standard and the present value of the cost of attaining a 0.070 ppm primary standard could exceed $1 trillion.

The benefits of a stricter ozone standard are questionable. Studies have found that exposure to levels up to 0.1275 ppm are safe. Thus, for a person to actually be exposed to a harmful level, ambient ozone would have to be far above the 2009 national average concentration of 0.069 ppm.

Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA is now required to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Studies have found that regulation of greenhouse gases would be very costly:

Up to 2.5 million jobs could be lost, the average annual household income could be decreased by $1,200, and gasoline and residential electricity prices would increase by 50 percent by 2030, estimates Management Information Services, Inc. Nearly $7 trillion (in 2008 dollars) in economic output would be lost by 2029, reports the Heritage Foundation.

Unfortunately, the EPA's efforts will be futile. Even if the entire Western Hemisphere suddenly eliminated all carbon dioxide emissions, the effect on global emissions would likely be offset within a decade by the growth of China's emissions alone.

Affordable energy is a key component of a prosperous economy. Higher energy prices and the loss of over 7 million jobs and billions of dollars of gross domestic product over the next two decades will make present and future generations worse, not better, off, says Meier.

EPA's Regulations Unrealistic AND Destructive

It seems the EPA really doesn't have the best interests of the country at heart - the agenda here is one of 'no matter how clean the air or water, it won't be enough, ever'.

The EPA's main thrust is not helping to create a balance between industry and the environment, it is to impose a personal agenda of a small group of individuals that believes their ideology is best for everyone even it destroys our way of life.

The EPA's New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain, No Gain (Part One)
Source: H. Sterling Burnett and Kennedy Meier, "The EPA's New Air Quality Regulations: All Pain, No Gain (Part One)," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 11, 2011.

Over the past two years the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed or finalized a number of air quality regulations that could seriously retard the economic recovery. Economists estimate that two of the new rules -- the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards -- will cost millions of jobs and raise energy prices with little or no public health benefit, say H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow, and Kenney Meier, an intern, with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

The Cross-State Air Pollution Rule goes into effect on January 1, 2012, and will require 27 states to significantly reduce sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions by 2014. The rule could cost up to $120 billion by 2015 and reduce the nation's power supply by more than 55 gigawatts (almost 4 percent), according to the Brattle Group.

By 2015, the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards requires existing coal- and oil-fired power plants to reduce emissions to the average level of emissions of the least polluting 12 percent of plants currently operating. The standard could cost an estimated $100 billion by 2017, according to researchers at Credit Suisse.

Higher fuel prices and plant closures due to the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule and the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards could result in a net loss of 1.4 million jobs by 2020.

The average household electricity bill could increase by 11.5 percent; some businesses could see as much as a 35 percent increase in electricity prices.

These regulations are arguably unnecessary since the air is so clean that there is little benefit to additional pollution reduction. According to EPA data:

Between 1980 and 2008, emissions of nitrogen dioxide emissions fell 40 percent.
Emissions of sulfur dioxide fell by 56 percent.
Lead emissions fell 96 percent.

These decreases came despite a 22 percent increase in population and a 19 percent increase in energy consumption since 1990.

The economy is still struggling and many people remain unemployed. The loss of more than 1 million jobs and soaring energy costs over the next decade will stifle economic recovery. Current clean air standards and technological improvements are already improving air quality, say Burnett and Meier.

Friday, August 12, 2011

American Progressives' Socialist Democarcy A Failure

What a great article - a must read on just how close we are to becoming a European like state. Remember how it went in Madison,Wisconsin? Remember how for weeks on end the entitlement battle raged on in the capital. There were death threats screamed at legislators and government property destroyed and defaced. Costs for police in Madison was $600,000 alone. Hundreds of thousands more for clean up and State Police, not to mention utility increases for the entire capital area. Who pays for all this, I wonder.

Thousands, from all over the state, came here demand their 'right' to take what ever they want at taxpayers expense. And by entitlement I don't mean welfare, although it seems that way when one looks at how the government workers and teachers are paid with tax dollars, and the union controlling distribution of the monies to favored politicians.

But wait, there's more - the recount of the Supreme Court race here that cost hundreds of thousands and the recall election that have just concluded with little change in either case. Who will pay for all this? Again, I wonder!

But let's not forget as well the race riots in Milwaukee, Wisconsin during State Fair just weeks ago. This was gangs of blacks attacking whites on the streets, in there cars or where ever they could find a white person near the park.

Europe is here now, only not as wide spread yet. One has a hard time understanding the motivations of the gang members as most hard working people, of all colors, are concentrating on making ends meet during these hard times.

With the riots in London, we now are beginning to have some idea of just how this can happen here. The conditions may be different but the motivation is the same. The teachers demand their 'rights' and the entitled demand more entitlements.

U.K. Telegraph

By Janet Daley
Janet Daley
Janet Daley was born in America where she began her political life on the Left as an undergraduate at Berkeley. She moved to Britain (and to the Right) in 1965 where she spent nearly twenty years in academic life before becoming a political commentator: all factors that inform her writing on British and American policy and politicians.

9:00PM BST 06 Aug 2011

Which of these is the most important question to ask in the present economic crisis: how can we promote growth? Should we pay off government debt more or less quickly? Is the US in worse trouble than Europe? Answer: none of the above.

The truly fundamental question that is at the heart of the disaster toward which we are racing is being debated only in America: is it possible for a free market economy to support a democratic socialist society? On this side of the Atlantic, the model of a national welfare system with comprehensive entitlements, which is paid for by the wealth created through capitalist endeavour, has been accepted (even by parties of the centre-Right) as the essence of post-war political enlightenment.

This was the heaven on earth for which liberal democracy had been striving: a system of wealth redistribution that was merciful but not Marxist, and a guarantee of lifelong economic and social security for everyone that did not involve totalitarian government. This was the ideal the European Union was designed to entrench. It was the dream of Blairism, which adopted it as a replacement for the state socialism of Old Labour. And it is the aspiration of President Obama and his liberal Democrats, who want the United States to become a European-style social democracy.

But the US has a very different historical experience from European countries, with their accretions of national remorse and class guilt: it has a far stronger and more resilient belief in the moral value of liberty and the dangers of state power. This is a political as much as an economic crisis, but not for the reasons that Mr Obama believes. The ruckus that nearly paralysed the US economy last week, and led to the loss of its AAA rating from Standard & Poor’s, arose from a confrontation over the most basic principles of American life.

Contrary to what the Obama Democrats claimed, the face-off in Congress did not mean that the nation’s politics were “dysfunctional”. The politics of the US were functioning precisely as the Founding Fathers intended: the legislature was acting as a check on the power of the executive.

The Tea Party faction within the Republican party was demanding that, before any further steps were taken, there must be a debate about where all this was going. They had seen the future toward which they were being pushed, and it didn’t work. They were convinced that the entitlement culture and benefits programmes which the Democrats were determined to preserve and extend with tax rises could only lead to the diminution of that robust economic freedom that had created the American historical miracle.

And, again contrary to prevailing wisdom, their view is not naive and parochial: it is corroborated by the European experience. By rights, it should be Europe that is immersed in this debate, but its leaders are so steeped in the sacred texts of social democracy that they cannot admit the force of the contradictions which they are now hopelessly trying to evade.

No, it is not just the preposterousness of the euro project that is being exposed. (Let’s merge the currencies of lots of countries with wildly differing economic conditions and lock them all into the interest rate of the most successful. What could possibly go wrong?)
Also collapsing before our eyes is the lodestone of the Christian Socialist doctrine that has underpinned the EU’s political philosophy: the idea that a capitalist economy can support an ever-expanding socialist welfare state.

As the EU leadership is (almost) admitting now, the next step to ensure the survival of the world as we know it will involve moving toward a command economy, in which individual countries and their electorates will lose significant degrees of freedom and self-determination.

We have arrived at the endgame of what was an untenable doctrine: to pay for the kind of entitlements that populations have been led to expect by their politicians, the wealth-creating sector has to be taxed to a degree that makes it almost impossible for it to create the wealth that is needed to pay for the entitlements that populations have been led to expect, etc, etc.

The only way that state benefit programmes could be extended in the ways that are forecast for Europe’s ageing population would be by government seizing all the levers of the economy and producing as much (externally) worthless currency as was needed – in the manner of the old Soviet Union.

That is the problem. So profound is its challenge to the received wisdom of postwar Western democratic life that it is unutterable in the EU circles in which the crucial decisions are being made – or rather, not being made.

The solution that is being offered to the political side of the dilemma is benign oligarchy. Ignoring national public opinion and turbulent political minorities has always been at least half the point of the EU bureaucratic putsch. But that does not settle the economic predicament.

What is to be done about all those assurances that governments have provided for generations about state-subsidised security in old age, universal health provision (in Britain, almost uniquely, completely free), and a guaranteed living standard for the unemployed?
We have been pretending – with ever more manic protestations – that this could go on for ever.

Even when it became clear that European state pensions (and the US social security system) were gigantic Ponzi schemes in which the present beneficiaries were spending the money of the current generation of contributors, and that health provision was creating impossible demands on tax revenue, and that benefit dependency was becoming a substitute for wealth-creating employment, the lesson would not be learnt. We have been living on tick and wishful thinking.

So what are the most important truths we should be addressing if we are to avert – or survive – the looming catastrophe? Raising retirement ages across Europe (not just in Greece) is imperative, as is raising thresholds for out-of-work benefit entitlements.
Lowering the tax burden for both wealth-creators and consumers is essential. In Britain, finding private sources of revenue for health care is a matter of urgency.

A general correction of the imbalance between wealth production and wealth redistribution is now a matter of basic necessity, not ideological preference.

The hardest obstacle to overcome will be the idea that anyone who challenges the prevailing consensus of the past 50 years is irrational and irresponsible. That is what is being said about the Tea Partiers. In fact, what is irrational and irresponsible is the assumption that we can go on as we are.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Women Strong/Smart : Men Weak/Stupid

All anyone has to do these days to see how attitudes towards men in general have changed is pay attention to TV and print advertising.

Just watch to see how many commercials feature women and computers, especially laptops. Watch for commercials that want to display sound thinking and decision making. Women are front and center. Higher education is always front and certer featuring a woman signing up for classes.

Retailers will show a woman buying smart and well thought out purchases on everything from computers, to tires, to home security systems, cars and even houses, and then the cameras pan to the woman for the 'correct' decision. What does the man do, he just nods his approval.

Also, watch for commercials that want to display dysfunctional behavior of any kind, no matter how totally inane, men front and center. If they want to show stupid, get the guy.

Count how many times you see a woman on television being portrayed as incompetent or dysfunctional. Nonexistent.

As Girls Excel, What Happens to Boys?
Source: Kay Hymowitz, "What's Happening to Men?" Cato Unbound, August 8, 2011.

Women today are entering adulthood with more education, more achievements, more property and, arguably, more money and ambition than their male counterparts. This is a first in human history, and its implications for both sexes are far from simple, says Kay Hymowitz, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

You can see the strongest evidence that boys and young men are falling behind in high school and college classrooms. Boys have lower grade point averages and lower grades in almost every subject, including math, despite their higher standardized testing scores, and they are 58 percent of high school dropouts.

In the mid-1970s about 28 percent of men had college degrees; since then, that number has barely budged. Meanwhile, the percentage of women with a college degree increased from 18.6 to 34.2 percent and women now earn 57 percent of college degrees.

Male earnings have come to reflect their educational disadvantage -- childless twentysomething men now earn 8 percent less than their female counterparts in 147 out of 150 of American cities.
So what explains this stunning shift between the sexes? The deepest roots of women's current success lie in economic and technological change.

In the early decades of the 20th century, a "household revolution" dramatically eased the domestic burdens primarily borne by women. Women's release from household drudgery coincided with the emergence of the postindustrial labor market, meaning a growing number of service and knowledge-based jobs -- all areas where women have excelled.

The second and related theory about why men are falling behind is that today's labor market prizes female strengths more than male strengths.

Hymowitz adds a third, more existential explanation, for the male problem: The economic independence of women and the collapse of marriage norms have deprived men of the primary social role that incentivized their achievement. What this means is that boys today are growing up in a culture that, unlike any before in civilization, is agnostic about their future familial responsibilities.

Aside from school reforms that could help keep boys more engaged, the new gender gap has no obvious solutions. The profound economic changes that have led to female success and male stagnation have also transformed our culture and its expectations for men.

Education : Spend Less, Get More!

The jury is still out on just why the student scores are effected by spending, but this finding here goes along way in to starting the conversation on public schools and spending.

Lower Funding, Higher Test Scores
Source: Diana Lambert and Phillip Reese, "Public Schools See Paradox of Lower Funding, Higher Test Scores," Sacramento Bee, July 2, 2011.

It's a trend that would seem to defy conventional wisdom: As public school spending has declined in California in recent years, student achievement test scores have gone up, says the Sacramento Bee.

Statewide, school districts spent 6 percent less from 2008 to 2010, but the percentage of second- to seventh-grade students scoring proficient on the state's standardized English test rose from 48 percent to 55 percent. School districts in the four-county Sacramento region cut annual spending by about $120 million, or 4.4 percent, from 2008 to 2010. But during that same period student test scores improved significantly.

The percentage of Sacramento area second- through seventh-graders, for instance, scoring proficient or advanced in English jumped from 53 percent to 59 percent, while the portion scoring proficient or above in math went from 57 percent to 62 percent. So, are educators finding ways to do more with less? Has student learning been largely unaffected by the spending cuts? The reviews are mixed.

Assemblyman Don Wagner, an Irvine Republican who sits on the Assembly Education Committee, said the findings underscore the tenuous connection between public education spending and student learning.

Sacramento County schools Superintendent David Gordon offers a sharply different perspective, saying state achievement tests measure only selected skills, and the scores don't necessarily reflect the toll spending cuts have taken on the classroom.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Education Spending Out of Control, Wasted

Here is the bottom line, when the public is told the truth, backed by hard facts, they usually respond with intelligent, common sense answers.

But the problem that faces us is a main stream media that has no intention of presenting facts. Their whole existence depends on managed information that fits an agenda. Whether it's global warming, immigration, economics or education, the base line for the progressive media is to manage the information in such a way as to persuade as many people as possible to vote for their personal agenda.

The sad part in this debate is there are many in this country that will vote progressive no matter what, about 20%, but there are a significant number also that don't pay attention to what is going on around them, that are easily moved to believe the misinformation coming from the press.

These people have no idea, or care, about the larger world. It's just easier to believe what you read then having to use some common sense to decide issues. After all 'I'm working hard and have a family to feed, I don't time to waste on stupid stuff like the debt or deficit. America has always been here and it will continue as it always has no matter what'. They believe we are too big to fail.

Maybe they are right, but maybe they are wrong as well. Presently, I suggest we don't hold our collective breaths.

Do We Really Need to Spend More on Schools?
Source: Paul E. Peterson, "Do We Really Need to Spend More on Schools?" Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2011. William Howell, Martin West and Paul E. Peterson, "The 2011 Education Next-PEPG Survey," EducationNext, Fall 2011.

Even as the president was signing the debt-limit bill designed to cut spending last week, he insisted on continuing "to keep making key investments in things like education." Don't be surprised if the president and his allies reiterate this call for more spending in the nation's schools, which they argue is necessary if our students are to remain competitive, says Paul E. Peterson, a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. At first glance, the public seems to agree with this position.

In a survey released by Education Next, Peterson and his colleagues found 65 percent of the public said they want to spend more on our schools. The remaining 35 percent think spending should either be cut or remain at current levels.

Yet the political reality is more complex than those numbers suggest. When the people surveyed were told how much is actually spent in our schools -- $12,922 per student annually, according to the most recent government report -- then only 49 percent said they want to pony up more dollars.

Later in the same survey, Peterson et al. asked, "Do you think that taxes to fund public schools around the nation should increase, decrease or stay about the same?"
When asked about spending in this way, which addresses the tax issue frankly, Peterson et al. found that only 35 percent support an increase.

Sixty-five percent oppose the idea, saying instead that spending should either decrease or stay about the same.

So there is the nation's debt crisis in a nutshell. If people aren't told that nearly $13,000 is currently being spent per pupil, or if they aren't reminded that there is no such thing as a free lunch, they can be persuaded to think schools should be spending still more, says Peterson.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Natural Gas Causes Enviro-Nutjob Hysteria

The Neofascist environmental nutjobs are in a panic seeing this new source of energy that has a huge reserve of more than a 100 years, and it's clean burning and 'fracking' recovery method has more than 60 years of history to prove it is safe. The enviro sees their wind mills and solar panels threatened.

Of course this won't stop the enviro-nutjobs from 'creating' news that reeks havoc with local communities about leakage into water supplies. Past history means nothing to the hysterical enviro, the only thing they are concerned about is getting control of every one's lives and forcing their personal agenda down our collective throats.

The scariest part of all this is a lot of politicians buy into this nonsense, even in the face of facts that show the enviros to be lying.

The War on Natural Gas
Source: Paul Chesser and Mark Newgent, "The Great Frack Attack: The War on Natural Gas," Commonwealth Foundation, July 2011.

Politicians, activists and lobbyists have pushed for new taxes and fees on natural gas drillers and even an outright ban on all natural gas in Pennsylvania. Their obstruction of the industry's growth efforts has also consisted of a public relations campaign to distort the reality of the industry and spread myths about drilling activities, say Paul Chesser, executive director, and Mark Newgent, a research fellow, at the American Tradition Institute.

Heinz Endowments -- Grants totaling more than $680,000 for the study of gas drilling "impacts," outreach, organizing, legal issues and oversight have been given to universities and nonprofits. International WOW -- The company created a film called "Gasland," which shows a distorted picture of the connection between natural gas and methane in water wells. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission even issued a fact sheet that corrected errors in the documentary.

National Groups Feeding Pennsylvania Affiliates -- Grants made by wealthy donors to anti-oil and gas nonprofits have been a key part of the obstructionist effort against gas drilling.
Local Activism Tries to Thwart Development -- Certain local groups have focused their efforts around specific areas, while insisting on drilling moratoriums and additional "impact studies."

PennFuture -- Otherwise known as Citizens for Pennsylvania's Future, this organization has been hypocritical in their accusations of natural gas companies for their lobbying and political campaign expenditures. For years they did not disclose to the Internal Revenue Service their lobbying and grassroots activities on behalf of the alternative energy industry.

Despite what the critics of the industry claim, natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania is not a danger to the environment. The hydraulic fracturing process is much safer than they have suggested and has helped create jobs, access natural resources and keep energy prices down.

Education Voucher Program Forcing Public Schools to Reform

Interesting! Public schools actually do take notice of the Voucher Program when their very existence is threatened. Maybe the Voucher Program will have a two pronged benefit in that public schools will work harder to keep kids from leaving and vouchers will help chronic problems schools reform or shut down.

In either case, the taxpayers and the kids will gain from the Voucher Program. And maybe, just maybe, even a third benefit will be the NEA losing some it's influence on education, a real plus.

The Impact of Ohio's Voucher Program on Public School Performance
Source: Matthew Carr, "The Impact of Ohio's EdChoice on Traditional Public School Performance," Cato Journal, Summer 2011.

In 2005 Ohio's legislature enacted the Educational Choice Scholarship program (EdChoice), which provides vouchers to students in chronically underperforming schools, allowing them to attend private and religious schools.

Matthew Carr, a research fellow in the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas, evaluates the effects of the EdChoice voucher program on the academic performance of traditional public schools.

Specifically, he investigates how exposure to the threat of losing students to the voucher program affected standardized test performance in traditional public schools.

The largest gains among the traditional public schools were observed in the highest and lowest categories of test performance. One hypothesis is that threatened schools chose to focus most heavily on their highest and lowest performers, even though this led to little noticeable change to their overall proficiency passage rates.

Voucher-threatened schools may be placing their focus on those students most likely to use the program to exit their residentially assigned school, those in the tails of the performance distribution.

Like other studies on this subject, an interesting, and perhaps important, relationship has been discovered between the implementation of a failing schools voucher program and subsequent changes in the performance of traditional public schools. Finding answers to questions about the specific ways in which teachers, students and administrators may have changed their behavior in response to a voucher threat or stigma, and about potential differential effects based on any number of contextual factors, is the next step for research on this subject, says Carr.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Government Debt and Deficits : SPEND LESS!

With all the problems that we are having in this country with our finances, debt and deficits, one would actually think that the majority of the population would have some idea about budgeting when times are bad. But this is not necessarily true.

Far too many people still harbor the false notion government will always find a way to solve a problem for us. All we have to do trust them. It always worked before, why not now?

Things change! Today is different then yesterday and tomorrow will look nothing like today. To be able to change with the times we actually have to take an active role in the process. We can no longer sit on the side lines while others make decisions that effect us all directly.

Ultimately, we make the final decisions that will make our lives better or worse when we vote. As long as we have the vote, and there those that think we aren't capable of voting responsibly, we all should make every effort to fulfill that obligation to our selves and our off spring by being informed as to what is going on in our country and who will change things for the better.

To do this, we must have good information based on past histories of the candidates and the incumbent, some idea about money and the effects of not having enough of it on our lives and why, then weight the facts as we know them. Be open all sources of information to make decisions, otherwise we run the risks of biased and managed information.

Never forget we are the responsibly parties in this debate. In the end, it all comes down to us to decide our own fate. Elections have consequences as we know only to well from 2008.

The Facts about Spending Cuts, the Debt and Gross Domestic Product
Source: Veronique de Rugy, "The Facts about Spending Cuts, the Debt and the GDP," Reason Magazine, July 29, 2011.

Veronique de Rugy, a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, discusses the facts and myths surrounding spending cuts, the debt and gross domestic product (GDP).

Myth 1: You cannot reduce the deficit to an appropriate level without also raising taxes.

Fact 1: Spending cuts are the most effective way to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio.
Harvard's Alberto Alesina and Silvia Ardagna examined 107 efforts to reduce the debt in 21 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development nations between 1970 and 2007; their findings suggest that tax cuts are more expansionary than spending increases in the cases of a fiscal stimulus. Also, they found that spending cuts are a more effective way to reduce the debt-to-GDP ratio.

Myth 2: Lawmakers facing economic catastrophe forget about politics and adopt measures that address genuine fiscal issues.

Fact 2: Politicians rarely put politics aside. A recent paper by Andrew Biggs, Kevin Hassett and Matthew Jensen of the American Enterprise Institute shows that even in a time of crisis (or especially in a time of crisis), lawmakers tend to adopt policies for the sake of politics.
Countries in fiscal trouble generally got there through years of catering to interest groups and pro-spending constituencies (on both sides of the political aisle), and their fiscal adjustments tend to make too many of the same mistakes

Myth 3: We have had higher debt-to-GDP ratios before so we shouldn't worry now.

Fact 3: We should worry -- the debt-to-GDP ratio actually underestimates the size of the government's real liabilities. History appears to be reassuring, since several advanced countries have had debt-to-GDP ratios much higher than the one we have now without defaulting, so why should we worry?

Two main reasons: First, while our debt is big now, it's only going to get bigger in the coming years. Second, the debt-to-GDP ratio actually underestimates the scale of our debt problem because of intragovernmental debt, unaccounted liabilities and unfunded liabilities.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Freedom to Chose Means Economic Freedom

Little wonder America is becoming more stressful and divided. With the advent of the Obama agenda of class warfare and "fundamentally" changing the country from a Democracy, a free Republic, to a socialistic monolith ruled by a all powerful elite, happiness has to be qualified.

How do you define happiness? Should someone have to define happiness for you? Should one have to search for happiness? Given the freedom to choose your own destiny, using what skills God has given you to obtain what ever level of success you want, you then can determine any kind of happiness you want.

Individual freedom to succeed or fail will determine outcomes, not tyrants in Washington.

Economic Freedom and Happiness
Source: Daniel M. Gropper, Robert A. Lawson, and Jere T. Thorne Jr., "Economic Freedom and Happiness," Cato Journal, July 6, 2011.

That liberty is necessary for greater happiness and a better life is a notion deeply rooted in the American sensibility. But is there a link between greater freedom and greater happiness across countries?

Daniel M. Gropper, the David and Meredith Luck Professor in the College of Business at Auburn University, Robert A. Lawson, the Jerome M. Fullinwider Chair in Economic Freedom in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, and Jere T. Thorne Jr., of the Home Depot and a graduate of Auburn University, answer this question by examining the empirical relationship between liberty, as measured by economic freedom and happiness across more than 100 countries.

Early research tended to find that economic freedom was positively associated with happiness.

More recent work, however, has been mixed. Researchers argue that the association between measures of institutional quality (like freedom) and happiness are different between rich and poor countries. Others contend that the relationship between government size (a component of economic freedom) and happiness is contingent on the quality of the governance. Still, others say that "freedom of choice" is a strong factor in determining happiness.

Using the best available data for a sample of well over 100 countries, the authors find a positive relationship between national levels of happiness and economic freedom. Gross domestic product (GDP) per capita also exerts a strong positive influence on happiness.

The statistical impact of both economic freedom and GDP per capita appears to diminish as the other increases, but the combined effect of simultaneously increasing both economic freedom and GDP per capita, particularly for poorer and less free nations, is positive.

Around the world, freer people generally are wealthier, live longer and are happier.

Energy Independence : Develop America's Natural Resources

This is on the mark, and something that has been brought up many times in the past decade. But the only way for this to work is to elect Conservatives to the federal government, both the White House and the Senate.

But why stop there, get rid of all the Democrats or Republicans in the federal government and state governments, that have shown to have voted against developing our own natural resources, and there are many.

The election in 2012 is coming faster than one might think. Be ready to take a stand for common sense.


Looking at our ECONOMY over the past few years I submit that the government’s Green energy policies are not working sufficiently and will not fulfill our energy requirements in the foreseeable future. The administration has pursued this agenda and it not only has not worked, but it has been a hindrance on our economy.

Because of the way our country functions and the vast physical size of our nation, we need large amounts of energy of all kinds, particularly gasoline and fuel oil. Today that means we need more fossil fuels. We could reduce somewhat the requirement for crude, if we had more electricity and a modernized national power grid. That means more nuclear power. Therefore, I suggest we need to change course and start pursuing a plan to take advantage of our available natural resources and spend the money we presently pay for foreign oil, here in our economy. ….FOREVER!

The first step in this process would be to dramatically reduce importing that oil. Presently we pay $750 Billion dollars a year for foreign oil…for which we get nothing but crude. I submit we should give the economy a major shot in the arm by starting an effort to stop importing foreign oil by drilling in ANWR and the North Slope of Alaska. We have a pipeline in Prudhoe Bay that is not running to capacity and we could easily build new pipelines from ANWR and the North Slope to Prudhoe Bay. That would allow us to get the new oil from these reserves into the system and down to the lower forty eight relatively easily. Because of the volume of oil known in these two locations, we could see a significant decrease in imported oil relatively quickly, as these locations come on line. This would allow us to move a major portion of the $750 Billion from foreign lands to our economy producing many new jobs.

Additionally, we could start using much more natural gas in power plants. Building some new refineries in our northern states, such as Washington State, Montana, and North Dakota to expand the refinery processing capability of the country would produce more jobs .
(More new jobs)

An additional process would be to deploy many more nuclear plants, with the goal of eventually converting the country to pollution free electricity. In conjunction with this goal we would totally revamp our National Power Grid, modernizing it which would dramatically lower the size and amount of future power failures. We would protect and control the new expanded grid by making it secure from cyber penetrations. (Many more jobs).

In addition to the above we would also build unique nuclear plants on all three coasts that would not only produce electricity for its geographical area, but would also desalinate sea water to reduce drought conditions and also convert many of the large arid areas of the country into beneficial developments. (More jobs).

As we increase our domestic oil production and surpass our present levels of consumption of imported oil, the new nuclear plants would help us increase our conversion of the country to electricity. This would allow more gasoline at a lower price helping our routine infrastructure laborers and tradesmen expand their efforts. (more jobs).