Thursday, August 30, 2012

Employment Numbers 'Smoke and Mirrors'

The labor market is being used by the progressive's to proclaim the employment of the population is going well when in reality it is going down, getting worse even though the media trots out figures that shows improving or at least static employment rates.  

This article is on the mark, but this information has been out to the general public, that is those that have been paying attention to the fine print and information sources other then the 'lame stream media', for years. Talk radio was this from the beginning of America's decline.   

Better Way to Track Unemployment
Source: R. David Ranson, "A Better Way to Track Unemployment," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 2012.

Reports of lower unemployment rates are often misleading because they don't take into account several factors such as discouraged workers -- those that have not looked for work in the past four weeks - and people whose unemployment benefits have dried up, says R. David Ranson, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Recent encouraging reports about the reduction in the unemployment rates are the result of misleading definitions of what unemployment is. A better avenue of calculating the rate of employment would be to check the ratio between the employed and the population of the working age. The complement of the ratio between the employed and the working age population, called the not-employed rate, is equally objective, and supplies a transparent indicator of improving or deteriorating labor market conditions.

The not-employed rate also includes those that are in the military, full-time home care-givers, the retired, those in school, etc.

•Nearly 60 percent of the civilian population of working age was employed as of June 2012.
•However, 41.4 percent of the population was not-employed as of June 2012.
•Before the recession, the not-employed rate was at 37 percent, meaning the not-employed rate must drop nearly 5 percentage points to justify a claim of complete recovery.

The recovery of the U.S. labor market is even slower than many people are aware. The decline in the headline unemployment rate from 9.1 percent a year ago to 8.2 percent in June 2012 sounded encouraging. But it may exaggerate the improvement.

Indeed, the next month the unemployment rate rose slightly to 8.3 percent. Interpretation of this headline unemployment number is clouded by the exit of unemployed people from the labor force as their unemployment benefits have run out, as well as by a general "discouragement" of would-be workers.

Definitions of employment status such as "unemployed," "discouraged" and even the "labor force" itself are soft data -- subjective and fuzzy.

EPA Interference In Open Energy Markets Problematic

Here again is the insanity that is the EPA - regulations piled upon more regulation and the EPA's influence in local markets to benefit a specific agenda. This influence causes gas prices to escalate beyond market pressures, forcing supplies to be distorted for no other reason then to have control of the nations energy supply.

How can one institution have so much power without the consent of the people? Easy to understand when it is being control by progressive liberal socialist Democrats. The EPA is easily the most dangerous institution in our country, aside from the White House itself.

Different Types of Mandated Gasoline Reduce Competition
Source: Andrew P. Morriss and Donald J. Boudreaux, "A Coca-Cola Solution to High Gas Prices," Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2012.

August 29, 2012
After years of bureaucratic meddling, the market for gasoline has become intertwined with regulations and politics. Today we have a series of fragmentary, regional markets thanks to dozens of regulatory requirements imposed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and state regulators, say Andrew P. Morriss, a professor of law at the University of Alabama, and Donald J. Boudreaux, a professor of economics at George Mason University.

Each market for gas is different due to different standards set by the EPA. This is a cause for concern because the fragmented markets are more vulnerable to supply shortages or price shocks than a single market. For instance, if a pipeline in Phoenix were to burst and prevent supplies to the city, Phoenix could not look to Tucson for supplies because there are different EPA standards for the blend of fuels they each use.

A look at the history of our fuel market shows the necessity of removing government interference in favor of a free-market approach that has worked in the past.

•In the 1920s and 1930s, oil companies began to compete to decrease the cost and improve the quality of their product. This led to 100-octane fuel that sold for $25 a gallon to be sold for 25 cents a gallon a decade later.
•Refiners started to complain that they could not compete with cheaper oil from the coast and foreign imports.
•Rather than allowing the market to determine the efficient size of refineries, the 1959 Mandatory Oil Import Program favored small refineries.
•The program insulated small refineries from competition by creating different fuel standards so that they could sell their product to whoever met their standard.
•Today, there are 17 different types of gasoline mandated across the country, according to the American Petroleum Institute.

The effect of these different types of fuel is that there is no incentive for producers to lower their price or improve quality because there is no competition in the market. If a producer wanted to shift their supply from one city to another, it would require a waiver from the EPA which takes time and money and leads to increased price volatility.

Energy Resources In America Are Huge!

Wonder of wonders - we have more natural energy resources than any other country on earth but we aren't allowed to use them -

What exactly does Mr Obama and the progressive liberal socialists have in mind for our future energy consumption needs when they forbid us access to these resources?

Can it really be comprehended by the general public that our president wants our country to fail or just decline into just another 'also ran' nation, while he, and his friends, cement their grip on power for the next century?

Six trillion dollars added to the deficit in Mr Obama's first four years, and if reelected, another 10 trillion or more before he is out of office. Can anyone really believe that this man has our best interest at heart? Who exactly is Barack Obama?

Hard Facts: An Energy Primer
Source: "Hard Facts: An Energy Primer," Institute for Energy Research, 2012.

August 29, 2012
The Institute of Energy Research recently published Hard Facts, an energy primer that seeks to correct myths that shroud current debate surrounding energy.

Domestically, the United States has enough of fossil fuels to last for centuries.

•In 2011, the United States produced 23 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, making it the world's top producer.
•In the same year, the United States produced 5.67 million barrels of oil per day, becoming a third largest oil producer.
•Proved worldwide reserves of conventional oil doubled from 642 billion barrels in 1980 to 1.3 trillion barrels in 2009.
•The United States has 261 billion tons of coal in proved reserves, making it the most in the world and over 27 percent of the world's proved coal reserves.
•In addition, the United States has 486 billion tons of coal in demonstrated reserve base, enough to last domestically for 485 years.

Renewable sources of energy get increasing amounts of subsidies despite their relatively small use as sources of energy.

•Wind power produced 1.2 percent of the energy used in the United States in 2011.
•Solar power only produced 0.1 percent of the energy used in the United States in 2011.
•Federal subsidies in fiscal year 2010 for solar-generated energy were $775.64 per megawatt hour and $56.29 per megawatt hour for wind.
•This is in contrast to the $3.14 per megawatt hour for nuclear energy, $0.64 for conventional coal, and $0.64 for natural gas and petroleum liquids.

The environmental impacts of traditional sources of energy have also been exaggerated.

•Since 1970, the six criteria pollutants have declined by 63 percent.
•This is in the face of the 180 percent increase of electricity generation from coal-fired plants, overall energy consumption increase of 40 percent, and the miles traveled by vehicles increasing by 168 percent.
•Energy use per person in the United States fell from 359 million British thermal units (BTUs) to 317 million BTUs between 1979 and 2010.
•The United States emitted only 17 percent of the global total of carbon dioxide emissions, compared to China's 24 percent.
•Furthermore, China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 167 percent from 1999 to 2009, whereas U.S. emissions decreased by 4.4 percent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Tax Cut Extensions MUST Be Permanent

This works, and the states need what ever they can get there hands on to fix the huge deficits that are crushing their futures.

How the States Would Be Affected by Extension of the Bush Tax Cuts and Other Provisions
Source: William McBride and Ed Gerrish, "How the States Would Be Affected by Extension of the Bush Tax Cuts and Other Provisions," Tax Foundation, August 1, 2012.

August 28, 2012
The House of Representatives recently voted on a Republican proposal to extend through 2013 the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) patch. It is now with the Senate, say William McBride and Ed Gerrish of the Tax Foundation.

•The AMT patch would save middle- and high-income taxpayers $193 billion.
•Extending the Bush tax cuts, which are more evenly distributed, would save taxpayers $179 billion.
•Additionally, the bill would extend estate and gift tax provisions for a year, saving taxpayers $31 billion and small businesses up to $581 million.
•The total tax relief is pegged at $403 billion and will have immediate effects in 2013.

The Tax Foundation created a table calculating the tax relief for all 50 states with and without the AMT patch. Every state experienced tax relief with the tax cut extension and AMT patch. High-income states benefitted more, primarily because they pay the most taxes.

•New York, for example, saves about $51 billion, or 8.05 percent of their income. This would equate to $5,452 per tax filer.
•California would save $71 billion in taxes if all cuts were extended.
•On the other end, however, states like Missouri save about $1.7 billion in taxes, or 3.15 percent of income.

Gambling & The Lottery Never Meet Expectations

The question here is, when has gambling ever worked out the way the state thought it would? Of all the revenue that it was to bring in, and how local community would benefit from all this new money flowing back into the counties and state, never seems to materialize to the extent promised.

Why is the lottery no different? Too many hands in the till, too many mouths eating at the trough? The diminished returns fade from the public conscience after several years while the state and local communities have to foot the bill for gambling addicts and increased political misdeeds.

The State Gambling Addiction
Source: Steven Malanga, "The State Gambling Addiction," City Journal, Summer 2012.

August 28, 2012
In the face of slow economic recovery, states are beginning to look to legalizing more forms of gambling as a means of generating revenue. But this approach is utterly misguided, since gambling has often disappointed as a fiscal tool and as an economic development strategy, according to Steven Malanga, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

Gambling has been an integral part of the nation's economic history.

•In 1894, the last state-sanctioned lottery ended.
•In 1964, New Hampshire reintroduced the lottery.
•Today, 43 states have a lottery system that net an average of $18 billion a year.
•In 1976, Atlantic City approved the first state-sanctioned casino as a means of fixing the budget.
•Today, there are 15 state-operated casinos that make $4.5 billion in annual government revenue.

Despite the promised economic benefits, legalized gambling has fallen short of its promise to ease tax burdens and help fix the economy.

•New Jersey was the fifth most heavily taxed when its first casino opened. Today, it is the second most taxed state.
•Most states overestimate the revenue brought in by gambling. Oklahoma, for instance, predicted their lottery would raise $150 million. The actual revenue raised was $70 million.
•Moreover, gambling creates a tradeoff with other forms of consumer spending. In one study, after a state instituted a lottery, consumer spending went down $42 per household.

In addition, severe economic and social problems outweigh the benefits states derive from legalized forms of gambling.

•The Tax Foundation argues that state lotteries have the steepest of all taxes, since the government keeps an average of 42 percent of betting proceeds. This is higher than the sales tax rate that would be charged if the wagered money were spent on something else.
•More troubling, the incidence of crime rises as gamblers become desperate and turn to crime to feed their addiction.
•A National Opinion Research Center Survey found that 20 percent of self-reported pathological gamblers and 11 percent of problem gamblers had filed for bankruptcy at some point in their life, in contrast to 5 percent of non-gamblers.

In spite of the research, politicians continue to cave in to the demands of lobbyists and the public to legalize more gambling as a fix to the current economic situation.

Education Success Stories : Vouchers and Charters

This works in Indiana and it is working now in Wisconsin - charter schools are still struggling to gain footing in Wisconsin as the teachers union and progressive liberal Democrats are fighting anything that looks like success.

All it takes is having good common sense and a history of hard work accomplishing goals, something that is missing on the left.

A Whirlwind of Education Reform in Indiana
Source: "Extreme Couponing," The Economist, August 18, 2012.

August 28, 2012
Indiana schools have experienced a change stemming from Governor Mitch Daniels' new voucher program. The voucher scheme was set up a year ago and is part of larger educational reforms undertaken by the governor and the superintendent of schools. These include teacher evaluations that look at student performance, giving schools more autonomy and increasing charter schools, says The Economist.

Daniels' voucher program pays less than what it would cost to have that student in public school, which cuts down on the state's education costs. Voucher programs are slowly gaining popularity all over the country.

•There exist 32 school voucher programs in 16 states and Washington, D.C.
•There are 210,000 students taking advantage of these voucher programs nationwide.
•Eighty-five to 90 percent of students taking advantage of the Indiana voucher program come from households that qualify for free lunches.

Students can use the Indiana voucher to go to charter schools, private schools and public schools in other districts that they deem better. This has created competition among schools all across the state. Public school administrators are making reforms to increase education standards to make their school more attractive. Schools have even started to offer incentives like IPads to students, and some advertise through billboard ads or mailing campaigns about why their school is the best choice for students.

Opponents make two arguments against the voucher system. First, they say that the vouchers can be used for students to go to private schools, meaning public money is being funneled into private institutions, thus privatizing education. A second concern is that the vouchers can be used for students to go to religious schools, which blurs the line between church and state.

In spite of the opposition, the program has made clear progress and is a model for other states reforming their education systems. For instance, every student performance indicator has shown improvements. Moreover, in the last two years, Indiana has ranked second in the nation for college-level courses taken in high school.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Energy : Fossil Fuel In America : Unlimited Resources

We have the resources and the know-how to make ourselves energy independent, and even have enough resources to export energy, so why not do it? An easy question to answer, Obama does not like fossil fuels and sees this as something advances the American dream which he abhors.

Mr Obama does not like this country as founded.

Offshore Drilling: Increase Access, Reduce the Risk and Stop Hurting American Companies
Source: Hans von Spakovsky and Nicolas Loris, "Offshore Drilling: Increase Access, Reduce the Risk, and Stop Hurting American Companies," Heritage Foundation, August 13, 2012.

August 27, 2012

Oil companies are not only eager to drill off America's coasts, they are enthusiastic about creating jobs and bringing more oil to the world market, which, in turn, will help lower gas prices, according to Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow, and Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow, at the Heritage Foundation.

However, since the BP oil disaster, the Obama administration has riddled the deepwater drilling industry with regulations that have had consequences for the U.S. economy. ATP Oil & Gas Corporation filed a claim against the United States for these overbearing regulations.

•By March 2010, ATP had obtained all necessary permits to drill in the Gulf of Mexico.
•ATP got $1.5 billion in financing from JP Morgan to pay for the ATP Titan -- a platform in 4,000 feet of water designed to allow ATP to safely drill deeper into already-penetrated oil reservoirs.
•After the BP oil incident, the Obama administration issued two moratoria on drilling activities and ordered the entire deepwater industry to cease drilling.

•In a capital intensive industry such as this, companies like ATP have sought to recoup some losses by securing contracts in the Levant Basin in the Mediterranean Sea, effectively outsourcing U.S. jobs.

Rather than regulating an industry that is important to our domestic economy, the United States should instead pursue policies that increase job creation and energy supplies.

•First, require that all of America's territorial waters open for leasing, exploration and drilling.
•Second, honor the permit deadlines. This would provide companies with the certainty to continue exploration and drilling projects.
•Additionally, liability caps should be reformed for oil spills. This would reduce frivolous lawsuits and accurately assign risk and liability for oil spills.
•Finally, the permitting process should be transitioned to state regulators. This would allow states to best balance economic growth with environmental protection.

Charter Schools Succeed : Pubic Schools - - ?

The conclusion here is obvious - the power of the union to tell politicians what they will do, who they will fund and what they will say means who is supposed to succeed. Facts and results mean nothing. 

D.C. Charter Schools Fight Second-Class Status
Source: Bill Turque, "D.C. Charter Schools Fight Second-Class Status," Washington Post, August 21, 2012.

August 27, 2012

In Washington, D.C., charter schools are increasingly becoming an attractive option for parents because of higher average test scores and better teaching practices. Enrollment in charter schools will surpass the traditional public school population before the end of the decade, says the Washington Post.

Most statistics show that charter schools perform better than their public school counterparts.

•Of Washington's 76,753 students, 31,562 (or 41 percent) are enrolled in charter schools.
•Charter schools posted higher scores on the District's Comprehensive Assessment System.
•Furthermore, the four-year high school graduation rate is 80 percent for charter schools compared to 60 percent for the District's public school system.

Despite the increasing popularity of charter public schools, Washington, D.C., officials continue to pour money and attention into the failing public school system.

•The district is spending $5,986 per student in public schools but only $3,000 per student in charter schools.
•Traditional city schools are funded on projected enrollment for the coming year, which was overestimated last year. This meant an extra $18 million that public schools did not have to pay back.
•Charter schools, by contrast, are financed in quarterly installments, based on actual headcount and not projections, which causes funding to fluctuate.

The impact of funding levels is especially prominent in the physical shape of schools. For example:

•Two Rivers charter school has no cafeteria, library, auditorium or gymnasium.
•However, Walker-Jones, a traditional public school, received a new, $42 million state-of-the-art building.
•There is an average of 140 to 200 square feet per student in traditional public schools.
•In comparison, the average in charter schools is 100 square feet per student.

Politically speaking, support for charter schools has been hard to come by. Politicians continue to cling to the notion that charter schools are experimental and thus not deserving of more money. Moreover, those on the Board of Education are unwilling to admit that charter schools are a better model for educating children and thus don't want to throw their support behind privately-operated schools.

Progressivism : Who Is Peter Lewis??

Interesting -  Fact or fiction? - Progressive Insurance and the far left Peter Lewis that funds it?

 I wonder just how much stuff like this is rammed down our throats while we wait for the next scene from our favorite show. Our waiting seems to be thoughtless but the noise coming from the screen still has some effect on our subconscious.

I don't like Progressive Insurance for the mere fact of the word 'progressive'. Being part of the 'progrssive' movement today means you are the problem, not the solution to Americas problems. Marxist socialism, which is the basis for progressivism, will destroy our way of life.

Little wonder then this article, displaying the Marxist socialists who feed the financial accounts, plays into the fact that where ever progressivism is found, trouble and destruction will soon follow. History is the real truth teller.


Verify at:
Verify at:


You know their TV commercials, the ones featuring the ditsy actress all dressed in white. What you might not know is that the Chairman of Progressive is Peter Lewis, one of the major funders of leftist causes in America . Between 2001 and 2003, Lewis funneled $15 million to the ACLU, the group most responsible for destroying what's left of Americas Judeo-Christian heritage.

Lewis also gave $12.5 million to His funding for these groups was conditional on matching contributions from George Soros, the America-hating socialist who is the chief financier of the Obama political machine.

Lewis made a fortune as a result of capitalism, but now finances a progressive movement that threatens to destroy the American free enterprise system that is targeting television shows on Fox News.

Peter Lewis is making a fortune off of conservative Americans (who buy his auto insurance) that he then applies to dismantle the very system that made him wealthy. He's banking on no one finding out who he is, so STOP buying Progressive Insurance and pass this information on to all your friends.

Chairman Lewis' gift helps the ACLU promote their anti-Christmas agenda such as:
§ Removing nativity scenes from public property
§ Banning songs such as Silent Night from schools
§ Refusing to allow students to write about the Christian aspect of Christmas in school projects
§ Renaming Christmas break Winter break
§ Refusing to allow a city sponsored Christmas parade to be called a Christmas parade
§ Not allowing a Christmas tree in a public school
§ Renaming a Christmas tree displayed on public property a Holiday tree

In addition to their war on Christmas, the ACLU uses gifts like that from Chairman Lewis to:

§ Sue states to force them to legalize homosexual marriage
§ Force libraries to remove porn filters from their computers
§ Sue the Boy Scouts to force them to accept homosexuals as scout leaders
§ Help legalize child pornography
§ Legalize live sex acts in bars in Oregon
§ Protect the North American Man Boy Love Association whose motto is "sex by eight or it is too late"
§ Censor student led prayer at graduation
§ Remove "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance
§ Remove "In God We Trust" on our currency

Verify at:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Drug Companies Follow the Free Market : The Majority Rule

Interesting concept in that this is the very thing that progressives hate, a free market that has decided that rare diseases are not profitable and so will not be produced.

As anyone that has been paying attention to the progressive left and their effort to jam ObamaCare down our throats, 92% of the population has some form of heath care coverage but we needed a national health care law that will destroy the entire system to cover 6% that don't have coverage, and many of these don't want the coverage to begin with.

The Market for Orphan Drugs

Source: John R. Graham, "Orphan Drugs & Humanitarian Devices: It'll Take More Than More Meetings and More Reports to Make More Discoveries and More Access," Pacific Research Institute, July 2012.

August 24, 2012
Rare diseases affect 6 percent to 8 percent of the world population, but comprise 3 percent of the prescription drug market. Drugs that treat these rare diseases are known as orphan drugs, and they are not profitable enough for drug companies to invest research and development in, says John R. Graham, director of health care studies at the Pacific Research Institute.

•In the United States, a rare disease is one defined as affecting less than 200,000 people.
•The global market for treatment of rare diseases is expected to be worth 6 percent by 2018.
•However, global pharmaceutical spending will increase to $1.2 trillion in 2016.
•This puts the orphan drugs' share of the global pharmaceutical market at less than 3 percent.

Laws in the United States tried to rectify the problem by providing incentives to companies to research and develop drugs for rare diseases starting with the Orphan Drug Act, established in 1983.

•The act gave federal funding of grants and contracts to perform clinical trials of orphan products.
•Additionally, it gave a 50 percent tax credit for clinical testing costs.
•Finally, drug companies were given seven year exclusivity on the market for whatever orphan drug they produced.
•Unfortunately, only 250 of 7,000 rare diseases have approved therapies, which speaks to the inability to incentivize research and development for rare diseases.

This summer, President Obama signed the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA), which seeks to renew an interest in orphan drugs.

•One provision grants a voucher for a drug maker that develops medicine for pediatric cancers, which it can trade for expedited approval of a blockbuster drug.
•Another provision allows medical device makers to bypass the most burdensome part of the Pre-Market Approval Process if their devices are used by less than 4,000 people a year.
•Furthermore, in an effort to be more expedient, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is permitted to consult external experts when there is a lack of in-house expertise.
•Finally, if treatments show success in clinical trial or improvement over existing therapies, the FDA can accelerate the approval process.

Despite these new laws, it is unlikely that they will help patients with rare diseases. Since the market for orphan drugs is so small, the price to buy them can cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $400,000. The current health care system does not incentivize insurance companies to cater to those with rare diseases, opting to cover the "median patient." A market-driven health insurance system that spreads over a large number of people is the best way to complement the new laws.

Social Security / Medicare 40 Trillion in Debt

The Heritage Foundation has come up with a some good ideas for solving our financial problems. Best among them is a fixed rate tax structure. With nearly 43% of the tax base paying no taxes, this would bring some equity back to the system.

Of course, getting rid of ObamaCare maybe even be more of a good thing then a new tax rate as this has such a profound effect on future generations of citizens and non citizens.

With millions more people coming on the heath care rolls that have no money , can't speak English, read or write and have no way of earning a living, disaster will soon follow as the entire system will collapse under it's own weight.

And who would be to blame for such a disaster, why the Conservatives and Republicans, of course. The old media would have a field day. The problem now for the progressive liberal Democrats and their hacks in the media will be keeping the ignorant ignorant. Luckly, the new media, cable, Fox and AM radio, will make this much harder to do.

Saving the American Dream
Source: "Saving the American Dream," Heritage Foundation, August 2012.

August 24, 2012
Health and retirement benefits were created to provide a generation of Americans a safety net by which they live comfortably today. Entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are popular programs, but politicians promised them with no way of paying for them. These programs are at risk given the condition of the economy, says the Heritage Foundation.

•U.S. debt held by the public is nearly 70 percent the gross domestic product.
•Medicare and Social Security face $40 trillion in unfunded obligations.
•That amounts to about $200,000 per person.

Soon, Americans will not be able to benefit from such programs because there is no money to fund them. However, the Heritage Foundation has come up with a plan to make these entitlement programs sustainable:

•First, transform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid into real insurance programs. It would provide financial security to retirees, and give assistance to people that need it while reducing benefits to wealthy individuals.
•Second, repeal the Obama health care plan to give consumers flexibility to choose among competing health care plans.
•Third, replace the current tax system with a fixed rate for everyone to allow business growth and allow Americans to save for retirement.

This plan would make the United States prosperous and fuel economic growth. In 10 years it permanently balances the budget, reduces deficits and reduces the size of the government where it has exceeded its authority.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Green Energy Efficency Programs Fail And Fail And Fail!

Why is it that so many programs that are trotted out by the smartest people in the room fail nearly every time? Is it because they live in a bubble or are really not that smart, or it's just that they have an over estimation of their role in the life of others or both.

This the very basis of the progressive liberal agenda - 'we are the smartest and so we have an obligation to tell everyone how they must live their lives' or suffer the consequences. The fact that they have never done anything in the real world is of no importance.

The Hidden Flaw of "Energy Efficiency"
Source: Robert J. Michaels, "The Hidden Flaw of 'Energy Efficiency'," Wall Street Journal, August 20, 2012.

August 24, 2012
Policies that increase energy efficiency have been implemented all over the world. The theory is that new technologies will lower energy bills for consumers, increase profits for producers, and have a positive impact on the environment. In practice, however, there seems to be undesired consequences, says Robert J. Michaels, a professor of economics at California State University, Fullerton, and a senior fellow at the Institute for Energy Research.

Efforts to make energy efficient will experience the "rebound dilemma," according to a recent Energy Institute Research survey.

•For example, energy efficient technologies mean that people can consume more goods that use electricity and businesses will use more energy creating them.
•Indeed, families that had one air conditioning unit may choose to install a central unit because energy has become more efficient, yet the energy output remains the same.
•Moreover, a factory that may get an energy efficient technology wouldn't discard the inefficient one. Rather, the inefficient machine would likely be used in a lesser-developed country.

Mexico's cash-for-coolers program provides policymakers with an example of the rebound dilemma.

•The program subsidized the swapout of inefficient air conditioners and refrigerators with efficient ones.
•A World Bank study claimed that the new refrigerators would use 30 percent less energy.
•However, a University of California Energy Institute study found that energy consumption was cut by only 7 percent.
•This was because people decided to buy bigger refrigerators or use their new air conditioners during the hot summer months.

Energy efficiency programs do not produce their desired effects and are costly endeavors.

Education Funding On the Rocks : Taxpayers to Carry the Load

Higher education cost more and more because of government interference. Colleges and universities know that the money is unending, and not to grab a lions share of it, would be foolish. The federal government, taxpayers, are on the hook for more then a trillion dollars in student loans. Interesting as well is Mr Obama wants the taxpayer to pay now for loans that are due just to get some more votes this fall from delinquent students that can't pay back the loans.

The truth is, the more the government decides to cover the costs of higher education, the more the higher education institution charge. And it's comes as no surprise then, these institution are some the largest contributors to political campaigns, especially progressive liberal Democrats. Higher education institution leaders are nearly 90% politically far left. Little wonder so many students are screwed up.

The Past and Future of Higher Education Finance
Source: Chad Miller, "The Past and Future of Higher Education Finance," American Action Forum, August 2012.

August 24, 2012
The idea that Americans should pursue a post-secondary education has been etched into the national consciousness. Over time, the federal government tried to shoulder the load of paying for college by providing loans and grants to help students achieve their dream of getting a college degree, says Chad Miller of the American Action Forum.

However, federal spending in the form of loans and grants doesn't seem to be accomplishing the goal of making college more attainable or affordable for students. More troubling is that financial aid is distributed to students that don't really need it, specifically in the context of Pell Grant awards.

•Between 1980 and 2011, the federal government provided about $403 billion in Pell Grant funds.
•In 2010-2011, 21 percent of recipients of the Pell Grant were families with declared incomes of $40,000 annually.
•Furthermore, 3 percent of recipients were families with declared incomes of $60,000 annually.
•Of those, 4,000 students qualified for the full amount of the Pell Grant.

In addition, student loan debt is increasingly becoming a problem as students borrow more and have fewer opportunities to find jobs that allow them to repay their debt. This means that taxpayers are on the hook for students that default on their loan.

•In 2012, there was a total $1 trillion worth of outstanding student loan debt.
•In 2012 alone, $85 billion had been taken out in loans.
•Moreover, from 2006 to 2009, the percentage of students defaulting on their loans rose from 5.2 percent to 8.8 percent.

Despite the billions that have gone toward making college affordable, there are low returns on the investment in the nation's students.

•Only 58 percent of full-time undergraduate students are graduating with a degree in six years.
•In 2009, 29 percent of borrowers dropped out of college, compared to 23 percent in 2001.
•The average student still takes an average of $25,000 and works part-time to pay for school.

Even with state governments shouldering a heavy load of education costs, students are still struggling to pay for a college education. Federal aid, in its attempt to make college affordable by spending billions, has failed to do so in the face of rising costs associated with getting a degree.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Teacher Training System (AUSL) Works : Unions Panic

Understandably the teachers union would be up set with this turn of events. Results are positive, the AUSL system works and that's something intolerable for the unions. When the unions see the success of the charter schools and now the AUSL, it's time to panic.

Unions believe all it takes for success of a school system is more money.

To Train Teachers, a New Lesson Plan
Source: Stephanie Banchero, "To Train Teachers, a New Lesson Plan," Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2012.

August 23, 2012
A decade of intensive testing for students as a result of the No Child Left Behind law has shown that student performance directly correlates with the quality of teaching by an instructor. While the past decade has changed how teachers give instruction under the law, little has changed as far as teacher training has gone, says the Wall Street Journal.

An experimental program is underway in Chicago to improve academic results of students by changing the way new teachers are trained. The Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) is a Chicago-based non-profit group that is at the forefront of this change.

•AUSL enters a contract to manage schools, which remain under a district umbrella and are given the authority to hire and fire any part of the staff of any school under contract.
•The program is modeled after medical residencies, where a new hire shadows a seasoned educator for a year to learn effective teaching techniques.
•As of the past year, there are 25 schools with over 14,000 students in the program with over 500 teachers trained.

The AUSL, which was founded in 2001 by wealthy Chicago investor Martin Koldyke, is being modeled in other cities such as New York and Denver because of its success.

•AUSL elementary schools have increased the number of students that pass its state benchmark test by 2.5 percent compared to non-AUSL schools, which have only increased its pass rate by 0.9 percent.
•Moreover, the pass rate at high schools jumped 3.1 percent compared to the decline the rest of the school district has experienced.
•Morton School, a K-8 elementary, had a failure rate of 80 percent in some years. Since the AUSL took over, the pass rate rose to 78.2 percent in 2012.

However, the AUSL has critics, primarily the teacher unions. The unions argue that the program hurts morale by basically saying teachers are currently ineffective and need intervention. They argue that the AUSL receives many advantages. For example:

•The AUSL gets $6,000 per student from the district on top of $420 extra per student to fund tutoring and extra-curricular activities.
•Furthermore, AUSL receives a one-time payment of $300,000 for each school it takes over.
•In addition, the mentees receive a salary between $30,000 and $40,000, while the mentors receive a 20 percent salary increase.

Climate Change Reason for Drought : Insanity New Norm

I wonder why this article didn't mention Ethanol and amount of corn that it takes out of the food chain? I believe it is close to 30% of the entire crop. The production of Ethanol produces more green house gases than the production of fossil fuel.

Who Knew!!?? Worse, who cares, right? It's the agenda that's important, and even better, it feels so good that we are 'saving the planet'. The fact that millions starve to death is just an added bonus for the eco fascists environmentalists. Oh, I almost forgot, progressive liberal Democrats are on board here as well. Remember, Obama's Cap and Trade was designed to crush the free market and bring the entire food production system in this country under the control of Washington.

Under standing ObamaCare is understanding Cap and Trade.

Carbon Emissions and the Drought
Source: Blake Hurst, "Raining Nonsense during a Drought," The American, August 21, 2012.
August 23, 2012

Global warming alarmists are quick to blame this summer's drought on rising carbon emissions. Farmers have been affected the most as the drought has crippled their ability to grow crops, particularly corn. This has led to higher global food prices as farmers were unable to meet the demand, says Blake Hurst in The American.

Donald Carr, with the Environmental Working Group, wrote that if cap and trade legislation had passed three years ago, the current drought and subsequent crop shortage could have been avoided. However, Carr does not take into account several factors about the current situation.

•This is the worst nationwide drought in 50 years, in spite of the fact that U.S. emissions have fallen 1.7 percent in 2011 -- the lowest levels in 20 years.
•Moreover, this year's beginning stocks of corn will only be around 900 million bushels of corn.
•This is in contrast to 1988 -- a year with a drought comparable to this year's -- which had beginning corn stocks of 4.5 billion bushels.

Furthermore, the cap and trade law would have done nothing to curb emissions or prevent this year's drought.

•First, countries like India and China would have continued to emit carbon into the atmosphere, which would still effect crop production.
•Second, cap and trade would have forced farmers to use less fertilizer as a means of lowering carbon emissions.
•Predictably, that would have hurt a farmer's ability to produce more food since the fertilizer is what allows high crop yields.

High food prices can have cataclysmic outcomes for the world. The Arab Spring and revolts in Mexico can be traced to the shortage of food. Indeed, 50 million people in the world went hungry in 2007 and 2008 when food prices sharply increased.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture forecasts a 5 percent increase in food prices next year as well. However, there is good news on the horizon. This year, 94 million acres of crops have been planted. And next year there may be upwards of 100 million acres of crops planted by shrinking the size of government-land retirement programs and also shifting other crops to corn.

Illinois Is Broke : Wisconsin Is Not - Good Humor

Illinois vs Wisconsin

The Governor of Illinois is jogging with his dog along a nature trail.
A coyote jumps out and attacks the Governor's dog, then bites the Governor.

1. The Governor starts to intervene, but reflects upon the movie "Bambi"
and then realizes he should stop because the coyote is only doing what is natural.
2. He calls animal control .. Animal Control captures the coyote and
bills the State $200 testing it for diseases and $500 for relocating it.

3. He calls a veterinarian. The vet collects the dead dog and bills the
State $200 testing it for diseases.

4. The Governor goes to hospital and spends $3,500 getting checked for
diseases from the coyote and on getting his bite wound bandaged.
5. The running trail gets shut down for 6 months while Fish & Game
conducts a $100,000 survey to make sure the area is now free of dangerous animals
6. The Governor spends $50,000 in state funds implementing a "coyote
awareness program" for residents of the area.

7. The State Legislature spends $2 million to study how to better treat
rabies and how to permanently eradicate the disease throughout the world.

8 The Governor's security agent is fired for not stopping the attack.

The State spends $150,000 to hire and train a new agent with additional special training re: the nature of coyotes.

9. PETA protests the coyote's relocation and files a $5 million suit against the State.

The Governor of Wisconsin is jogging with his dog along a nature trail. A
Coyote jumps out and attacks the dog.

1. The Governor shoots the coyote with his concealed carry pistol and keeps
jogging. The Governor has spent $0.50 on a .45 ACP hollow point cartridge.

2. The Crows eat the dead coyote.

And that, my friends, is why Illinois is broke and Wisconsin is not.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Health Care Debate Turns on Progressive History of Fear

Paul Ryan's mandate reform will work and this is what scares the hell out of progressive. Health care has always been a club that liberal progressive Democrats used to gain control of seniors and minorities.

Now the Ryan plan has defused the argument that granny will die when reform is introduced as a way to bring the debt under control and make health care affordable.

Reforming Medicaid: Lessons from Canada
Source: Evan Soltas, "What Paul Ryan, and His Critics, Can Learn from Canada," Bloomberg, August 19, 2012.

August 23, 2012

Paul Ryan's proposed Medicaid plan is similar to Canada's Medicare program, which is considered very successful. For both Democrats and Republicans, it is necessary to take a look to the neighbor up north on how to change Medicaid for the better, says Evan Soltas in Bloomberg.

•The Canadian government abandoned its previous 50-50 cost sharing plan in 1977.
•Now, the Canadian program utilizes block grants, which are evenly distributed to different provisional and territorial governments.
•This has given decentralized administrations flexibility to design their own programs and learn from one another on how to best deliver Medicare to their populations.
•Additionally, this has led to innovative ways to improve the quality and reduce the cost of services, since the local governments are responsible for 100 percent of added costs.

This program has been an effective mechanism for controlling health care costs.

•Nearly 11 percent of Canada's gross domestic product (GDP), or $4,196 per capita, goes toward health care costs.
•In the United States, health spending constitutes 16.2 percent of the GDP, or $7,410 per capital.
•In addition, the rate of health care cost inflation is less problematic: a net 65 percent rise from 1993 to 2005 in Canada versus a 90 percent increase in the United States over the same period.

Block grants are a staple of public policy in the United States. From Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to Partnership for Health Program, block grants constitute 20 percent of federal aid to state governments.

Paul Ryan's proposed plan would have the block grants grow at the rate of consumer price inflation along with population growth. However, such a plan should grow at medical cost of inflation plus the rate of the Medicaid-eligible population since Medicaid is not available to every citizen. Such additions to Ryan's plan would make Medicaid sustainable and allow the grants to continue to grow through hard times.

British Health Care System Coming to America

Get ready America because if Obama has his way, ObamaCare, we all will be standing waiting lines until we die.

The British Health Care System: Universal Mediocrity
Source: Theodore Dalrymple, "Universal Mediocrity: Why Do Britons like Their Sub-Par Health care System So Much?" City Journal, Summer 2012.

August 23, 2012

In April, the British Medical Journal published a report comparing the quality of health care systems in 14 advanced countries. Britain's centralized system, the National Health Service (NHS), performed well in 13, indifferently in two and poorly in five areas of comparison. However, as far as actual achievement goes, the NHS came out worst of all the systems compared. Despite this, Britons rejoiced at the report, claiming it as victory for the centralized health care system, says Theodore Dalrymple, a contributing editor of City Journal and the Dietrich Weismann Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

A look at the fact reveals the dissonance between British satisfaction and the actual performance of the NHS.

•Forty-eight years before the establishment of the NHS, life expectancy rose from 47 years to 66 years, a 40.4 percent increase.
•However, 48 years after the establishment of the NHS, life expectancy has risen from 66 years to 77.5 years, only a 17.4 percent increase.
•Furthermore, the five year survival rate for colorectal cancer is 51.6 percent in Britain compared to 59.8 percent in Sweden.
•Similarly, the 30 day fatality rates for myocardial infarction are 6.3 percent in Britain and 2.9 percent in Sweden.

The primary impetus for having a centralized health care system for the British is to reduce social inequality and ensure that everyone is able to access affordable health care. Nevertheless, since the inception of the NHS, the health care gap between the highest and lowest social classes has widened.

•From 1930-1948, a man in the lowest social class was 1.2 times more likely to die than a man in the highest social class.
•Yet by 1993, a man in the lowest social class was 2.9 times more likely to die than a man in the highest social class.
•Furthermore, the gap widened between 1997 and 2007, despite the Labour Party nearly doubling health spending.

And while Britain is known for its relatively low health care costs, that might be changing soon.

•The NHS was initially inexpensive because it rationed care by creating long waiting lists.
•In the face of this, health spending doubled to purchase new equipment and provide for more hospitals.
•However, it has not yielded the desired effects and long waiting lists still exist for a population that wants more money pumped into health services.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ACA A Total Failure : Retail Clinics Growing

What these clinics will accomplish is force ACA into total bankruptcy of health care for the middle class and especially the poor. But then who cares, right? It's all about what felt good at the time the progressive liberal Democrats, lead by Nancy Pelosi, rammed through the ACA act against the will of more then 70% of the general public. Again, who cares?

In those now famous words from that giant of leadership, " We have to pass this bill to find out what's in it"  What's in this bill is the failure of the American health care system!

Visits to Retail Health Clinics Grow Fourfold
Source: Ateev Mehrotra and Judith R. Lave, "Visits to Retail Clinics Grew Fourfold from 2007 to 2009, although their Share of Overall Outpatient Visits Remains Low," Health Affairs, August 2012.

August 21, 2012

Retail clinics are becoming an increasingly popular avenue for people to get access to treatment for common ailments. These are simple walk-in clinics found in pharmacies, grocery stores or other retail stores. The rapid growth of retail clinics makes it clear that they are meeting a patient need. Convenience and after-hours accessibility are possible drivers of this growth, say Ateev Mehrotra, a policy analyst at the RAND Corporation, and Judith R. Lave, a professor of health economics in the Department of Health Policy at the University of Pittsburgh.

The presence and impact of retail clinics have increased substantially across the country.

•Started in 2000, the scope of retail clinics remained with treating simple ailments such as upper respiratory problems, urinary tract infections and simple preventive care.
•Between 2007 and 2009, retail clinics increased fourfold, totaling near 5.97 million in 2009.
•In 2010, retail clinics expanded the scope of their operations to include chronic illnesses such as asthma and diabetes.

There are several reasons why demand is increasing.

•First, locations are convenient and patients do not need appointments.
•Second, after-hours care is provided -- 44.4 percent of retail clinic patients visit when physician offices are closed.
•Third, it is a cheap and easy way to pay for quick access -- one visit costs an average of $78.

The role of retail clinics is expected to rise after the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented because of the increased demand for care and people that don't want to wait in long lines to see a doctor.

Opponents argue that retail clinics have the potential to disrupt patient-physician relationships and continuity of care. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that these claims are unwarranted, as retail clinics continue to prove they are a legitimate avenue for people to seek access to treatment. Moreover, the type of care provided mostly includes treatments for common ailments and vaccinations so that if someone had a more serious problem, they would still see their primary care physician.

Electric Cars Fail the Free Market Test : Subsides Fail Again

This is just another glaring failure of the Obama administration as they try to distort the free market with the progressive liberal socialist agenda of 'big government knows what's best for everyone'.

Electric vehicles is just another example where big brother Marxism has proven a failure and has cost the taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars. But whose counting, Mr Obama has no desire to do the right thing for the country, it's about Mr Obama and what he believes is best for Mr Obama. Marx failed just as Mr Obama is failing now, only this time it's American people that are at edge of disaster.

Subsidy-Powered Vehicles
Source: Kenneth P. Green, "Subsidy-Powered Vehicles," The American, August 13, 2012.
August 21, 2012

Since Thomas Edison invented the modern electric system, engineers have attempted to create an electric car that consumers could afford. This proved to be an elusive task, as many times it seemed that an electric car had been achieved, only to fail when introduced into the market, says Kenneth P. Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

The government has pumped subsidies to try and create both the supply and demand for electric cars. For example, the federal government created a tax credit and updated it in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for electric or partially electric vehicles. However, tax credits, on top of other direct or indirect subsidies, have failed to make electric cars competitive.

California has been a major player in the electric car market and is an example of how government intervention fails.

•California mandated the sale of zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) in 1990.
•This meant that 2 percent of vehicles sold in the state had to be all electric by 1998; this increased to 10 percent by 2001.
•The costs of producing ZEVs were spread across the car market, and auto producers were forced to increase the cost of their electric and non-electric vehicles to make up for the costs of making ZEVs.
•This led to consumers keeping their older cars because they could not afford newer ones, which in turn meant that they were still emitting high levels of carbon dioxide.

The failures of California have not extinguished the desire of policymakers to continue providing subsidies to companies and the public to create and purchase an electric car. Subsidies by their very nature force an uncompetitive good into the market.

For example, the cost of an electric car, such as a Chevy Volt, hovers around $40,000 while its counterpart, the Chevy Cruze, costs about $16,800. Even if a consumer were able to afford this, the price of the electric car would be reflected in the cost of insurance to cover the car. It is about $250 more to insure a Chevy Volt than the Chevy Cruze. This is because the electric cars have more expensive parts and requires specialized labor. Most consumers would rather buy the cheaper car and pay less in insurance, making electric cars uncompetitive and government subsidies a failure.

Green Energy Distorts Free Markets : Subsides Fail

The subsides for green energy is criminal - a complete distortion of the free market. But then, this has been the objective of the Obama administration from the beginning. Remember his very words in 2008, " Under my plan of 'cap and trade', electric rates will skyrocket".

What he didn't get in 'cap and trade' he is getting now from the EPA regulation, and his green energy disaster programs, solar billions of taxpayer dollars down the rat hole and into his campaign coffers.

Wind Production Tax Credit Already Phasing Out
Source: David Kruetzer, "Wind PTC Already Phasing Out -- for Certain," Heritage Foundation, August 1, 2012.

August 21, 2012

The production tax credit (PTC) for wind energy is set to expire at the end of the year, and its supporters are already arguing for an extension. Their argument is that businesses need certainty so that they can take advantage of the PTCs. However, the law as it stands already provides certainty, says David Kreutzer, the Senior Policy Analyst in Energy Economics and Climate Change at the Heritage Foundation.

•The wholesale price of electricity in the U.S. markets average from under 3 cents to 4.5 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh).
•The PTC provides a subsidy of 2.2 cents per kwh to wind energy producers
•In total, this is about 50 percent to 70 percent of the wholesale price of electricity.
•This subsidy is on top of renewable energy standards that many states have in place that force ratepayers to buy wind-, solar- and biomass-produced electricity regardless of the cost.

Opponents of cutting the PTC argue that it should be phased out instead. However, in the status quo the current law provides that the benefits of the PTC be phased out. For example, there is a 10 year benefit eligibility for turbines after they have been constructed. Turbines created in 2007 will receive the PTC until 2017. So any turbine that is created before the deadline will continue to receive benefits for a decade, until January 2023.

Without a PTC, some wind will be competitive and some will not. That is how business goes. However, a business that cannot survive without taxpayers paying for 50 percent of the costs (in addition to the benefit of the renewable mandates) is not one that is helping the economy overall. Instead, it is using resources whose value exceeds the value of the electricity produced.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Obama Government Seeks Control Thru Regulation

The more government regulation, the more it will cost everyone. Common sense has nothing to do with government control through regulation. What the government didn't get through congress, it will take from us through regulation.

The Regulatory Cliff Is Nearly as Steep as the Fiscal One
Source: Rob Portman, "Rob Portman: The Regulatory Cliff Is Nearly as Steep as the Fiscal One," Wall Street Journal, August 16, 2012.

August 22, 2012
Many Americans are soon going to experience a steep hike in regulation and taxes as the president's proposed multibillion dollar regulations go into effect after the November election. The economy will be riddled with several new regulations once they take effect, says Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio).

•The Dodd-Frank financial law has over 130 unfinished mandates that are set to go into effect soon.
•The Fiduciary Rule, set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor, will restrict businesses from offering investment advice on a commission basis. A study shows that this will result in higher retirement account minimums.
•The Department of Transportation will impose the Rear-View Camera Rule, which requires all cars and trucks to be equipped with a rear-view camera and would cost taxpayers $2.7 billion.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is most responsible for the increase in regulations and taxes.

•The EPA is set to implement the Ozone Rule, which was passed in 2010. It would create limit on ozone output so strict that 85 percent of U.S. counties would be in violation.
•Predictably, this rule could impose up to $90 billion a year on manufacturers and other employers.
•Another rule would force power plants and manufacturing facilities to draw in water to prevent overheating.
•This could increase energy costs for consumers by $4.5 billion per year, depending on how it is implemented.
•However, this new rule would only bring in 3 cents of benefits for every dollar spent.

New regulators will also be introduced in Obama's highly regulated economy.

•The Independent Payment Advisory Board will be charged with cutting Medicare reimbursement rates to health care providers.
•This board will have substantial authority over patient care and health markets but is not subjected to review requirements as other regulators are.
•Furthermore, it can't reduce benefits or increase sources of revenue, which gives this body unlimited power to limit Medicare patients' access to care.

Fossil Fuel In Abundance in America : Liberals; Who Cares

Why would this have to be explained? This should be clear that if you have more of a thing, the price will go down. Also when put up for sale and if you have enough to sell out of the country, it will bring income back to you and your country.

The free market works this easily - but the progressive liberal Democrat doesn't this as a means to wealth accumulation. In truth, the progressive doesn't know how wealth is generated - all they know is way to take this wealth from others.

The Case for Natural Gas Exports
Source: Michael A. Levi, "The Case for Natural Gas Exports," New York Times, August 15, 2012.
August 22, 2012

Data released last month indicates that natural gas has joined coal as the top source of electric power. The abundance of natural gas has spurred debates over how to proceed in electricity production around the country. Proponents argue that natural gas should be harnessed and exported around the globe, while opponents argue that it harms the environment or that it should only supply domestic demands, says Michael A. Levi, a senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Many companies have applied for permission to export liquefied natural gas to countries that the United States does not have special free trade agreements with. However, under federal law, the U.S. Energy Department has to deem the exports in the national interest before these companies are granted permission. The United States can derive many benefits from exporting liquefied natural gas.

•First, it can reduce dependence on two major providers of natural gas in the status quo: Russia and Iran.
•Second, American firms could make up to $3 billion per year.

Additionally, loosening restriction on the exportation of liquefied natural gas would benefit American trade.

•For example, it would hurt the United States' credibility if it were to restrict access to an energy source as it is filing trade violations against China for restricting access to rare earth minerals.
•Furthermore, it would require restrictions on Canada and Mexico, which would put the North American Free Trade Agreement at risk.
•Finally, U.S. negotiators can use the export of gas as a bargaining chip with partners like Japan who want unrestricted access to U.S. gas.

Critics raise valid concerns, but none that outweigh the benefits from exporting natural gas.

•First, extracting natural gas does post some environmental harm. However, a recent report from the International Energy Agency signals that cheap options exist to strengthen safeguards that would mitigate such risks.
•Second, opponents argue that natural gas can be used domestically as a fuel source for cars. Conversely, restricting natural gas use domestically will likely reduce demand and create less incentive to extract the natural gas.
•Lastly, exports would marginally raise natural gas prices for domestic consumers, as much as $50 annually on electricity bills for low-income households. However, those that are most vulnerable can take advantage of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program to keep electricity costs low.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

California's Rich Getting Richer : Democrats in Control?

Wait, according to this article, the rich are getting richer and poor, poorer. Is this what the progressive liberal Democrats want? I thought it was the Republicans that wanted the rich to get everything?

My goodness, have the liberal progressive Democrats been lying to us all this time? Who knew?

California's Boom Masks State's Uneven Recovery
Source: Scott Thurm and Pui-Wing Tam, "California's Boom Masks State's Uneven Recovery," Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2012.

August 20, 2012

California added more jobs faster than any other state in the country this past year. The Golden State is rebounding, but for a broad swath of residents, it is a lot less golden and is likely to stay that way, says the Wall Street Journal.

•California's economy has experienced a boom with a $2 trillion annual output, which is bigger than all but nine countries.
•Yet, California has a 10.7 percent unemployment rate -- higher than all but two states in the country.
•Furthermore, there is a growing income disparity, with households increasingly reporting incomes of under $35,000 and over $100,000.
•The median family income has fallen by 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, compared to 6 percent nationally.

With a state as large as California, it is understandable how different regions are benefitting from the state's economic recovery while some do not. Areas like Santa Clara, where Silicon Valley is located, are among the places that have accrued a lot of wealth, but the rest of California continues to suffer from a sluggish recovery.

•California's budget for the latest fiscal year cut spending by $8 billion.
•The cost to attend the University of California or California State University has more than tripled in the past decade.
•In Los Angeles, 13 percent of adults have less than a ninth grade education and the highest share of poorly educated workers among the country's largest metropolitan areas.

The problem rests in the fact that a lot of support jobs that sustained the middle class are now being moved to other parts of the country or overseas. The spending cuts disproportionately affect lower-income families because of the slashes to education and job training. Funding priorities have shifted to ensure that places where hot tech jobs are located continue to get funding because it represents the wealth of California.

Economic Recovery Worst in 65 Years

Does this comes as any surprise given whose in charge? Check history and you will find when things go wrong it's usually because a progressive Democrat is at the helm.

Economic Recovery Is Weakest since World War II
Source: Paul Wiseman, "Economic Recovery Is Weakest since World War II," Associated Press, August 15, 2012.

August 20, 2012

America is slowly recovering from a hard-hitting recession that ended three years ago. Since World War II, 10 U.S. recessions have been followed by recoveries that lasted at least three years. However, the current economic recovery has been the slowest compared to all the other cases of post-recession growth. In fact, economic growth has never been weaker in postwar recovery, consumer spending has been slack and only once has job growth been slower, says the Associated Press.

The data show just how feeble growth has been since the end of the recession.

•America's gross domestic product grew 6.8 percent in the first three years after a postwar economy, compared to 15.5 percent in the eight other cases analyzed.
•Investment in housing, which grew an average of 34 percent in other cases of postwar recovery, has only grown 8 percent in the past three years.

The poor growth has also directly affected consumers and job-seekers.

•Consumer spending has grown 6.5 percent three years into recovery compared to the average growth of 14 percent in other instances of postwar recovery.
•Additionally, the current economy has created about 4 million jobs -- about 46 percent of jobs lost due to the recession. In the previous eight recoveries, the economy gained an average of 350 percent of jobs lost.
•Wages have also fallen 0.8 percent in this recovery compared to the average 1.5 percent increase in previous cases.
•The money Americans earn from interest payments fell from $1.4 trillion in 2008 to $1 trillion last year, a drop of 27 percent.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Energy Policy Replaced by Progressive Liberal Agenda

This a great balanced view of the energy needs of this country - something that has been missing since the progressives have taken control in 2009.

Country's Economic Welfare Can't Take More Poor Energy Policy
Source: William O'Keefe, "Country's Economic Welfare Can't Take More Poor Energy Policy," Investor's Business Daily, August 9, 2012.
August 17, 2012

Whatever the outcome of November's elections, our economic wellbeing requires that the dysfunctional relationship between the White House and Congress change. Governing needs to replace posturing, starting with energy policy, says William O'Keefe, the chief executive officer of the George C. Marshall Institute and president of Solutions Consulting Inc.

Energy is to the economy what oxygen is to human life. To do its job, it needs to be abundant and affordable. Low energy prices alone are necessary but not sufficient to get the economy moving on a stronger growth track. But as we have seen, high energy prices are a dead weight that slows economic growth.

•The Energy Information Administration (EIA) in its annual Outlook forecasts that our energy budget in 2035 will continue to be dominated by oil, natural gas and coal, although coal's share will decline and natural gas' will increase.
•Fossil energy will provide 73 percent of our energy, only slightly lower than today.
•Renewables, mainly solar, wind and biofuels, experience rapid growth but at best will provide about 14 percent of our energy needs.

The policy message of the EIA's Outlook is that our nation should take advantage of our abundance of oil and natural gas resources. Our oil production recently reached a 14 year high and could extend even further. Every barrel that we produce here means a barrel that is not imported or a dollar sent overseas.

•Increased domestic production can translate into much lower imports from unstable regions.
•Advances in engine and emission technology mean increased fuel efficiency and continued improvements in air quality.

Alternative energy -- wind, solar, biofuels -- have fallen short of their promise. Rather than attempt to force them to market with mandates and subsidies, the national interest would be better served through incentives, like the research and development tax credit, to spur investments in technology, and through government research focused on creating new knowledge.

Now is the time for the White House and Congress to take a balanced, practical and realistic look at America's energy policy. As we have seen with recent oil and gas production, embracing energy realities can lead to job creation and increased domestic investment.

Government Pensions 2 Trillion Dollar Problem

I you ever thought that maybe the federal government was not the problem in our country, then after reading this, the only conclusion you can come to is they are the problem.

Some Federal Pensions Pay Handsome Rewards
Source: Dennis Cauchon, "Some Federal Pensions Pay Handsome Rewards," USA Today, August 15, 2012

August 17, 2012
More than 21,000 retired federal workers receive lifetime government pensions of $100,000 or more per year, according to a USA Today/Gannett analysis.

•Of these, nearly 2,000 have federal pensions that pay $125,000 or more annually, and 151 take home $150,000 or more.
•Six federal retirees get more than $200,000 a year, including a doctor, a dentist and a credit union regulator, plus three retirees whose occupations weren't listed.
•Some 1.2 percent of federal retirees collect six-figure pensions.
•By comparison, 0.1 percent of military retirees collect as much.
•Comparable private figures aren't available.

The six-figure pensions spread across a broad swath of the federal workforce: doctors, budget analysts, accountants, public relations specialists and human resource managers. Most do not get Social Security benefits.

•Retired law enforcement is the most common profession receiving $100,000-plus pensions, including 326 Drug Enforcement Administration agents, 237 IRS investigators and 186 FBI agents.
•The Postal Service has 714 retired workers getting six-figure retirements.
•The Social Security Administration has 444.
•A retired Smithsonian zoologist has a $162,000 annual lifetime pension.

Pensions are a growing federal budget burden, rising twice as fast as inflation over the last decade.

•Pension payments cost $70 billion last year, plus $13 billion for retiree health care.
•Taxpayers face a $2 trillion unfunded liability -- the amount needed to cover future benefits -- for these programs, according to the government's audited financial statement.

The average federal pension pays $32,824 annually. The average state and local government pension pays $24,373, Census data show. The average military pension is $22,492. ExxonMobil, which has one of the best remaining private pensions, pays an average of $18,250 per retiree, Labor Department filings show.

The federal government has two retirement systems: one for those hired before 1984 and another for those hired after. Under the older system, employees did not participate in Social Security. The older system covers 78 percent of current retirees and accounts for 96 percent of six-figure pensions. All federal retirees receive health benefits.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Healthcare Costs (ObamaCare) A Mandate Too Far

Costs are the most important aspect of the ACA mandate, and most of the nation doesn't seem to understand just how much this will effect everything we want to do now, and in the future, to move the country forward. This is one sixth of the entire economy and will move even higher over time. To allow one mandated program to literally control our lives is unacceptable.

This November we can stop the insanity by voting out those that are responsible for this nightmare.

Health Care Costs and the Affordable Care Act
Source: James C. Capretta, "Health Care Costs and ObamaCare," Economic Policies for the 21st Century, July 31, 2012.

August 17, 2012
Rapidly rising health costs is the most serious threat to the nation's long-term prosperity. Already, the rapid run-up in federal health entitlement spending is putting tremendous pressure on the federal budget, says James C. Capretta, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

•Between 1972 and 2011, federal spending on Medicare and Medicaid rose from 1.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) to 5.5 percent, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
•CBO's latest projections indicate that spending on these programs, plus the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) new entitlement spending, will push total health entitlement spending up to at least 8.4 percent of GDP by 2030.
•That's a jump in spending of nearly 3 percentage points of GDP compared to today's level -- or the equivalent of another $500 billion in budget outlays.

Unfortunately, the ACA did not lay the foundation for sensible cost control, and did not partially ease budgetary pressures, as has been asserted. Quite the contrary, the ACA will pour an ocean of gasoline on the health entitlement fire, and the supposed cost-control mechanisms are a mirage.

What's needed in American health care is the discipline and accountability that comes with a functioning marketplace. That means empowering consumers, not bureaucrats, to make sound decisions for themselves.

With consumers in the driver's seat, those providing medical services to them will have strong incentives to reorganize their business practices to deliver better care at less cost.

That's the only way to slow the pace of rising costs while maintaining or even improving the quality of care provided to patients.

HealthCare Union Strikes : Is It Just The Money?

Whether it private or public unions, it's still all about the money. And if it's true that the workers actually went into nursing to help the sick, why would they strike so often putting the sick at risk? So like the article states, is it about patient care or is the money that motivates the union members?

What's not mentioned here is how much do the union members pay in dues and how what percentage of their pensions are funded? Another question to ask the union as well is how much money do they give to local and national Democrat parties and how does this effect the communities where the hospitals are located? 

Hospital Unionization Harms the Sick
Source: David Bier and Iain Murray, "Hospital Unionization Harms the Sick," Capital Research Center, August 2012.

August 17, 2012
Desperate for new members, nursing unions are exploring new tactics. This push for members has affected both the number of strikes and the proportion of nurses who are unionized. It has also had negative effects on patient care and health care costs. Strikes put many thousands of patients' lives and health at risk, and unionization contributes to increased health care prices, which reduces the availability of health care, say David Bier and Iain Murray of the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

While private sector unionization has declined in the United States as a whole for decades, the health care sector has been an exception in recent years.

•Union employment fell from 24 percent of private sector workers in 1973 to under 7 percent in 2011.
•Hospital unions have defied this trend by maintaining a workforce presence that is double the national private sector average (14.3 percent).
•Membership has increased by almost a third over the last decade, from 687,000 in 2000 to 907,000 today.

In the last three years, hospital strikes have risen dramatically. According to the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, 2010 saw new health care strikes increase by almost 70 percent over 2009 levels, and last year that number rose by an additional 73 percent. These sharp increases in strikes occurred even though the mere threat of a strike can harm the provision of health care.

The unions claim their members receive insufficient compensation for their crucial work, but the details of their current contracts tell a different story.

•The average nurse at Northern California's Sutter Health Hospitals, for example, made over $130,000 last year with a pension plan worth $84,000 per year.
•Non-salary benefits are also generous at Sutter Health -- nurses receive up to 40 paid days off, and most have an option of a 100 percent employer-paid health benefits plan.
•Temple University nurses made almost $40 an hour when they struck in 2010 -- the equivalent of over $83,000 per year, plus paid vacation and health benefits.

The object for unions isn't patient care or even workers' rights. It's money. Unfortunately, the people who bear the cost of this drive to unionize are the people that most health care workers went into their profession to help.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Doctor Shortage Under ACA Crushes Middle Class Healthcare

Here is the primary thrust of the ObamaCare agenda, divide the country into those that can afford primary health care, the minority, and those that can't, the majority. The majority will be in a failing government system while the minority will be paying directly to the doctor for services.

But quess who wins elections? Guess who will vote to bring down the entire system?

Why the Doctor Can't See You
Source: John C. Goodman, "Why the Doctor Can't See You," August 14, 2012.
August 16, 2012
Most provisions of the Obama health law (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA) kick in on Jan. 1, 2014. Within the decade after that, an additional 30 million people are expected to acquire health plans -- and if the economic studies are correct, they will try to double their use of the health care system. And once the ACA fully takes effect, all of us will be entitled to a long list of preventive services -- with no deductible or copayment, says John C. Goodman, president at the National Center for Policy Analysis, a research fellow at the Independent Institute, and author of Priceless: Curing the Healthcare Crisis.

Here is the problem: The health care system can't possibly deliver on the huge increase in demand for primary care services -- there aren't enough doctors.

When demand exceeds supply in a normal market, the price rises until it reaches a market-clearing level. But in this country, as in other developed nations, Americans do not primarily pay for care with their own money. They pay with time. As a result, the time it takes to get a doctor's appointment will rise.

•For example, the average wait to see a new family doctor in this country is just under three weeks, according to a 2009 survey by medical consultancy Merritt Hawkins.
•But in Boston, Mass. -- which enacted a law under Gov. Mitt Romney that established near-universal coverage -- the wait is about two months.

When demand exceeds supply, doctors have a great deal of flexibility about who they see and when they see them. Not surprisingly, they tend to see those patients first who pay the highest fees, such as those paying out-of-pocket for services like Botox.

Patients in plans that pay below-market prices (such as Medicare, Medicaid and likely those acquired in the ACA's health insurance exchanges) will likely wait longest, as a result. Their wait will only become longer as more and more Americans turn to concierge medicine for care. Concierge medicine basically means that patients pay doctors to be their agents, rather than the agents of third-party-payers such as insurance companies or government bureaucracies.

Here is the problem.

•A typical primary care physician has about 2,500 patients, but when he opens a concierge practice, he'll typically take only about 500 patients with him.
•The 2,000 patients left behind now must find another physician.
•So in general, as concierge care grows, the strain on the rest of the system will become greater.

Goodman predicts that in the next several years concierge medicine will grow rapidly, and every senior who can afford one will have a concierge doctor. A lot of non-seniors will as well. We will quickly evolve into a two-tiered health care system, with those who can afford it getting more care and better care.

California Bans Plastic Bags : Unemployment Goes UP!?

I believe this was known before the ban ever took place but to the nutjobs that are in control here, it was about how they would feel, all fuzzy and warm in side, banning plastic bags.

Given the agenda of the the rest of the government in this state, progressive liberal socialist Democrat, there is no hope for a recovery from the enviable slide into oblivion. California,like Illinois and some other blue states, is beyond comprehension.

A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County's Plastic Bag Ban
Source: Pamela Villarreal and Baruch Feigenbaum, "A Survey on the Economic Effects of Los Angeles County's Plastic Bag Ban," National Center for Policy Analysis, August 16, 2012.

August 16, 2012
In July 2011, Los Angeles County banned the use of thin-film plastic bags for large grocery and retail stores in some areas of the county. In January 2012, the ban took effect for smaller grocery and convenience stores. The ban did not apply to any stores in incorporated areas of Los Angeles County, say Pamela Villarreal, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis, and Baruch Feigenbaum, a policy analyst at the Reason Foundation.

Villarreal and Feigenbaum performed a survey to determine the effects of the ban on sales and employment at the stores affected by the ban. The study also sought to determine if consumers changed their shopping behavior by increasing purchases at stores that could still offer plastic bags. The survey found that following full implementation of the ban, sales increased at stores in incorporated cities compared with stores in unincorporated areas.

The ban also negatively affected employment at stores inside the ban area. While every store inside the ban area was forced to terminate some of its staff, not a single store outside the ban area dismissed any staff. Stores inside the ban area reduced their employment by more than 10 percent. Stores outside the ban area increased their employment by 2.4 percent.

The study examined the environmental and health effects of bag bans, and analyzed their potential costs and benefits. Plastic bags are better for the environment than reusable or paper bags.

•For an equivalent amount of groceries, production of paper bags requires three times as much total energy and recovers only 1 percent of that energy through combustion.
•Paper bags also produce substantially more landfill waste -- for an equivalent amount of groceries, single-use plastic bags produce 15.5 pounds of waste while paper bags produce nearly 75 pounds of waste.

Paper bags also produce more greenhouse gases.

•Plastic bags generate 68 percent fewer greenhouse gases than composted paper bags, and consume 71 percent less energy during production.
•Reusable bags may be the worst of all, needing to be used 104 times to be less polluting than plastic bags; however, such bags are used only 52 times on average.

Policymakers' targeting of plastic bags is unfortunate. Banning or taxing such bags reduces economic activity and increases unemployment. However, plastic bags are less harmful to the environment than either paper or reusable cloth bags. There are no economic or environmental reasons for banning or taxing plastic bags.

Food Stamps A New 'Society' : Live Free

Don't hold your breath if you are waiting for reform in this program. The only way reform will take place is for the Conservatives to take the entire government under it's control, other wise nothing will happen here as food stamps are a great reward for those that want to continue to be unemployed and they must vote progressive liberal Democrat to stay that way.

Dependency is rewarded, the real agenda of progressives, and that it will bring down the entire system is inconsequential.

Reforming the Food Stamp Program
Source: Robert Rector and Katherine Bradley, "Reforming the Food Stamp Program," Heritage Foundation, July 25, 2012.

August 16, 2012
The farm bill is due for reauthorization, including the food stamp program, also known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is the second largest and most rapidly growing welfare program, and current projections suggest that even with the eventual end of the economic stagnation, spending on SNAP will not decrease to prerecession levels, say Robert Rector, a senior research fellow, and Katherine Bradley, a research fellow, at the Heritage Foundation.

Aside from financial concerns, SNAP as a whole is poorly conceived. Unaffected by welfare reform in the 1990s, food stamps is an expensive, old-style entitlement program that discourages work, rewards idleness and promotes long-term dependence.

Recognizing these problems, Rector and Bradley recommend a number of reforms to the program that would allow it to continue to serve those who need it.

•Congress should return food stamp spending to prerecession levels and cap future spending so that states are no longer implicitly encouraged to milk the program for local residents.
•Control over SNAP should be transferred from the Department of Agriculture (which has little experience with welfare programs) to the Department of Health and Human Services.
•Loopholes that allow people to apply despite certain assets and forms of income should be closed, reducing caseloads and costs.
•Unlawful benefit overpayments should be reduced by acquiring more timely and accurate information about recipient earnings.
•Able-bodied food stamp recipients should be required to work, prepare for work or at least look for a job as a condition of receiving aid -- a similar policy proved effective in reforming the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program in the 1990s.

These reforms are generally modeled on the 1990s welfare reform, which replaced the AFDC program with the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) program. That reform slowed the growth of welfare spending and increased employment while reducing both dependence and child poverty, and enjoyed widespread public support.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Rich (1%) Pay 40% of ALL Taxes : Not Enough?

This is just what the progressives want as class warfare is a top priority to divide the country into the groups, and then once divided they can be controlled : The very basis of the progressive liberal Democrat socialists to win elections and thereby get and keep power.

Remember, the progressives have said over and over again, "by any means necessary" to "fundamentally change America". If you don't believe this than you will get the government you voted for.

Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share in Taxes?
August 15, 2012
Source: Peter Ferrara, "Do the Rich Pay Their Fair Share in Taxes?" National Center for Policy Analysis, August 15, 2012.

The central theme of President Obama's tax policy has been that "the rich" do not pay their fair share of federal taxes, and the middle class pays more as a result. But a report issued by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) in July 2012 shows this to be false, says Peter Ferrara, a senior fellow with the National Center for Policy Analysis.

•According to the CBO, the top 1 percent of income earners paid 39 percent of federal individual income taxes in 2009, while earning 13 percent of the income.
•That is down from 2007, before President Obama was elected.
•In 2007, after 25 years of Reagan Republican tax policies, the top 1 percent paid 40 percent of federal individual income taxes -- more than double the 17.6 percent share of taxes paid by the top 1 percent when President Reagan entered office in 1981.

The CBO also reports that:

•In 2009, the bottom 40 percent of income earners were paid cash equal to 10 percent of federal individual income taxes by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), net of any federal income taxes they paid.
•In that same year, the middle 20 percent of income earners -- the true middle class -- paid a net 2.7 percent of total federal individual income taxes, while earning 15 percent of before-tax income.
•And the top 20 percent of income earners -- those earning more than $74,000 -- paid 94 percent of federal individual income taxes, 85 percent more than the share of national income they earned.

Even counting payroll taxes in addition to other federal taxes, the story is the same. The "rich" and upper income workers still pay almost all federal taxes, with the middle class and lower income workers paying far lower proportions and rates.

Indeed, in 2009, according to the CBO:

•The middle 20 percent of income earners paid just 9 percent of federal taxes, less than two-thirds their share of income.
•By contrast, the top 1 percent alone paid over 22 percent of all federal taxes, while earning 13 percent of the income.
•And the top 20 percent of earners paid nearly 70 percent of all federal taxes, while earning 50 percent of the income.

Ethanol Drives Up Food Prices AND Starves the World

One has to wonder what moral standard the politicians use in congress when they continue to support the Ethanol mandate? Is this what we sent these people to Washington to do? What ever happened to common sense? What's wrong with doing the right thing for the country?

This November, understand what's a stake and just who is responsible for the insanity that drives such legislation, and then vote them out!!

Ethanol vs. the World
Source: "Ethanol vs. the World," Wall Street Journal, August 13, 2012.
August 15, 2012

In 2007 and 2008, food prices spiked, resulting in much higher U.S. grocery bills and far more hunger in the poorest countries as the global supply chain buckled. The world may now be on the cusp of a 2012 reprise amid the drought in the Midwest farm belt, the worst in 50 years. Luckily, there are plenty of simple, modest things Washington can do to alleviate and even prevent another crisis. The problem is that these fixes are opposed by a minor industry -- ethanol -- that adds little if any value to the economy, says the Wall Street Journal.

•The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently downgraded its 2012 corn forecast by 13 percent from last year's crop, to 10.8 billion bushels.
•That would be the shortest harvest since 2006, even though the acreage planted with corn rose 4 percent since last year and is the highest since 1937.
•Scorching temperatures and little rainfall have left only 24 percent of the crop in good or excellent condition in the 18 major corn belt states, down from 72 percent in June.
•These represent the largest month-to-month potential declines in grain yields since the USDA started to keep records.
•Also on Friday the USDA's world agricultural outlook board estimated that global corn consumption will be off by 38.9 million tons, with the U.S. problems responsible for three-fourths of the shortage.
•The gap is likely to presage climbing basic-food commodity prices -- corn futures are up nearly 50 percent over the last six weeks.

Corn is also a key ingredient in the combine of political power and corporate welfare that is U.S. alternative energy policy.

•The food-to-fuel mandate is known as the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and requires 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the gasoline supply this year and 36 billion gallons by 2022.
•These quotas are fulfilled almost entirely by corn ethanol.
•Four of every 10 bushels in 2011 went into the stuff.

If not for the politics, the ethanol mandate would have been gone years ago. Oil costs and imports are up (ethanol makes up less than 1 percent of worldwide transportation fuel), and even the green lobby has turned against the fuel (because of the carbon-increasing deforestation it causes).