Friday, September 30, 2011

Class Warfare in California : Buffett Rule A loser

Class warfare? nah - 'we just want everyone to hate those that are smarter and more aggressive then the rest of us when it comes to turning a buck. So it makes sense we should take what ever they have earned because it isn't fair that they have all the smarts and the money to'.

That's not class warfare, is it? It's just being fair.

"Buffett Rule" a Bust in California
Source: George Skelton, "'Buffett Rule' a Bust in California," Los Angeles Times, September 22, 2011.

If President Obama really wants to see the "Buffett Rule" in action, he should look at California's tax system. The state has been plagued by it for years, says George Skelton of the Los Angeles Times.In California, there is what you could call a Buffett Rule-Plus. There's an extra tax bracket -- at 10.3 percent -- for income exceeding $1 million.

According to the state finance department, families with adjusted gross incomes of between $1 million and $2 million, on average, paid an overall state tax rate of 8.4 percent in 2008, the last year for which data are available.

The average rate rose as incomes did to 9.3 percent for those earning $5 million and up.
Families earning between $200,000 and $300,000 paid, on average, 5.5 percent.
The rate fell sharply as incomes tailed off: 1.4 percent at $70,000 to $80,000, and only 0.2 percent at $40,000 to $50,000.

California used to offer preferential tax treatment for capital gains and dividends, but eliminated it in 1987 to conform to a new federal "reform" law. The feds later reinserted their preferences, but California never did. Consequently, California relies heavily on rich investors for its income tax revenue, which fuels half of the general fund.

Some examples of this overdependence, based on the 2009 tax year: The top 1 percent earned 18 percent of California's income but paid 37 percent of the income tax.

Illustrating the volatility of the California income tax, however, the top 1 percent paid 48 percent of the total take in 2007 before the stock market collapsed.

In the next two years, the state's income tax revenue fell 25 percent.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

If you want answers to all of these problems for balancing the state budget, take a close look at what Gov. Scott Walker did in Wisconsin. It wasn't easy as everyone knows from the union attacks on Wisconsin's capital for months costing millions of tax dollars.

But Walker stood strong and now the state has balanced it's budget while most state worker remain employed.

Bailouts or Bankruptcy?
Source: Michael S. Greve, "Bailouts or Bankruptcy?" Engage: The Journal of the Federalist Society Practice Groups, September 2011.

In early 2011, the states' financial travails were the stuff of headline news. Deficits for the current budget cycle were estimated at $175 billion. In some states (Texas, California, Nevada and Illinois), the shortfall exceeded 30 percent of projected budgets. One way or the other, states closed those gaps to comply with the balanced-budget amendments contained in all state constitutions except Vermont's, and public attention shifted to the budget-and-debt-ceiling melodrama in Washington, D.C. However, the parlous fiscal condition of state and local governments remains a lasting concern, says Michael S. Greve, the John G. Searle Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Indeed: Unfunded pension obligations are estimated at upwards of $1 trillion and are probably three or four times that amount.

Unfunded health care commitments clock in at upwards of $500 billion. Bond debt issued by state and local governments comes in around $2.8 trillion. For these reasons, public debate over the course of action for insolvent states remains lively.

While many advocate continued federal assistance through the subsidization of state programs and additional block grants, a growing number of scholars and GOP legislators are considering the idea of a comprehensive bankruptcy code for state governments.

Distinguishing between the much more common private sector bankruptcy options (chapters 9 and 11) and the options that would need to be made available to a state, it is clear that several policies would have to be accepted and implemented for such a scheme to function.

In order for states to file, they would require the ability to examine and renegotiate their liabilities at their foundations.

Similar in severity to Chapter 11 bankruptcy, states would need to be able to revisit collective bargaining agreements and pension obligations (in addition to payments to bondholders) in order to make themselves solvent again.

A bankruptcy option that does not address the stranglehold that these liabilities have on state governments does not tackle the real problems, nor will it lead to effective solutions.

Sales Tax Rates State by State : Revenue Stream

I wonder how many of us know what the sales tax rate is for our state? Here is a list of just how much we pay every time we buy something.

Also believe, this is just for now. Politicians will look at this and say, 'is that all we charging to buy something in our state? We need to take a look at this for future revenue'.

Ranking State and Local Sales Taxes
Source: Scott Drenkard, "Ranking State and Local Sales Taxes," Tax Foundation, September 22, 2011.

Retail sales taxes are often the most transparent way to collect tax revenue. Indeed, while many citizens do not know the standard 10, 15, 25, 28, 33 and 35 percent federal personal income tax rates, they tend to have at least some idea of the sales tax in their state, or could reach into their pocket to pull out a receipt with the rate printed on it.

However, almost three-quarters of the states have some presence of local-option sales taxes that may be less known to residents, with rates varying from county to county. A new report from the Tax Foundation provides a population-weighted average that reflects incidence of general sales taxes per state. These calculations answer the question: "If I walk out of my house and buy something, what is the average sales tax I will pay?"

Currently Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon are the only states that do not levy a statewide sales tax.

Furthermore, four of the five also prohibit local sales taxes (excluding Alaska).
Among states that do collect a statewide tax, the states with the highest average combined rate (state tax plus the average local tax) are Tennessee (9.43 percent), Arizona (9.12 percent), Louisiana (8.84 percent), Washington (8.79 percent) and Oklahoma (8.66 percent).

The five with the lowest average combined rates are Hawaii (4.35 percent), Maine (5 percent), Virginia (5 percent), Wyoming (5.34 percent), and Wisconsin (5.43 percent). California still retains the highest state-level rate at 7.25 percent with five states tying for the second-highest rate of 7 percent: Indiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Tennessee.

The lowest non-zero state-level sales tax is in Colorado, which boasts a rate of 2.9 percent, while seven states follow with 4 percent: Alabama, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, New York, South Dakota and Wyoming.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tax Brackets Set to Change in 2012 : Ready?

Take a minute and think about these changes from the IRS. Just where do you fall among the privileged or among those that will be asked to pay more in the new tax brackets?

What Income Tax Bracket Will You Be in for 2012?
In a new report, the Tax Foundation has calculated how much income taxpayers will need to have to be subject to each of the six individual tax brackets, based on the federal government's official inflation rate.
Single filers making between $35,350 and $85,650, for example, will be subject to the 25 percent marginal tax rate, while only those making $388,350 or more will be subject to the highest marginal rate of 35 percent.
Over the past 12 months inflation averaged 2.43 percent, which is slightly under the historical average since 1992, but significantly higher than the previous 12-month average of 1.48 percent.
This information is used to calculate federal tax parameters such as the standard deduction, personal exemption and tax bracket thresholds.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will use these to set withholding rates on wages throughout 2012 and for 2012 tax forms to be filed in early 2013.
In addition to tax bracket information, the report includes the expected changes in the standard deduction for the four categories of filing status (individual, head of household, married filing jointly and married filing separately) and the change in the personal exemption, which is set to rise from $3,700 to $3,800.
Even though taxpayers will not start filing their 2012 tax returns until January 2013, tax year 2012 parameters are needed in advance of 2012 so that the IRS can produce instructions for 2012 income tax withholding, which will begin in January. Therefore, the inflation adjustments for any tax year must be based on inflation data from portions of the previous two years.
Source: "What Income Tax Bracket Will You Be in for 2012?" Tax Foundation, September 15, 2011.

Class Warfare Agenda : Divide and Conquer

Should we expect anything different from a socialist? The authors last statement is the proper one in a class warfare agenda - just how much 'more' should the smart and aggressive individual pay before the socialists believe they have paid enough or what's 'fair'?

The answer is, of course, it will never be enough.

Class Warfare?
Source: David Freddoso, "Math Says Obama's Speech Was Class Warfare," Washington Examiner, September 21, 2011.

President Obama tried to blunt anticipated criticism of his remarks in his White House speech last Monday that proposed to raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires with a parenthetical: "This is not class warfare. It's math." But the actual math tells a very different story, says David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner.

In 2009, about 237,000 individual income tax filers reported adjusted gross income of $1 million or more. Taken together, these filers -- families and small businesses -- made a grand total of $722 billion, and paid $178 billion of that in income taxes.

Their effective federal income tax rate was 24.6 percent, between three and four times the effective rate on middle-income families that pull in $50,000 to $75,000 per year.
This million-plus crowd -- who comprise less than 0.2 percent of all taxpayers -- made 10.6 percent of all income in 2009 and paid 20.5 percent of all individual income taxes.

To be sure, the wealthy can and should pay more in taxes than the poor. The point here is that they already do pay more -- a lot more. So when we discuss tax increases on the wealthy, we aren't really talking about whether we should be letting "millionaires and billionaires" slide on their obligations to society. We are really talking about how disproportionately large their share of the tax burden has to become before liberals finally decide it is "fair," says Freddoso.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Productivity Not Stimulus Answers Recovery Questions

This is good stuff - this article corrects the misinformation about how we got out of the 'great depression' starting in 1929.

If we can't learn from histories past mistakes and successes, then we will never be able to succeed in the present or the future.

Stimulus and the Depression: The Untold Story
WSJ 9-26-2011

The U.S. doesn't need another war to revive the economy. We need a policy turnaround like the one in the late 1930s.

About one-half of President Obama's proposed $447 billion American Jobs Act consists of payroll tax holidays designed to boost spending and increase hiring. But these temporary policies will do little to jump-start the economy, much as earlier temporary economic Band-Aids, such as the 2009 stimulus, did little to improve the economy.

Proponents justify stimulus spending in part based on the widely held view that government-fueled increases in "aggregate demand" during FDR's New Deal ended the Great Depression and brought recovery. Christina Romer, former chairwoman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, has argued in op-eds that government should continue to spend for this reason. And in a 2002 speech as a Federal Reserve governor, current Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke claimed that monetary expansion and the turnaround from the deflation of 1932 to inflation in 1934 was a key reason that output expanded.

But boosting aggregate demand did not end the Great Depression. After the initial stock market crash of 1929 and subsequent economic plunge, a recovery began in the summer of 1932, well before the New Deal. The Federal Reserve Board's Index of Industrial production rose nearly 50% between the Depression's trough of July 1932 and June 1933. This was a period of significant deflation. Inflation began after June 1933, following the demise of the gold standard. Despite higher aggregate demand, industrial production was roughly flat over the following year.
The growth that followed the low point of the Depression was primarily due to productivity. Productivity is considered a supply-side factor by many economists: It is determined by the technology and regulatory structure of the economy and therefore is largely independent of spending policies.

The growth rate of real per capita output is the sum of the growth rate of per capita labor input and productivity growth. Increasing aggregate demand is supposed to increase output growth by increasing labor input. But between 1932 and 1934, the period that Mr. Bernanke cited in his speech, per capita real gross domestic product (GDP) growth was entirely due to productivity growth, as per capita total hours worked—a standard measure of labor input—was actually, according to our research, lower in 1934 than it was in 1932.

( See Above) A bread line forms at 42nd Street and Sixth Avenue in New York City on Feb. 1, 1932. One reason that many believe higher aggregate demand brought about by government spending programs and monetary expansion created recovery is because unemployment did decline between 1933 and 1937. But declining unemployment reflected significant work-sharing in New Deal policies that began in 1933 with the President's Reemployment Agreement and continued with the National Industrial Recovery Act of 1933 and the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.

Work-sharing increased employment by spreading jobs across more people. Spreading scarce jobs was probably desirable. But the key point is that higher aggregate demand didn't significantly expand the amount of work that was done. Productivity growth continued to be the major factor for the rest of the 1930s, accounting for about three-quarters of the growth in real per capita output that occurred between 1932 and 1939.

But despite rapid productivity growth, the economy remained well below trend because labor input failed to recover. In 1939, labor input as measured by total hours worked per adult was more than 20% below the 1929 level.

Per capita real GDP was about 27% below trend in 1939, with more than three-quarters of this shortfall due to the continuing depression in labor. Our research indicates that New Deal industrial and labor policies, such as the National Industrial Recovery Act and the Wagner Act (the National Labor Relations Act), were the main reasons. The NIRA, for example, fostered monopoly and raised wages well above underlying worker productivity by a quid pro quo arrangement of relaxing antitrust enforcement in exchange for industry paying substantially higher wages.

The Wagner Act substantially increased unionization and union power. This, in conjunction with government's toleration of sit-down strikes, in which union workers forcibly seized factories to stop production, increased wages further.

In the absence of these policies, we estimate that labor input would have been about 20% higher than it was at the end of the 1930s and would have returned the economy to trend by that time.
Productivity growth is overlooked today.

But as in the case of the Great Depression, economic growth since the trough of the Great Recession in June 2009 has been largely accounted for by productivity growth rather than the restoration of jobs. Following the recession's June 2009 trough, about 80% of real per capita GDP growth is due to growth in output per hour worked. And GDP growth is slowing now because productivity is no longer growing.

The economy began to recover following the New Deal because policy changed for the better. In a 1938 speech President Roosevelt acknowledged that some administration policies were retarding recovery. Economic policy shifted considerably around this time, and the economy boomed. Antitrust enforcement resumed. The fiercely controversial undistributed profits tax, which was retarding investment, was drastically reduced and then eliminated in 1939. The sit-down strike was declared illegal, and employers could fire sit-down strikers.

The policy changes in the late 1930s benefited the economy by increasing competition, by bringing wages more in line with productivity, and by improving the incentives for investing. Many assume that World War II spending singlehandedly brought the economy out of the Depression, but nearly half of the increase in nonmilitary hours worked between 1939 and the peak of the war already had occurred by 1941, well before the major wartime spending took place.

Policy can also improve today. The bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will make a recommendation by Nov. 23 to deal with future deficits. It has an outstanding opportunity to initiate broad-based tax reform that adopts the recommendations of most bipartisan tax reform commissions of the last 20 years: a simpler tax code that improves the incentives to hire and invest, broadens the tax base, lowers the corporate income tax, and also eliminates loopholes to equalize tax treatment of capital income. Sensibly addressing our long-run challenges will do more for the economy than continuing the stop-gap measures that have dominated policy-making for the last three years.

Mr. Cole is professor of economics at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ohanian is professor of Economics at UCLA and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. They are authors of "New Deal Policies and the Persistence of the Great Depression: A General Equilibrium Analysis" (Journal of Political Economy, 2004).

Monday, September 26, 2011

Jobs Bill Set for Relection Agenda

Little wonder the Obama administration is advancing short term fixes for our economic problems. It's all about getting reelected. His idea is to dump as much money into the system as he can right now to spur growth just long enough to fool people into believing the system is going in the right direction.

Then when he gets reelected, it's back to 'fundamentally' changing the country. That is, reducing America to what he sees as it's rightful place in the world, a third rate country among the other socialist also-rans. America's greatness, once and for all, destroyed.

American Jobs Act Will Produce Few Jobs
Source: David S. Logan, "Academic Research Suggests that the American Jobs Act Will Produce Few Jobs," Tax Foundation, September 19, 2011.

The American Jobs Act includes more than $250 billion in tax credits and incentives that are intended to induce more hiring and spur more consumer and business spending. The remainder of the package is dedicated to new spending on infrastructure and "make-work" projects, says David S. Logan, an economist at the Tax Foundation.

However, a review of the academic literature on these sorts of tax policies suggests that they will have little, if any, impact on spurring job creation or aggregate demand.
Indeed, because these temporary tax measures would be offset by some $460 billion in permanent tax increases, the whole package could actually do much more economic harm than good.

The Act's various incentives and a review of the economic research suggests that "jobs" incentives tend to be ineffective in spurring new hiring, while the three most recent "demand-side" tax cut plans failed to induce new consumer spending.

The business-expensing provision, while a good idea, will only have a modest impact on economic growth because of its temporary nature.

Additionally, while it is likely that the tax incentive portion of President Obama's plan would deliver few jobs and little economic growth, the permanent tax increases that "pay for" the tax cuts can do permanent harm to the economy.

Lawmakers should stop trying to jumpstart the economy in the short run and begin crafting policies that set the country on a long-term growth path. The economic evidence suggests that cutting our corporate and personal income tax rates while broadening the tax base would greatly improve the nation's prospects for long-term gross domestic product growth, while helping to restore Washington's fiscal health.

More importantly, these measures will lead to higher wages and better living standards for American citizens. And that should be the number one priority of any tax policy.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Jobs Bill Unworkable/Short Sighted : Reelection Strategy

It appears this administration is all about short term solutions. It seems the fix for all problems lies in what will be the best for reelection, especially this second election.

Formally known as a 'lame duck', he will be able to coast for four years playing golf, jetting to parties around the country or the world and, in general, be on vacation the entire time.

Everyone knows our president can't do much in his last four years as his party will be gearing up the the next election so he, the president, will be powerless to enact new legislation or commit the nation to any worth while endeavor.

So it is imperative that Mr. Obama do what ever he can to get reelected. What a fantastic time that will be for him. Wall to wall vacation at someone else's expense. It also means total chaos for America.

Jobs Act Might Be Worse than Nothing
Source: "Jobs Act Might Be Worse than Nothing," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, September 13, 2011.

In a moment, the narrative has switched from whether the president's jobs plan will do any good for the economy to whether the president's political opponents would allow his plan to do any good for the economy.

This is an unfortunate twist considering that there is no reason to believe that a collection of measures to temporarily increase after-tax household and corporate income, transfer more money to state and local governments, and change terms of unemployment insurance would reliably boost growth, says Economic Policies for the 21st Century. Businesses considering investment strategies today need policy certainty over the relevant business planning period.

The wild and sporadic government intervention of the last few years has left business managers and small business owners unable to form reliable expectations about the future of employment costs, tax rates, credit availability or labor relations.

Other uncertainties exist, including concerns over whether new competition will emerge, whether products will be embraced, and how the rise in taxes will impact business, access to capital or after-tax returns on investment.

The uncertainty impacts multiple levels of economic activity. Indeed, investors allocating capital across industries must speculate about how business leaders are going to respond to the policy uncertainty. No one can have much confidence in long-term financial plans, given the extraordinary level of economic uncertainty that the lack of action on these issues produces.

Rather than embrace the administration's calls for more fine-tuning, Congress should focus on generating even larger savings through the select committee on deficit reduction.

Larger spending reductions would provide businesses and households with some confidence that the government's share of the income from new investments will not rise substantially or render new projects uneconomic.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

ObamaCare Effect On ER Visits Unclear

Good study on the effects of ObamaCare on Emergency room use - it seems neither side for or against ObamaCare to help or hinder ER visits can be explained.

But given human nature for taking the path of least resistance, people will always gravitate to the down stream agenda, ER visit for the quick fix, rather then having to make the effort to arrange appoints and then wait to be service.

I believe this is just more of the 'lotto mentality' - instant riches, instant heath accommodation. People will always opt for the 'quick fix'.

Potential Effect of Health Care Reform on Emergency Department Utilization Not Clear
Source: Christopher Chen, Gabriel Scheffler and Amitabh Chandra, "Massachusetts' Health Care Reform and Emergency Department Utilization," New England Journal of Medicine, September 7, 2011.

Questioning a change in the frequency of hospital emergency department (ED) visits due to the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), experts have proliferated numerous contradictory predictions and explanations, say Christopher Chen of the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Gabriel Scheffler of Yale Law School, and Amitabh Chandra of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Suggesting that ED visits will increase, some experts cite two separate factors.
First, because the ACA will greatly reduce the cost of such visits, injured parties will have less hesitation about having themselves checked out in the emergency room.

Second, these experts claim that because the ACA will enable a greater number of people to see physicians, appointments will be more difficult to obtain and ED visits will serve as a fallback.

Other experts claim that greater health care coverage will reduce the frequency of ED utilization: because people will have more access to preventative care, problems will be fixed before they manifest themselves and emergency room visits will be avoided.

Nevertheless, 71 percent of emergency physicians said in 2010 that they expected ED visits to increase.

In order to compare these factors and gain a glimpse at possible end results, researchers recently performed a study of the health care sector in Massachusetts before, during and after its medical insurance reform.

Including both Vermont and New Hampshire to act as controls for general ED visit trends, the study found no conclusive evidence in favor of either argument.
Looking at a plot of ED visits over time for the three states, Massachusetts' trend suggests that it has had neither a notable increase not decrease in ED visits.

The researchers suggested that this ambiguous result could mean that none of the abovementioned factors are as important as they were made out to be, or, alternatively, the factors on either side exerted equal influence on the frequency of ED visits, causing minimal net change.
These results shed little light on the eventual results of the ACA, but it is at least clear that the answer is not as obvious as some suggest.

Obama's Own Press Turning On Him? : AP Fact Check

Maybe we can save our selves after all - this article is something I thought I would never see, a fact check by the Associated Press. Unbelievable!!

Has it come to this with the "One" having his own press turning against him? Don't hold your breath but this does seem like a little light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Are the Rich Taxed Less than Secretaries?
Source: Steven Ohlemacher, "Fact Check: Are the Rich Taxed Less than Secretaries?" Associated Press, September 20, 2011.

President Barack Obama makes it sound as if there are millionaires all over America paying taxes at lower rates than their secretaries. The data tell a different story, says the Associated Press.

On average, the wealthiest people in America pay a lot more taxes than the middle class or the poor, according to private and government data. They pay at a higher rate, and as a group they contribute a much larger share of the overall taxes collected by the federal government.

This year, households making more than $1 million will pay an average of 29.1 percent of their income in federal taxes, including income taxes and payroll taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

Households making between $50,000 and $75,000 will pay 15 percent of their income in federal taxes. Lower-income households will pay less.

For example, households making between $40,000 and $50,000 will pay an average of 12.5 percent of their income in federal taxes.

Households making between $20,000 and $30,000 will pay 5.7 percent.

Obama's claim hinges on the fact that, for high-income families and individuals, investment income is often taxed at a lower rate than wages. The top tax rate for dividends and capital gains is 15 percent. The top marginal tax rate for wages is 35 percent, though that is reserved for taxable income above $379,150.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Social Security 'Alternative' From Texas : It Works!

Social Security is not an 'end all' in and of it self. This 'Alternative' plan now in effect since 1983 is a good one. It has a few problems but nothing like the mess that Social Security is in now.

This is something we all should look at and demand our Representatives also consider as something that will save the safety net for many that would other wise be lost when retiring.

Another question, of course, is why should those that took the responsibility to prepare for the future be responsible for those that didn't?

In Galveston, an Alternative to the "Ponzi Scheme"
Source: Becca Aaronson, "In Galveston, An Alternative to the Ponzi Scheme," Texas Tribune, September 18, 2011.

Government employees in Galveston, Brazoria and Matagorda counties have controlled their private retirement plan for 30 years, called the Alternate Plan. They opted out of Social Security before Congress changed the law in 1983 to prevent others from withdrawing. Though the private program has its critics many in these counties consider their system superior, says the Texas Tribune.

In the Alternate Plan, retirement benefits are a direct result of employee contributions.
In each paycheck, employees contribute 13.9 percent of their gross pay (6.1 percent from the employee, 7.8 percent from the county) to a private account.

One company guarantees a minimum rate of return of 3.75 percent to 4 percent on the accounts to safeguard employees' benefits against inflation and severe drops in market rates.
Employees can elect to put their portion of the contributions into riskier investments, like mutual funds and stocks, potentially to generate more interest.

At retirement, employees in the Alternate Plan can choose to take the money in a lump sum, take monthly benefits for a given time period or take a lifetime annuity, with slightly reduced benefits.

Although both programs offer disability insurance, life insurance and retirement benefits, experts agree the methods and benefits provided by the programs are difficult to compare.
In a hypothetical calculation, an employee who earned $25,000 annually for 40 years could retire with a 20-year payout of $2,297 a month under the Alternate Plan. Under the same circumstances, an employee making $125,000 annually could retire with a payout of $11,490 a month.

Social Security benefits change depending on the yearly adjustment for inflation, the year of retirement, and the age of the worker. But at a maximum, a worker who retires in 2011 at age 66 could receive $2,366 a month in Social Security benefits.

The lump-sum option is one of the biggest problems in the Alternate Plan according to some. If retirees do not choose the lifetime annuity, they could outlive their benefits and end up wards of the state.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rare Earth Deposits Found In Nebraska : EPA To Attack?

What a great find and what a boost for the local community. But wait just a minute, I hate to throw cold water on such good news, but the question must be raised, how will this impact the environment? hmmmmm Mark my words, the environmentalists, progressive socialists, will descend on this community like flies on a road kill. This is a sure sign of prosperity for this community and it must be stopped at all costs.

And it will come as no surprise, the EPA will stop all operations until a proper 'environmental impact statement' can be done. Remember how long it takes to get a statement to build a nuclear power plant? It has taken 10 years or more and then when it was done, the EPA wouldn't allow the construction because, in there words, more research has come to light that indicates more analysis has to be done before licenses are rewarded. There hasn't been a new nuclear power plant built in this country in a decade or more.

Remember the coal industry complied with all rules and regulations demanded on that industry only to be told that now new rules must be complied with before they can go into operation. The new rules not only stopped new construction of coal fired power plants but it shut down many now if opertion and stopped mining operations for coal. More than 6000 lost their jobs as a result.

What is going on here is shutting down fossil fuel energy production and reducing America to a third world country. This is the agenda of the liberal progressive left socialists. They are at war with America. This is who they are!

Elk Creek Nebraska rare earth mineral find may be world’s largest and rivals
China deposits
From To Market News August 3, 2011.

“Elk Creek, Neb. (population 112), may not be so tiny much longer. Reports suggest that the southeastern Nebraska hamlet may be sitting on the world’s largest untapped deposit of “rare earth” minerals, which have proved to be indispensable to a slew of high-tech and military applications such as laser pointers, stadium lighting, electric car batteries and sophisticated missile-guidance systems.

Canada-based Quantum Rare Earths Developments Corp. last week received preliminary results from test drilling in the area, showing “significant” proportions of “rare earth” minerals and niobium.

The only people more excited than Quantum? The residents of Elk Creek, where nearly one in seven people live under the poverty line, but whose economy has been booming ever since the company showed up late last year to start laying the groundwork for a possible mining bonanza.
“It’s been a very, very positive experience for our community,” said state Sen. Lavon Heidemann, an Elk Creek farmer.

“When Quantum came in here, they put money in the local community. And any time you have money flowing in a small town, that’s a positive.”

The potential mining operation, the first in the U.S. in a decade, could have an international impact as well. U.S. officials and lawmakers in Congress have been eager to break the near monopoly on global production of the 17 rare-earth elements in China, which has shown its willingness to use its power in the market for political ends.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Middle Classes Move Up : Liberal Class Warfare Intensifies

The left will use anything it can to divide the population and the weapon of choice now is 'class', those that have and those that don't have. Class Warfare - Divide and Conquer - Chaos among the population is a good thing for the progressive liberal Democrats.

The believe they can use this to drive a wedge between the poor and middle classes which will foster hate and hopefully violence. Once this is established they will attack the rich, see Obama as we speak, demanding they are cheating the rest of us to gain their wealth which will unite the bottom classes against the top money makers.

The progressives liberal left Democrats have always used this tactic as a means to unite their base voters, but in the past it has been done from the shadows. Now the guy behind the curtain has exposed himself.

The hateful left progressives have moved into the light now, showing us all just who they are and what they intend for our country. Vote them out in November!

The Myth of Middle Class Stagnation
Source: Steve Conover, "The Myth of Middle Class Stagnation," The American, September 16, 2011.

Conventional wisdom says that the middle class hasn't caught a break for at least a decade and incomes have stagnated or declined. But new research corrects a misconception regarding middle-class income, and therefore should come as a pleasant surprise -- not just to members of the middle class, but also to pundits, journalists, and of course, politicians, says Steve Conover.

In the seven years from 2001-2007 (inclusive), not only did the middle class get at least its fair share of overall income growth, the income gap between the rich and the middle class actually got smaller.

In an apparent paradox, the same Census Bureau database that told us that median household income was essentially unchanged in 2007 versus 2000 also tells us that the middle class enjoyed a higher income growth rate than did either the overall economy or the rich -- and therefore that their income gap versus the rich had actually decreased.

The key lies in the difference between the "median household" versus the "middle class." The median household is a single theoretical household exactly in the middle of the entire income-ranked list of U.S. households. Conversely, the "middle class" has no official definition, but it is certainly tens of millions of households in size and presumably centered around the median household.

The Census Bureau booklet published in August 2008 was the source for the median household income statistic, but it also contained some clues that the median might not be telling us everything.

For example, the Gini index of income inequality, comparing 2000 versus 2007, indicated no discernable change in overall inequality.

A further clue was the Census Bureau's table titled "Share of Aggregate Income Received by Each Fifth and Top 5 Percent of Households," which clearly showed that the middle-income quintile (as well as the middle three quintiles -- whichever comes closer to one's preferred definition of "middle class") equaled or increased their share of aggregate income in 2007 versus 2000, while both the top quintile and the top 5 percent lost income share.

Indeed, the household income statistics for 2010, released this month confirm that the middle three quintiles maintained or increased their income share, while that of the top 5 percent decreased.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Payroll Tax Holiday : More Rhetoric No Substance

More boiler plate from our ignorant leader - but then it's not to stem the rise in unemployment or create jobs, this is about smoke and mirrors to confuse the base voters that are fleeing the 'one' in huge numbers. It appears our leader has only confusion left as a way to get reelected.

As Mr. Obama indicated when running for office in 2008, speeches are just words.

Doubling Down on the Payroll Tax Holiday Won't Create Jobs
Source: J.D. Foster, "Doubling Down on the Payroll Tax Holiday Still Won't Create Jobs," Heritage Foundation, September 8, 2011.

The August jobs report showing exactly zero net job creation and an unemployment rate hovering above 9 percent have reinforced the imperative among Washington policymakers to focus on job creation policies in the waning months of 2011.

The focus is certainly right, but most of the policies under consideration would produce the same results as President Obama's jobs policies to date: no additional employment. No policies under consideration today offer a greater assurance of failure than the proposal to extend the existing payroll tax holiday -- or to double down by extending that holiday to the so-called employer's share of the tax, says J.D. Foster, the Norman B. Ture Senior Fellow in the Economics of Fiscal Policy at the Heritage Foundation.

Payroll tax relief is intended to stimulate the economy in two ways, neither of which works:
First, payroll tax relief reflects the faulty Keynesian stimulus philosophy of putting money in people's pockets via tax breaks.

The second way a payroll tax holiday is supposed to stimulate the economy is by making labor less expensive to hire, thus leading to additional hiring, more output and increased incomes.
However, such assertions rely on faulty assumptions -- in this case that the tax is paid by the employer. Were that the case, then the removal of the tax would likely accomplish exactly what President Obama suggests.

However, the payroll tax is largely borne by the employee, both explicitly in the form of a Social Security tax and implicitly in the form of lower wages. Because the burden of the tax falls largely on workers, the expected financial return on work increases with the holiday. This will cause an increase in the supply of labor as more workers enter the workforce to take advantage of higher wages; but when there is high unemployment, increasing the supply of workers does nothing to increase the demand for workers, so it just means more unemployed workers.

Through these faults, the tax holiday would in fact have a net negative impact on employment, both by crowding out private sector investment and by attracting more jobless people into the workforce.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Moratage Modification Drives Uemployment Higher

No matter where one looks in this administration, there you will find dysfunction, financial ignorance and out right malice of thought. Not at any time in our history have so few done so much damage to our country as the progressive liberal Democrats that are now in power, not even the terrorists on 9/11 or the Japaneses attack on Hawaii, December 7th, 1941.

We survived all of these attacks, but we will not survive the attack that is in progress right now from the progressive socialist left in this country if we allow them to continue passed 2012.

The progressive Liberal left voters represent less than 20% of the population, yet they are driving the destruction of 235 years of American heritage. Why do we allow this to happen?

Labor Market Dysfunction during the Great Recession
Source: Kyle F. Herkenhoff and Lee E. Ohanian, "Labor Market Dysfunction during the Great Recession," National Bureau of Economic Research, September 2011.

A new paper by researchers Kyle F. Herkenhoff and Lee E. Ohanian of the National Bureau of Economic Research documents the abnormally slow recovery in the labor market during the Great Recession and analyzes how mortgage modification policies contributed to delayed recovery.

By making modifications means-tested by reducing mortgage payments based on a borrower's current income, these programs change the incentive for households to relocate from a relatively poor labor market to a better labor market.

Herkenhoff and Ohanian find that modifications raise the unemployment rate by about 0.5 percentage points and reduce output by about 1 percent.

This reflects both lower employment and lower productivity, which is the result of individuals losing skills as unemployment duration is longer.

Regulations Killing Economic Growth : The Obama Agenda

Please read this and then tell me Mr. Obama wants our economy to prosper. Tell me how he wants this country to survive.

Please explain why he should have another four years to leads us into complete and total social and financial chaos.

The Regulatory Tsunami
Source: Byron York, "New Report Cites 'Regulatory Tsunami' Under Obama," Washington Examiner, September 13, 2011.

According to a new report by the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee, the number and scope of federal regulations, along with the costs of those regulations and the number of federal regulators, are all growing.

This has occurred despite an executive order from President Obama that was touted as a measure to curb regulation that would "stifle job creation and make our economy less competitive," says the Washington Examiner.

The following data suggests a troubling reality of growing regulation:

The Obama administration has imposed 75 new major regulations costing more than $380 billion over 10 years.

There are 219 more economically significant regulations in the works that will cost businesses $100 million or more each year -- for a minimum cost of $21 billion over 10 years.

The number of pages in the Federal Register (where such regulations are recorded) regarding final rules rose by 20 percent between 2009 and 2010, and proposed rules have increased from 2,044 in 2009 to 2,439 in 2010.

Personal anecdotes from business owners as they confront various regulations demonstrate that the consequences of overregulation are very real and damage the ability of American businesses to compete.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Corporations Pay Taxes! IRS Data

Who Knew? I don't get it - the lettered TV news media and print media scream heads lines that say big corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes. Taking points for the left progressives, of course.

It's class warfare. Get the different classes of individuals fighting with each other, demanding the government level the playing field so we all can do better has always been the agenda of Democrat liberals.

The only difference that we see now with the rise in hate rhetoric, is the liberal progressive Democrats are coming out of the shadows to attack everyone out in the open as they see their voting base beginning to erode under the nightmare that is Obama.

Never before has the left Democrat liberals shown themselves so openly for all to see as hating everything and everyone that disagrees with them and their personal agenda, a pure European socialist democracy.

How will this effect the liberal progressive Democrats next November depends on the average voter understanding the consequences of four more years of Barack Obama. Or more to the point, deciding if they want the American dream to succeed or fail.

What Do Corporations Pay in Income Tax?
Source: William McBride, "Beyond the Headlines: What Do Corporations Pay in Income Tax," Tax Foundation, September 2011

A number of recent news stories and think tank reports have drawn attention to the amount of income taxes paid by large corpora­tions, says William McBride, an economist with the Tax Foundation. Stories such as these mislead the public. The largest corporations pay the lion's share of taxes. Data collected from Internal Revenue Service (IRS) corporate tax returns shows some of the following finds:

The effective U.S. federal corporate tax rate (taxes paid after deductions and credits) has averaged 26 percent between 1994 and 2008.

In 2008, the largest corporations (with assets greater than $2.5 billion) paid an effective corporate tax rate of just 21.2 percent.

In that same year, midsize and large corporations (those whose assets are within the ranges of $5 million to $100 million and $100 million to $500 million, respectively) paid effective tax rates of 32.5 percent and 31.7 percent, respectively.

While the differential between the rates paid by midsize and the largest corporations has given rise to the belief that the largest companies exploit substantial tax loopholes, the fact that large corporations conduct more business in foreign nations creates this divide -- not tax code abuse. Because income received by American companies from foreign operations is taxed by that foreign government, it cannot be double-taxed by the IRS. Therefore, these corporations .appear to pay a lower effective tax rate while still shouldering a comparable package of domestic and foreign taxes:

Taking into account taxes paid on foreign income, American corporations pay an effective tax rate between 32.1 percent and 33 percent, which is close to the statutory rate of 35 percent.
Some corporations actually pay an effective rate greater than 35 percent, if their foreign operations are located in a country with a higher corporate tax rate.

Even ignoring taxes to foreign governments, the 1,937 largest U.S. companies were responsible for 68 percent of corporate tax revenue in 2008.

This explanation answers squarely the accusation put forth in numerous headlines that the largest corporations dodge their share of the corporate tax burden. As is often the case in tax discussions, anecdotes do not tell the whole story.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

America's Principles Over Rules Politics : Cpl. Meyer

I am so proud to be an American when we hear a story like this. Political correctness could have gotten them all killed but for the strength of character, of not only Cpl Meyer, but all those that stood against politics and moved forward on principle.

God bless America!

Inside a village on the Pakistan border, America's defining values were on display. WSJ 9-15-11

President Obama will today award the Medal of Honor to Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer. In attendance will be a handful of soldiers and Marines who, one day in September 2009, were abandoned by their chain of command and relied on their own initiative to dislodge a fierce enemy. Their battle has entered military folklore and resulted not only in today's Medal of Honor but in two Navy Crosses, two investigations for dereliction of duty, three letters of severe reprimand, and a recommendation for a second Medal of Honor.

The setting was the remote Afghan village of Ganjigal, on the Pakistan border, where elders had requested aid in repairing a mosque. Hoping to win hearts and minds, a U.S.-trained Afghan battalion agreed to help. At dawn, about 100 Afghan soldiers and a dozen U.S. Marine advisers entered the valley where Ganjigal is found, picking their way up a narrow, rocky wash toward the stone houses dug into the far end.

It was a setup. Hidden inside the houses and along the wash were 60 jihadists from Pakistan. The ambushers opened fire with machine guns, mortars and rockets. Immediately the foot patrol was pinned down and taking casualties.

Back at the valley's entrance, 21-year-old Cpl. Meyer listened to radio calls for artillery fire that were refused by officers at higher headquarters due to concern for endangering villagers. Cpl. Meyer hopped into the gun turret of a Humvee and persuaded a fellow adviser, Sgt. Juan Rodriguez-Chavez, to drive him straight into the battle.
When the Humvee lurched into the wash, Cpl. Meyer saw the bodies of roughly a dozen Afghan soldiers strewn across the terrain, some dead and others crying. With bullets striking his truck, he leaped out, stuffed five wounded Afghans inside, and then hopped back up behind the machine gun and hammered away as the pulverized vehicle crawled out of the wash.
Associated Press

Marine Cpl. Dakota Meyer
Leaving the wounded in the rear, Cpl. Meyer and Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez swapped Humvees. This time the enemy was waiting in a dry streambed. Rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun bullets followed Cpl. Meyer as he repeatedly left his armored turret to load the truck with wounded Afghan soldiers. At one point, he shot a tall man with a black beard. When another leapt forward under the barrel of his machine gun, Cpl. Meyer grabbed his M4 rifle and shot him in the head.

"You'll have to kill me," he shouted in the rage of battle (he had expected to be killed, he told me a few days later at his outpost in Afghanistan), "because that's the only way you'll stop me."

When Cpl. Meyer and Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez again dropped off the wounded in the rear, they bumped into a backup American platoon in armored vehicles. The platoon refused to join them, so they went back in for a third time with no backup, driving into a torrent of automatic-weapons fire so a group of trapped American advisers could escape. Cpl. Meyer watched women and children darting among the houses, carrying ammunition to the jihadists.

Cpl. Meyer, a qualified sniper, was hit in the right elbow but continued to shoot left-handed until the feeling returned to his right hand. Over the radio, he listened to Capt. Will Swenson, an Army adviser who remained in the valley to fight, calling repeatedly for artillery fire, only to be rebuffed by headquarters.
Pulling back out, Cpl. Meyer took count. Four advisers were still missing. So he gathered those still willing to risk death. In addition to Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez and Capt. Swenson, an Afghan interpreter and Lt. Ademola Fabayo, another adviser, climbed into the truck with Cpl. Meyer.

An Army pilot in a tiny Kiowa helicopter, flying 10 feet above the ground, protected the Humvee from the rear. They drove back into the cauldron a fourth time. After seven hours of fighting, Cpl. Meyer found his four missing comrades, dead. At about the same time, the jihadists had collected their casualties and were trekking back into Pakistan.

Over the following months, two investigations resulted in three letters of reprimand for the unit commanders' failure to provide fire support. Bitterness about the battle and its aftermath lingered among the families of the five dead Americans. While Lt. Fabayo and Sgt. Rodriguez-Chavez received the Navy Cross from the Marine Corps, Capt. Swenson quietly resigned from the Army with no recognition for his valor.

Cpl. Meyer protested against that oversight. Last month, Gen. John R. Allen, the new commander in Afghanistan, re-opened the record of that tumultuous day in Ganjigal. Given the four-star general's personal interest, sworn statements attesting to Capt. Swenson's valor were quickly found. Gen. Allen has since forwarded a Medal of Honor recommendation, saying it was the right thing to do despite a lapse of two years.

As for Dakota Meyer, his Medal of Honor citation speaks for itself. Ignoring withering fire, he had carried 12 wounded Afghans to safety and covered the withdrawal of 24 other Americans and Afghans. He had killed at least eight enemy fighters. He would not be refused in battle.

Men do not suddenly acquire unshakable determination to face almost certain death. At the age of four, young Dakota wanted to drive the old tractor on the family farm in Kentucky. His father told him he had to be old enough to turn the hand crank. An hour later, the tractor roared to life—Dakota had repeatedly jumped from the tractor hood onto the crank until it turned over.

When he was five, he solemnly assured his grandmother that he would guard her against robbers. A rugged athlete in high school, he also tutored autistic students. He volunteered for Afghanistan as his second combat tour and risked death to rescue Afghans as well as Americans.
Cpl. Meyer set the example, but he could not have succeeded alone. Others of like mind joined him. Their shared tenacity wasn't rooted solely in fighting for their fellow squad members. In fact, the core group at the end of the fight didn't know each other that well. Capt. Swenson had only a passing acquaintance with Cpl. Meyer, while Lt. Fabayo and Sgt. Rodriquez-Chavez lived at a different base.

Today's ceremony should be a source of pride for all Americans, because Ganjigal wasn't about one warrior. Inside that village on the Pakistan border, the defining values of America—individual initiative, comradeship, valor and determination to prevail despite any odds—were on display.

Mr. West, a Marine infantryman in Vietnam, reports regularly from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Obama's Integrity/Honesty Questioned

I keep thinking our president will do something that will show that he really cares about our country. But with each passing day he seems to get worse, not better. This following from an unknown author seems to fit Barack Obama's agenda and his personal history.

"You cannot vulcanize integrity onto the tread of your soul." It would seem from Mr. Obama's performance in the last two and a half years in office he has no soul, so maybe in the end this quote wouldn't help.

Maybe this next one will be more to the point :

"A good man is guided by his honesty; the evil man is destroyed by his dishonesty."

Proverbs 11: 3 TBL

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Obama Stimulus A Total Waste of Money We Don't Have!

Wait a minute - didn't Obama say on TV that the 820 billion stimulus didn't actually work and the 'shovel ready jobs' weren't helped and there actually weren't any such shovel ready jobs? Oh, and he actually laughed about it!!

We do not have anymore money! It's all gone, wasted, flushed away into union coffers.

Now Obama wants 450 billion more for the same failed agenda. What is going on here? Why would anyone even consider voting for this guy given he is destroying our country? He knows this is happening but he apparently doesn't care. The question that remains, is he doing this on purpose?

Did Stimulus Dollars Hire the Unemployed?
Source: Garett Jones and Daniel M. Rothschild, "Did Stimulus Dollars Hire the Unemployed? Answers to Questions about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," Mercatus Center, September 2011.

To test the effect of job incentives included in the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (AARA), or stimulus package, researchers at the Marcatus Center conducted a survey of hundreds of firms, non-profit institutes and local governments to gather information on worker and employer behavior in response to certain provisions.

The findings include both predictable and surprising observations:
Just 42.1 percent of the workers hired at ARRA-receiving organizations after January 31, 2009, were unemployed at the time they were hired.

More were hired directly from other organizations (47.3 percent of post-ARRA workers), while a handful came from school (6.5 percent) or from outside the labor force (4.1 percent).
Only about half (47 percent) of responding ARRA-receiving organizations said it was easier to hire high-quality workers than before the financial crisis. The rest said hiring good people was either as hard as (41 percent) or harder than (12 percent) before the financial crisis of 2008.

Another interesting finding of the study involves the 1931 law that requires government contractors to pay union-scale wages on most federal projects, known as the Davis-Bacon prevailing wage standard. The stimulus package required this scale be used for 40 new types of projects.

According to the report:
The median respondent who reported Davis-Bacon wages were above the market level said that Davis-Bacon wages were 13.3 percent higher than market wages.
Six percent more workers could have been hired on Davis-Bacon projects, and more roads could have been repaved, more houses insulated and more levees repaired if ARRA-receiving organizations could have paid market wages. A suspension of Davis-Bacon would perhaps have created 55,000 additional federally funded jobs.

The study ultimately concludes that attempts to target and stimulate certain industries through government spending are less effective than one might expect. Too little attention was paid to the short-run effects of spending on hiring decisions, leaving much to be desired in some of the legislation.

Health Care 'Single Payer" Law to Cost MORE, Not Less

You know something is bad when it comes to politics if a proposal by Democrats, and claimed to be for the middle class, goes up in smoke at the hands of a Democrat.

Former Gov. Doyle, an 'over the top' liberal Democrat, wanted this report to show how everyone would save money under a 'single payer' program, but the results show just the opposite. Worse, it provided ammunition for the Republicans to say, 'see we told you so".

Oh no! Republicans are right again. Little wonder then why Scott Walker won the election last year. You can lie to the people for a long time, but then they wake up the lie and vote Republican.

Health Law Will Increase Costs
Source: "It's Going To Hurt," Investor's Business Daily, September 7, 2011.

Yet another study finds that the new health care law ("ObamaCare") is going to increase costs. And this one wasn't issued by an opponent of the Democrats' reforms. In fact, one of its authors is an ObamaCare apologist, says Investor's Business Daily.

In an effort to determine how ObamaCare would affect Wisconsin, the state's Health Services Department commissioned Gorman Actuarial and economist Jonathan Gruber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to assess the program. The review was ordered up by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, a faithful ObamaCare supporter who has claimed the law will control health care costs. Under its "Key Findings" heading, the report says the market for individual policies "will experience premium increases as compared to pre-reform premiums."

"Prior to the application of tax subsidies, 87 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 41 percent," says the report.

"The average increase for the entire individual market will be 30 percent."

Even subsidies won't help much. The report says that after subsidies, "59 percent of the individual market will experience an average premium increase of 31 percent."

Also in line for increased costs is the small employer group, 53 percent of which "will experience a premium increase as compared to pre-reform premiums." The average premium among those who belong to this group will go up by 15 percent.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

National Endowment for Arts Funding : Just More Politics

Right on!! This short article is about what is important in today's busy and tight world of less money in the pockets of the individuals and feeding the elite's over blown egos.

In the past it was so easy to take money from the public treasury and give to the National Endowment for the Arts, NEA, especially to those that support your personal agenda that produced highly politicized art of all kinds.

Some of the products that these political hacks brought to the market place were so offensive that the general public found it completely out of bounds. They screamed 'enough' to their Representatives. Did it matter? nah. What could the average Joe know about real art that the elites didn't know.

As long as the progressives left is in control, the arts will be bastardized. As long as the liberal Democrats have anything to say about who or what gets funded, nothing will change. As result of progressive influence, the money continues to flow.

The next question that follows is, where are the Conservatives on this issue?

What's Wrong with Government Funding of the Arts?
Source: Lawrence Reed, "What's Wrong with Government Funding of the Arts," Freeman Online, September 2011.

People who oppose Soviet-style collective farms, government subsidies to agriculture or public ownership of grocery stores because they want the provision of food to be a private matter in the marketplace are generally not dismissed as uncivilized or uncaring. But people who oppose government funding of the arts are frequently accused of being heartless or uncultured, says Lawrence Reed, president of the Foundation for Economic Education.

The fact that the arts are wildly buffeted by political winds is actually a powerful case against government funding. Art is too important to depend on politicians, too critical to be undermined by politicization. Furthermore, expecting government to pay the bill for it is a cop-out, a serious erosion of personal responsibility and respect for private property.

What multiplier? Virtually every interest group with a claim on the treasury argues that spending for its projects produces some magical "multiplier" effect.

Routing other people's money through the government alchemy machine is supposed to somehow magnify national wealth and income, while leaving it in the pockets of those who earned it is somehow a drag.

Those "studies" that purport to show X return on Y amount of government investment in the arts are generally a laughingstock among economists -- the numbers are often cooked and are almost never put alongside competing uses of public money for comparison.

Meaningful money.

Those of us who wish to nurture the arts privately stress other, far more important values.
Money that comes voluntarily from the heart is much more meaningful than money that comes at gunpoint.

What's important.

Art is just about everything to some people, especially those whose living derives from it.
But as adults we have to resist the temptation to think that what we are individually doing is somehow the greatest thing since sliced bread and that therefore it must receive more than what people willingly give it.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Electromagnetic Pulse Attack a Real Threat?

The Electromagnetic Pulse, EMP, attack is real and has been a threat for a long time. But like most everything else that is a future crisis, the deficit and debt, we only give it lip service until the crisis arrives and then, of course, it's mostly to late to solve the problem. As this article points out, an EMP attack will be mostly our last problem to solve.

Will the congress actually take the EMP threat seriously and pass the bill, the Sheild Act, HR 668, to protect our electrical grid? I can't imagine they will. If they can't even take a few minutes to stop the 'light bulb' bill from becoming law next year, how will they ever spend time to save the country from some kind of 'could happen' threat from a third world maniac.

Iran and the EMP Threat
We are not prepared for an electromagnetic pulse attack. Iran is almost prepared to launch one. (Also read: "Lawsuit: Iran behind 9/11?") Pajamas Media
September 12, 2011 - 12:00 am - by 'Reza Kahlili'

The first thing they will notice is there is no power. Another damn power outage, they will grumble — but then again, there has been no storm. Confused, some will try to call for information, but the phones will be down. The TV, the radio — nothing, no reception.
The panic will come when cars won’t start. The traffic lights will be out, too. It will get much worse. Most will not survive to see life get back to normal in America.

Thousands will be stranded on subways, and over a million passengers who fly daily across the continent will be stuck at airports with flights canceled. Those already in the air will meet a deadly fate as planes plunge from the sky, their electronics fried. Within the next few days, water supplies will run out: water-pumping stations will grind to a halt and electric pumps for water purification will also stop. Remaining water supplies will soon become contaminated.
Next is the food supply. Without power, food plants can no longer operate, and without transportation, food inventories in warehouses rot. Many cities will run out of food in just three days, others in just a bit longer.

This will be the result of an electromagnetic pulse attack over the atmosphere of the United States. In less than a billionth of a second, the electrical intensity on Earth becomes so hot that microchips fry, power lines overload, and the electrical grid collapses. Everything with microelectronics in it fails.

Within days, tens of millions of Americans will need to leave their homes looking for water and food. Within five to 10 days, due to water pollution and sanitation issues, many will fall ill — people across America will face starvation, disease, and death. In just one year after the attack, up to two-thirds of the American population will cease to exist.

Our enemies know this. The radicals ruling Iran have openly talked about it as they have called for the destruction of America and a new world order that excludes America. While pursuing their nuclear bomb project, the Revolutionary Guards of Iran have successfully test-launched a ballistic missile from a ship in the Caspian Sea. Recently, they also announced that all their vessels now have been armed with long-range ballistic missiles, and that soon they will start a mission in the Atlantic Ocean that extends into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Guards have also progressed with their missile program under the guise of a space project. Soon they will launch another rocket into space, this time carrying a 330-kilogram payload, a sign that they can now deliver a nuclear warhead to any point on Earth. The Guards have openly stated that the rocket used to launch the satellite can be shot parallel to the Earth’s orbit, which would transform it into an intercontinental ballistic missile.

The Islamic leaders of Iran see it as their duty to create the environment called for in a centuries-old hadith for the reappearance of the last Islamic messiah for the glorification of Allah:
In the last days chaos, famine and havoc will engulf the Earth. Major wars with dark clouds (atomic wars) will burn the Earth. One-third of the Earth’s population will be killed and the rest will suffer hunger and lawlessness.

Though an EMP attack on America by the jihadists in Tehran must not be ruled out, our modern society in America could also be endangered by a natural phenomenon. Solar explosions from the sun have hit the Earth before and will do so again. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has predicted that a major solar storm could hit in May of 2013. A similar storm in 1859, known as the “Carrington event,” hit telegraph offices worldwide, causing failure in the telegraph system. Today such an event could be catastrophic due to the role microchips play in our infrastructure.

We can avoid such catastrophes if we, as responsible citizens of the United States, take action. The SHIELD Act (H.R. 668), currently before the U.S. House, needs to be passed this year. If it isn’t, it could very well be too late to protect the national electric grid. The SHIELD Act would empower the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to work with industry and other government departments and agencies to protect the national electric grid from EMP threats. The act would ensure that the United States has enough extra-high-voltage transformers to survive and recover from an EMP event.

The act also would provide a financial mechanism to pay for the protection of the grid. The FERC estimates that the cost for protecting the electric grid would add only 20 cents to the annual bill of the average rate-payer for a period of three years.

It is critical that we call on our political leaders to take action and protect America. If we fail, we have only ourselves to blame.

The next attack on America could very well be the end of America.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Ford GT Ride of A Life Time!!

My ride in a Ford GT at speed

Okay - a dream come true! I have always loved this car, a Ford GT, from the minute I laid eyes on it years ago. It has the lines and look that can keep one awake at night dreaming of just being able to even touch one. This all started a year ago when I came in contact with an individual that has one and I got to have my picture taken while standing and touching it. Yikes! Never in my wildest dreams did I believe I would get to ride in one at racing speeds.

As these shots show, I got to ride in one of the fastest cars on earth , and the ride I got was something from the most far out dreams anyone could have in the right seat of a car that is out of touch with reality. Now the story that I will never, ever forget.

After I got in, I looked for the seat belts but he said don't worry about that, we crash they won't help. Oh, okay.

With my hands in my lap, I did look for a 'cheater bar' but why would a car like this have something like that? Then with all this nonsense aside, we rolled out of the parking lot, down the drive way and eased out into the street. With about 2 inches of clearance, he had to be sure the car would clear the gutter at the end of the driveway. But that's where the sanity stopped.

After turning into the straight, he hit the accelerator and I was slammed back into the seat with such force that we could have been hit from behind by a car going 60 mph. My vision narrowed as the ground went from zero to so fast that I had no time to realize we were headed for a 90 degree turn.

At a speed I thought we would never make the corner, he was hard on the brakes, down shifted, slammed into the corner at a speed I thought was undoable but around we went, hit the next gear for the straight, engine screaming out for more, accelerating again faster and faster until we approached the next corner, and again I thought 'oh shit' here we go again.

Like some tin horn from the sticks, this time I grabbed the sides of the seat for security, how foolish is that, but it did help me from hitting the door. In hind sight, I lost some face on that move.

But like the last time, he was hard on the brakes, down shifted, accelerating hard through the corner, the car flat and level, then shooting out into the straight like a cannon. With the engine screaming out with a tone that makes your heart sing and your eyes bleed, we shot ever faster down the straight until we saw the stop sign. Woha. Never fear, hard on the brakes, no dipping down of front end, just unbelievable stopping power.

At the stop sign, some guy was waiting on a bike to cross the street. He had the look on his face when we came to a complete stop like, 'what the f---!is this'

I would like to think the expression on my face the whole time was one of absolute delight, but maybe it was one of facing my own demise, at speeds never dreamed of experiencing. Of course I didn't think about this until long after the ride. But considering the worst, having this note on my tomb stone," Killed at speed in Ford GT" Now how cool would that be. heh

Federal Reserve Rules? Free Enterprise?

This is interesting - it is common knowledge that the Federal Reserve should not be the one to dictate economic policy but it should come from setting 'free enterprise' loose to do what it can to bring the economy back, just as it always has in the past. Freedom always works.

If history is any indicator of what our future will be, less regulation, less government more freedom to build a dream will be the answer to our problems.

Is the U.S. Economy Freefalling?
Source: Vincent R. Reinhart, "Is the U.S. Economy Freefalling?" American Enterprise Institute, August 2011.

An examination of the 15 worst financial crises in the second half of the 20th century show that economies persistently perform poorly after a financial crisis, with real gross domestic product (GDP) growth 1.5 percentage points slower in the decade after the crisis than in the one before. In 10 of the 15 cases, the unemployment rate did not return to its pre-crisis low for the entire decade after the fall.

The United States is contending with an expected painful deleveraging cycle and excessive regulation that slows growth, but we may not have laid the foundation for sustained expansion.

Real per-capita output is still 2.2 percent off its 2006 level, and effective fiscal consolidation and true tax reform are unlikely to come out of Congress in the run-up to the 2012 elections. Vincent R. Reinhart, a former director of the Federal Reserve Board's Division of Monetary Affairs and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, would put the chance that the U.S. economy slips into another recession within a year at about 4 in 10.

Key points in Reinhart's study:

The United States is experiencing the expected aftershocks of a financial crisis: a painful deleveraging cycle, bad mortgage loans that continue to drag down economic growth and excessive regulation in the form of Dodd-Frank.

But contrary to expectations, the United States may not have laid the foundation for sustained expansion, with real per-capita output still 2.2 percent below its 2006 level; the chance that the economy slips into another recession within a year is about 4 in 10.

With multiple European governments on the brink of default and Washington divided squarely along partisan lines, successful fiscal policy will be hard to implement. The Federal Reserve should declare that it will keep policy accommodative as long as its forecast falls short of its objectives, thereby encouraging risk taking by investors.

The severity of the recent economic shock shows that quick and forceful action by regulators did not prevent the U.S. economy from placing in the lower tier of recoveries. The best course of action is for the Federal Reserve to explain that it will keep policy accommodative as long as its forecast falls short of its objectives. Accommodation should be read generously to include the Fed's balance sheet as well as its policy rate. Purchases of Treasury securities could nudge investors toward accepting more risk and so encourage economic growth.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

ObamaCare Surpirse? : No Tax Credits in Exchanges

Oh WOW - who knew? No tax credit for people that op for the federal exchange? This is no over sight on the feds part. It's the standard operating procedure by this administration, write the rules, set the standard but hide the details until it too late to do anything about it.

Remember Nancy Pelosi's statement, " we have to pass this bill to find out what's in it"? That statement says volume's about who the progressive left Democrats are. It should also be pointed out, given how Obama and his extreme left ilk are shouting for bipartisan commitments on every proposal he thinks up, the progressive Democrats slammed the door on the Republicans during the ObamaCare roll out.

The Republican had no input in writing of the heath care bill. None!

So it shouldn't come as a surprise we are finding all sorts of tricks in the heath care bill. After all it wasn't written on the spur of the moment, this was in works for a decade or more. They have been waiting for just the right moment to drop this disaster on the public.

The economic panic in 2008 was the perfect time. "A crisis shouldn't be wasted. We can do things now we could never do before" Rahm Emanuel, chief of stall for Barack Obama.

No Health Care Tax Credit via Federal Exchanges?
Source: David Hogberg, "Oops! No ObamaCare Tax Credit via Federal Exchanges?" Investor's Business Daily, September 7, 2011.

Because of a quirk in the new health care law ("ObamaCare"), people who buy health insurance through a federally run exchange may not be eligible for premium subsidies, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

Government-created exchanges are places for individuals to shop and purchase health insurance. ObamaCare will require individuals and families to buy insurance, starting in 2014.
Those with incomes at 100 percent to 400 percent of the federal poverty level will be eligible for a tax credit to help pay for the premium.

But it turns out that the legislation isn't so clear -- the latest example of what analysts predicted would be a stream of surprises from the mammoth health law.

Section 1311 of ObamaCare instructs state governments to set up an exchange. If a state refuses, Section 1321 lets the federal government establish an exchange in the state.
Yet ObamaCare states that the tax credit is available to people who are enrolled in an "an exchange established by the state under (Section) 1311." It makes no mention of people enrolled in federal exchanges being eligible for the tax credit. This could be a big problem, as some states probably won't set up and run exchanges.

Governors in Alaska, Florida, Louisiana and Texas have said they won't. Kansas and Oklahoma have also signaled they won't by returning federal funds meant to be used to establish an exchange. Other states seem to be dragging their feet.

States could be left with disgruntled residents who can't tap tax credits to help pay for insurance they're forced to buy, says IBD.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

SEC Attacking "Fracking" for Gas : Bad Investment?

First it was, and still is, the EPA that was attacking the energy industry on all fronts. Now joining the EPA is the SEC and their idea is to show investors fracking is not in the best interests of the country, causing water and air pollution, and therefore not a good investment. The agenda of the SEC is to cut off funding for companies using fracking to produce natural gas, i.e., destroy the industry.

What other department of the federal government can the progressive left Democrats use to stop energy production?

Read this as just another attack on energy production of any kind, especially fossil fuel production. There isn't any information available to substantiate problems with air or water contamination so the SEC, maybe even ordered by the White House, to dig up any problem that might have occurred in the last 60 years that the progressive left Democrats can use to stop fracking for natural gas.

The environmental fascist and progressive liberal left Democrats will leave no stone unturned to stop this country from economic success and the advancement of individual freedom and the best way, they believe, is to kill the production of fossil fuel.

Securities and Exchange Commission Bears Down on Fracking
Source: Deborah Solomon, "SEC Bears Down on Fracking," Wall Street Journal, August 25, 2011.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is asking oil and gas companies to provide it with detailed information about their use of a controversial drilling process used to crack open natural gas trapped in rocks. Some lawmakers and environmental watchdogs have criticized the process of hydraulic fracturing (or "fracking"), which involves pumping water, chemicals and sand underground to free difficult-to-reach natural gas in shale basins, says the Wall Street Journal.

Their concerns are that air and water may be contaminated when the process causes natural gas to seep into residential water wells. But there have been few if any documented cases of contamination by the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing. The industry acknowledges that improperly constructed wells can allow gas to escape, but says such cases are rare and aren't directly tied to fracturing itself.

Additionally, the SEC is seeking information on chemicals used and efforts by companies to minimize environmental impact.

While the Environmental Protection Industry is collecting information about the process, the SEC has explained that its involvement in fracking cases is meant to insure that investors are being told about risks a company may face related to its operations, such as lawsuits, compliance costs or other uncertainties.

The SEC is also investigating whether companies are overstating the long-term productivity of their natural-gas wells and has issued subpoenas to at least two firms.

Fracking is primarily regulated by states and is largely exempt from some federal statutes, such as the Safe Water Drinking Act.

Climate Change Fraud Costing Trillions

The insanity of climate change is something beyond comprehension. With all of the information available showing this to be a fraud, why do so many people and politicians from both sides of the aisle still insist that it's true? The more important question that remains, what will it take to stop this stealing of our tax dollars?

Oh wait, I know. Vote out the progressive left Democrats!!

The Alarming Cost of Climate Change Hysteria
Source: Larry Bell, "The Alarming Cost Of Climate Change Hysteria," Forbes, August 23, 2011.

Climate change spending won't slow any time soon, says Larry Bell, a professor at the University of Houston. Indeed, there are several indications of substantial spending increases on climate change:

According to the Government Accountability Office, annual federal climate spending has increased from $4.6 billion in 2003 to $8.8 billion in 2010, amounting to $106.7 billion over that period.

Technology spending, the largest category, grew from $2.56 billion to $5.5 billion over this period.

An addition $79 billion was spent for climate change technology research, foreign aid and tax breaks for "green energy."

Subsidies intended to encourage greenhouse gas emission reductions accounted for $7.2 billion in federal revenue losses during 2010 alone.

Additionally, the Small Business Administration estimates that compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations costs the U.S. economy more than $1.75 trillion per year, though the Competitive Enterprise Institute estimates that the annual cost is closer to $1.8 trillion when an estimated $55.4 billion regulatory administration and policing budget is included.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the proposed 70 percent cut in carbon dioxide emissions will have negative economic consequences as well, including:

A rise in gasoline prices of 77 percent over baseline projections.

The loss of more than 3 million jobs.

A reduction in the average household income by more than $4,000 each year.

In addition to costing hundreds of billions of dollars, these policies are in place at a time when our gross national deficit following a ceiling rise exceeds the size of our gross domestic product, and the U.S. credit rating has been devalued for the first time in history.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Debt Problems for Older Americans

Goodness! It would seem that people in this age group come from a generation that knew something about life and consequences. But according to this article, many didn't learn the most important lessen of all, "there is no free lunch". Plan for the future now or you'll not have a future.

So it seems there are more people than first thought who believe personal responsibility was a thing of the past. The 'me' generation's chickens have come home to roust.

Debt Hobbles Older Americans
Source: E.S. Browning, "Debt Hobbles Older Americans," September 7, 2011.

Most people used to pay off their debts before retiring. But as wages have barely kept up with rising prices over the past 35 years Americans have pushed debt higher, living beyond their means. Now, people are postponing retirement, cutting living standards or both, says the Wall Street Journal.

All kinds of debt held by this age group have risen, but the big problem is mortgages.
Thirty-nine percent of households with heads aged 60 through 64 had primary mortgages in 2010 and 20 percent had secondary mortgages, according to research group Strategic Business Insights' MacroMonitor.

That was up from just 22 percent and 12 percent, respectively, in 1994.

Debt isn't the only issue clouding retirement prospects. People aren't saving enough either.
As calculated in a Wall Street Journal article earlier this year, the typical American household nearing retirement with a 401(k) retirement account has less than one-quarter of what it needs in that account to maintain its standard of living in retirement.

Four out of five households with heads in their early 60s and with mortgages had too little savings in 2008 to pay off debts without dipping into retirement accounts, according to Boston College economist Anthony Webb.

Debt levels of older Americans have been rising for more than two decades. Indeed, of households with heads aged 62 through 69 and with mortgages, the median amount of mortgage debt hit $71,000 in 2007, five times the 1987 inflation-adjusted median, according to a study by William Apgar, then at Harvard's Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Green Regulations Squeezes Quality of Life

Just what are Obama's ideas for the economic health of the country? Before the election he stated he wanted to destroy the coal industry, but no one took him seriously and with good reason. No one, in there right mind, would do such a thing on purpose. Our entire existence is dependent on coal fired energy. Right? Nearly 55% of all electricity in this country comes from coal fired plants.

Well he wasn't joking then and he isn't joking now about the destruction of all fossil fuel production of electricity in this country and long before there are any realistic alternatives.

If we elect him to another 4 years in office, I wonder how that will effect America's future economic growth as well as how it will impact our quality of life?

Cost of Clean Air
Source: "Cost of Clean Air," Investor's Business Daily, September 2, 2011.

On the Friday before Labor Day, President Obama withdrew drafted rules intended to cut smog levels, says Investor's Business Daily (IBD).

The regulation would have limited ground-level ozone to between 60 and 70 parts per billion.
That's down from the 75 parts per billion, which was good enough in March 2008, when the Bush administration last set new ozone rules, and the 80 parts per billion set by the Clinton White House.

The green lobby pretends the environmental rules it peddles don't hurt the economy. Yet we have an implicit admission from a president tied to that lobby that the economic benefits of scuttling a regulation are greater than the regulation's ecological benefits.
Obama said he set aside proposed Ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standards in the interest "of reducing regulatory burdens and regulatory uncertainty, particularly as our economy continues to recover."

The smog rule was one of seven new regulations the White House acknowledges would cost more than $1 billion each year. This particular regulation is projected to cost from $19 billion to as much as $90 billion a year. Everyone wants clean air. But clean air isn't free. The costs required to meet clean air standards can mean lost jobs, higher consumer costs and lost economic opportunity, all of which bring their own negative health effects.

Federal fuel economy standards are a particularly glaring example of the high costs of efforts to mandate cleaner air. So that they can meet those standards, automakers have been forced to build smaller, lighter cars. This has led to an increase in traffic deaths as the down-sized cars have not fared well in collisions with heavier cars, trucks and fixed objects.

The president, who as a candidate promised his regulatory regime would bankrupt new coal-fired power plants, made the right decision on the ozone rule. But it's just one in a jungle of rules, both written and proposed, to which a machete must be taken, says IBD.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Clean Energy Demands a Smoke Screen

More "boiler plate rhetoric" from the left progressive Democrats. The environmentalist wackos believe they must gain control of all aspects of energy consumption to secure their place in the power structure. Without such control the entire agenda of the left progressives is lost.

As everyone has witnessed in the press the last few days, the fear from the left is manifested in outright hate speech against the Republicans and the Tea Party. The Republicans and the Tea Party participants what common sense solutions that will benefit the country. As a result, the progressives fear they are losing the battle and the war for control of the countries resources which means they lose control of the population.

As seen in Wisconsin, the left and the unions are on a rampage to stop the state from succeeding in controlling all aspects of government. If the state succeeds in become solvent and jobs start coming back, all is lost for the progressive Democrats.

The Reality behind Clean Energy Standards
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "Not Free to Choose: The Reality behind Clean Energy Standards," American Enterprise Institute, August 23, 2011.

Climate activists failed to achieve comprehensive greenhouse gas controls in the United States in the form of a cap-and-trade program. And while they pursue incremental greenhouse gas regulation at both the federal and state level, they have not given up on their Holy Grail of a comprehensive national regime to control greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, they have rebranded their campaign, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The current incarnation of the greenhouse gas agenda is hidden in the campaign for a national Clean Energy Standard, or CES. Other terms for this approach are Renewable Energy Standards (RES), or, even more obliquely, Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS). While many states have already implemented such standards, the push now is for federalization.

What they all come down to, at the end of the day, is a governmental mandate that energy utilities must buy and distribute a certain percentage of energy that comes from so-called "clean" sources, such as wind power, solar power, nuclear power, "clean coal," and so on.

Here's why Clean Energy Standards are a bad idea:

They are hidden energy taxes.
They are hidden subsidies.
They are hidden greenhouse gas controls.
They are hidden technology standards.
They decrease consumer choice.

The new stealth approach to energy policy being pushed under the guise of a Clean Energy Standard is frankly dishonest, says Green.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Mortage Disaster : Government Involvement

This shouldn't come as a surprise - the government is making the housing problem worse and is the cause of the problem in the first place.

If you remember, this all started with Clinton, or even before him with Carter. The Republicans are not guiltless here as well. Bush thought home ownership should be something everyone could achieve. Bush did go to congress on several occasions and told them to this policy was headed in the wrong direction.

But it was Clinton who forced the issue by driving banks to loan to anyone that had a pulse. The borrower didn't need an Social Security number, speak English or even the ability to write their own name.

It got so bad that when banks screamed that this would lead to a disaster, the justice department, under the guiding hand of Sec. Janet Reno, threatened them with suits unless they continued to lend to everyone even knowing individuals could never pay the money back.

Nearly 5 million loans were made to individuals that had no SS number. Fannie and Freddie bought the bad loans from the banks, sold them the everyone around the world which caused a world financial crisis.

Many individuals were buying several homes at the same time, "flipping" is the term for buying several homes then trying to sell them at a profit. Well we all know all this turned out. Worse, most everyone knew this would happen and they were right. It was just politics?

Housing Market Problems and Solutions in a Nutshell
Source: Anthony Randazzo, "Housing Market Problems and Solutions in a Nutshell," Reason Foundation, August 31, 2011.

There are a million things being said about the housing market and about a dozen different interpretations of the data. On top of it all there are several different programs being discussed by the White House as solutions to the market turmoil. So what is going on? Anthony Randazzo, director of economic research at the Reason Foundation, provides a snapshot.

Ignoring household debt does not make it go away. Before we are going to see consumer confidence and demand return in force, household debt needs to fall.

There are four ways that debt can be lowered: (1) Programs that incentivize high debt like the mortgage interest deduction could be cut; (2) The default and foreclosure crisis could be allowed to accelerate its current course; (3) Wages could rise dramatically and the unemployment rate could fall; (4) The Federal Reserve could inflate away the problem. A combination of the first two possibilities in this list would be the best policy approach by the White House and Congress.

It's the housing programs.

There are two big "ideas" on the table right now to try and solve the housing mess. Both would simply perpetuate the problem, says Randazzo.

First, a refinancing program that would essentially let homeowners whose mortgages are owned by Fannie and Freddie get lumped into a universal refinancing deal, setting their interest rate at today's extreme lows of around 4 percent.

Second: Selling government sponsored enterprise homes to create a national rental program.

In summary, we are in a bad place in terms of the housing metrics and household debt is holding us back. Overall, the government has created more problems in housing and failed to address the real problems in the system with its programs, a significant reason why the housing market climate is so stormy at the end of August 2011. The only thing our government hasn't tried is the free market approach, says Randazzo.