Archive for the ‘Economics’ Category

The Nonsense Nobel Winner

September 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Paul Krugman

I found Friday’s Op-Ed column in the New York Times, by Nobel Prize winner in economics, Paul Krugman, both misleading and trite. While I do not know how much he might be paid for this column, he makes the case this week that he is overpaid, no matter the amount. He has used his personal soap box in this column, repeatedly to attack what he believes are Mitt Romney’s beliefs, impugns the GOP’s belief in small business creators and owners, and repeats the progressives’ favorite lie, that the GOP just does not care about the common-man, the middle class in America.

Krugman mentions the newly released video of Mitt Romney, where Romney says that 47 percent of the country is now “unreachable”. Romney says he is not interested even trying to reach 47 percent of voters, not because they are middle-class working stiffs, as Krugman would have you believe, but because that 47 percent have already decided who they are voting for. There are 47 percent of people who buy into the Obama message of dependence and victim-hood. To Romney, it would be a matter of wasting time and resources, going after a demographic that simply is not interested in Romney’s philosophy. Perhaps that is a novel concept – getting a good return on an investment – for progressives, having seen the past three years of waste after waste perpetrated on the American people by Democrats, while they swear that any time now the economy will sputter to life once again.

Krugman goes on to say the GOP should think better of the 47 percent, setting up a false dichotomy – that either the GOP should love them, as the left does, or that the GOP hates them. To Krugman, there are no other options. I find it funny, though, that the left’s love for them means giving them healthcare bill that saddles them with a crippling new tax, and that will necessarily raise their insurance premiums by allowing their children to remain on the parents’ policies until age 26. The left are also the ones that think a lifetime dependent on the government is a wonderful thing. That is a warped type of love…

Krugman goes on to bemoan a tweet by House Majority Leader, Eric Cantor, on Labor Day. Krugman’s issue is that Cantor praised people who took chances to build their own businesses, and did not quite give organized labor the due deference Krugman thought it should receive on “its day”. The horrendous tweet Krugman named?

That is pretty terrible. Eric Cantor had the gall to compliment people who have worked hard, and built their own businesses — and he did it on Labor Day, too! Doing far more damage was Krugman’s pointing it out, and then warping what Cantor meant, to fit into Krugman’s own purpose. Krugman found fault with Romney’s RNC speech too – the mortal sin? Romney never once said the word, “worker”! Obama, in contrast, said “worker” many times, Krugman tells us – and apparently that, and not the actual effects of policy mean something to Krugman.

Krugman also took Romney to task for his opinion about immigrants. Romney said in his remarks that immigrants have come to America “…in pursuit of ‘freedom to build a business’.” Krugman criticizes Romney for not mentioning the workers again. So, according to Krugman, unless Romney mentions them, he cannot stand them – again, another false dichotomy.

Eventually, Krugman stumbles onto a decent point, but then he becomes guilty of drawing a false conclusion from it. He blames big money for the Republican’s “disdain for workers”. He claims that the big money has “bought” the entire right-wing, and are now running it as they please. Krugman goes on to blame also Ayn Rand and adherents to her philosophy. It is the owners and operators of businesses, Krugman tells us, who are all responsible for economic activity.

While Krugman spews forth many points, and many things that he considers self-evident “facts”, he is off base most of the time, and even when he approaches what might be considered a cogent point, he seems to swerve suddenly back into the left-wing weeds. He does little more than attack Mitt Romney with false issues (citing Romney’s lack of mentioning a group as some sort of failing or sign that he hates the unsaid group). At other times, Krugman projects the actions of the left onto the right (big money buying sway? I wonder if Krugman’s ever heard of George Soros?) Finally, Krugman tries to tie the whole column together with the hackneyed point that the entire right-wing has become a party of wealthy, non-thinking, idiotic, drones – if that is not projection, I do not know what is.

The inane Op-ed column can be read here:


Obamacare Has Been Breathed Life – Where Do We Go From Here?

June 28, 2012 Leave a comment

I awoke this morning, too late to catch live news of the Supreme Court’s decision regarding Obamacare, and its Constitutionality. A quick look at Twitter, however, both shocked and stupefied me. Confirmation came about the forgone conclusion, that the justices’ votes would be split along a 5-4 line. However, the actual members’ votes, and the way that they split, came as a shock to most on the right.

The Supreme Court Justices

The Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States

We know now, that the court found the Obamacare fiasco/law, legal and Constitutional. The man who most on the right worried about, Justice Anthony Kennedy, actually voted against upholding the law. Kennedy was also credited with one of the harshest opinions for the minority dissent. On page 65 of the dissent, the justices Alito, Kennedy, Scalia, and Thomas found that: “For the reasons here stated, we would find the Act invalid in its entirety.” (emphasis mine)

While many on the right may have heard the decision, and immediately decided to fret, and engage in their best Chicken Little impressions, I think that there are some very important take-aways from today’s proceedings:

  • The battle for universal healthcare is far from over. Indeed, that the battlefield that Obamacare is fought upon is merely shifting, from the Supreme Court, back to Congress, as the law and its funding mechanism, is finally classified as it should have been all along – as a tax, and not as a penalty. It was penalty-based funding that would have sunk the whole thing under the Commerce Clause. As tax-funded, it is my understanding that it will now be actually easier to kill in Congress.
  • The short, but powerful, addendum by Justice Thomas, which stated, yet again, that the Commerce Clause is not a club, used  to  compel action, but that it is a whip, used to correct actions already taking place.
  • The ruling decided, once and for all, that Congress cannot compel Americans to purchase anything by threat of force or penalty.
  •  Unfortunately, today also showed some people on the right, can be as easily stirred up, and they will react like those on the left. While I will admit to being confused at first to the ruling, as I let it slowly process, my reactionary feelings ebbed, and as usual, I began to see some of these silver linings emerge.
  • I found it interesting too, in dissent that the Justices mention that the job of the Supreme Court is to promote and protect the structural freedoms of the American people. I sort of took that as  a, “hey – people wake up, and realize what is going on in this country – pay attention to what is occurring in your name.”

All in all, the result was depressing to me, but with so many doors opened by the decision, I think the sum of the eventual outcomes will paint Roberts as less a goat, and more a hero. The only problem now is, will Congress actually step up to the plate and do what the people want – and will those same people hold that same Congress responsible in November?

Wisconsin Wins – What Can We Glean From Them?

June 6, 2012 Leave a comment
Walker and Kleefisch

Celebrating, Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch

Yesterday’s monumental wins by Scott Walker and Rebecca Kleefisch are still being celebrated today by the right, and bitterly bemoaned by the left. As the left put their faith in exit polls shared by media sources MSNBC and others, the races looked like they would be fairly close. Despite the president’s reluctance to show his support for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett (until an 11th hour tweet), maybe it was somehow possible Barrett still had a good chance to keep the race close.  As it turns out, the race was not really that close at all, and for all their spending, democrats were left with a big bag of nothing, going 0-2 in the recall races.

As an analytical guy, I think that there are some very strong, very significant, takeaways from this special recall election.

  • The Wisconsin voters did not buy the rhetoric that having public employees pay a fraction of their own insurance costs would somehow put them into the poor house. The voters, who typically pay more for their own insurance, and had to then pay a lion’s share of public sector employees’ costs had enough. After the past few years of burgeoning governments, and massive spending by both state and federal governments, voters let their votes speak for them: enough is enough. The left would be careful not to neglect the message that progressive policies, and its empty rhetoric, is now at an all-time nadir.
  • Despite media sources’ best efforts to sell the president as a friendly every man, and someone who’s infinitely more capable than his administration and his track record shows, he has still only has lukewarm support among some big names, even on the left. The biggest story of this election is the revelation that Bill Clinton, patron saint of democrats, still has a distaste for Obama. In the last presidential election, against Hilary, a shocked Bill Clinton revealed that the Obama campaign “played the race card on me…and they planned to do it all along.” Is it the result of two massive cults of personality, butting heads? The result of the greatest contemporary democratic president (Clinton) and the man who’s billed as the greatest democratic president (Obama)?
  • We also learned that state democrats and other Barrett supporters were angry at the Democratic National Committee for not spending any funds against Walker and Kleefisch, but that the DNC helped in other ways. I wonder if the “extensive resources” mentioned in the Kos article is in any way tied to the out-of-state buses taking people to polling places? Could this be a result of the national DNC attempting to save and pool money for the lackluster Obama campaign throughout this summer and fall? Might the national elections this fall mirror these attempts to unfairly sway elections, but on a much, much larger scale?
  • Lastly, the distinct lack of enthusiasm on the left may continue to spread as college graduates struggle to find jobs where there are none, and high school students, who will generally do odds jobs or other minimum wage work, see those jobs evaporate as over-qualified adults take the positions. The distinct lack of job creation, coupled with an influx of new workers, added to a stagnant economy overall, does not bode well for Obama’s re-election hopes. As he admitted himself, if he could not turn around the economy, he would be a one-term president.

Leftwing Logic Fails Again

April 28, 2012 Leave a comment

When I am in the mood for some nonsensical, ludicrous, rantings and ravings, there is a very good chance that someone (or some agency) that embraces a left-wing ideology, will come through. This week, I was not let down. The left came through with a couple of highly visible, and highly questionable, actions. One of which is on-going, and currently in the legal system, and the other has received so much blow-back, it has already been withdrawn.

IUOE 150

International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150

First, in response to Indiana’s new labor law, making Indiana a right-to-work state, a union decided to file a lawsuit. The International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 150, filed suit in Northern Indiana District Court, against Governor Mitch Daniels, Attorney General Gregory Zoeller, and Indiana Department of Labor Commissioner, Lori Torres. The union claims that they must be allowed to continue to collect dues from non-union workers, because the non-union workers also benefit from the union’s negotiations and receive similar pay to unionized workers (I think of it as a knee-capping being sold under the guise of “fairness”). While I understand that the union has to coordinate various activities and pay assorted administrative costs, when I see unions in different states, throwing millions of dollars at campaigns to recall governors, and donating millions of dollars to get “friendly” candidates elected, my empathy wanes.

It appears that the union wants the methods it uses to exact goodies from the employers, to be used on the workers as well. The union is saying that they need someone or someway to compel people to give them capital, so that they can perform operations. The Indiana law removes that compelling force, and makes unions responsible for actually creating a tangible return on payee money. Instead, the union wastes more money on a lawsuit that they are more than likely to lose, and as if that were not a big enough fiasco, the lawsuit claims without that compelling force, the state is acting in a manner that is tantamount to slavery. Citing the 13th Amendment, the union claims that they are being forced to provide a service, without payment, which is therefore, “involuntary servitude.” The union mentions too, that the new law violates Article I, Section 21 of the Indiana Constitution, because the union would have to provide their services “…without just compensation.” Yes, that is correct – the union is claiming that they are being made slaves to their members, since the members would no longer have to pay dues. Never mind the fact that the union can choose to not provide services to non-paying members…

The second liberal logical misstep occurred when it was revealed that the United States Department of Labor wanted to change rules regarding child labor laws regarding farming. For Americans already fed up with what they consider government meddling, hearing that the government wants to dictate to parents, that they can no longer have their kids farming beside them was a step too far. The proposal would have allowed for some older children to work around animals and equipment (banning nearly all teens under 16 from working around power equipment), but only after completing a new “90 hour federal government training course”, which would replace tried and true training from other entities (like 4-H). Farming families were shocked to learn that they now were at the mercy of the government as to the things that they could teach their children. Thousands of angry emails and messages later, the administration decided that, perhaps this was not such a great idea to waste their non-existent political capital on. Trying to spin the reversal, the Labor Department said they wanted to help “…protect the rural way of life.”

These two failures of the left to use some common sense and insist that their way is the only way, is precisely why a large amount of the country does not trust the left, or do they any longer accept anything that the left says with an open mind. The continuous nonsense that the left has tried to sell the U.S. for the past decade, has created a hyper-cynical and disbelieving public, which has had the effect of also infecting the media, due to their strong support of the policies. We now have a highly ineffective media, and a political wing, whether it may ever stumble on a good idea or not, that is not even taken at face value. The country now faces one large group of angry, entitled special interests, and an administration and press that reinforces their (incorrect) belief that they should be entitled. What could go wrong?

No Plans, No Problem!

April 5, 2012 1 comment

So, our dear leader warns us that once again, those crazy Republicans want to drive this country into the ground – by stealing money from everyone of us, who are struggling to break even, and then generously give it to people that hardly need it (their filthy rich buddies – the 1%). He neglects to mention that the fact so many of us are struggling to break even may have something to do with his still-failing economic policies – but that is ok, since, as he has promised us for three years now, happy days are just ahead (thanks to him). The GOP just wants to cut and cut, like a mad lumberjack in a forest, not caring what they strike, so long as the ax connects, the president would have us believe. Obama even went so far as to claim Republicans’ mentality as being “…driven by our ideological vision about how government should be” and he went even further, claiming the Republicans were sticking with the same types of economic decisions that drove the country into the Great Depression.

The Senate, having not given the country a budget in the past three years, has not deterred Republicans from trying their hands at writing one in the House, but Paul Ryan’s most recent effort was met with the usual scatterbrained excuses and rhetoric. Obama tells us children will starve and Medicare patients will be without their medicines (never mind his own cutting of $528 billion from the Medicare roles, via Obamacare), and finally, that he is not the extreme progressive that he is painted. Indeed, he even went so far as to invoke the names of two outstanding Republicans to compare himself to – Abraham Lincoln (yes, again) and Ronald Reagan. By talking of the Reagan-era, Obama attempted to point out how far right the GOP has moved, and claims Reagan could not win a primary now. For their parts, Republican leaders took the most natural response: they snickered and asked what Obama’s policies would do to help the country. After stumbling, and realizing how much his words were parsed these days, he sauntered off.

I find it odd, that the man who thought it would be brilliant to sign into law, legislation that no one had read, and who continues to defend his administration’s $535 million boondoggle loan to a solar company that “needed” talking robots, would be criticizing anybody’s plans. The president who has created more debt and higher deficits than any other president in history – wants to criticize others’ efforts to try to fix the mess? On the administration’s face, it has been do-little as a matter of course. When it has actually done anything, it seems to be with negative outcomes, or so completely, horribly wrong, one has to wonder if anyone is awake at the wheel. In Iran, with the promising “Green Revolution”, he did nothing as people were beaten in the streets – now he wants to punish some of the same people with crippling sanctions. The president wanted to help Libyan rebels – but violated the War Powers Act to do so. He wanted to help and support the Egyptian uprising – but he stalled for so long, now it appears the Muslim Brotherhood is licking its lips at a presidential election run. In Syria now, where civilians are being fired on, and bombed by the military? The president decides it is better to let the region solve that problem on its own. Our ally in the region, Israel recently had intelligence on their own allies leaked as well. Former Ambassador John Bolton points his finger at the administration…

Obama’s record is so anemic and is full of massive failures. He cannot kowtow to his base of environmentalists, without having the rest of America howling about oil prices. He cannot stretch the military much further than he already has. And he cannot do anything but tear down others, to even make it seem as though he has accomplished anything (I call that “maximizing by minimizing”). At this point, I would rather have a coin in the Oval Office – after all, you can count on it to make a right decision 1/2 of the time.


" can only hide it for so long..."

Mitt-ila The Hun

January 13, 2012 1 comment

The man came from the east, and rode aboard a midnight black steed, with angry fire in its eyes. The steed seemed reluctant to allow anyone but its rider to even get close to it. The mount whinnied uneasily, and lived for moments it could swoop in and, with its rider cause confusion and destruction. Once its rider saddled up, they were unstoppable. Always riding all-out, and never looking back, they rode without care nor conscience.
One of the most infamous raids, that so many remember, came one day in the 90s, in the middle of the country. Mitt-ila with his steed, Bain, came to the steel mill, licking his lips, and casing everything that he would soon own and be able to plunder and turn asunder. Sparks flew from the horse’s hooves  as they rode onto the grounds. The horse and its master began the blood-letting – the guild members, their pay, the equipment – they began laying waste to everything in sight…Soon, their nefarious plans were complete, and the tiny factory was no more.

What is this? This is the Newt-would-approve-if-he-read-it-version of Mitt Romney’s time at Bain Capital. This is the, politically-expedient version of what happened in Kansas City. Mitt of course, the ardent anti-capitalist and destroyer of all that he touched, only wanted the companies Bain invested in for their liquidity values, right? I mean, why would anyone invest in a company that they may be able to resurrect, and restore to profitability (and make far more money, than just relying on the liquidity value)? Once a company is seen to have its best days behind it, the person who attributes this “un-profitable operating” designation could never have any ways of turning it around – its only value is in plundering anything and everything that still has any value. Right? So it is raid and plunder away.

Except – that is not always the way that business happens. I would venture to guess it is seldom that a capital company step in and buys a company solely for its liquid assets, before it has declared bankruptcy, when the investing company can buy it for a song. That seems like paying extra for the “privilege” of going through bankruptcy proceedings and haggling with creditors. With the intention of retrofitting and upgrading the facilities at Kansas City located “GST Steel”, Bain made investments and attempted to turn the troubled steelmaker around. After investments of $100 million were sunk into the plant, due to myriad mismanagement issues, tons of cheap Chinese-made steel (made and sold at a loss, to gain market share), and the debt-load created to save the plant, it still had to be closed. 750 people lost their jobs as a result.

It should be mentioned, but seldom seems to be, that the Chinese steel is probably more to blame for GST’s failure than any other factors, including: Bain Capital’s “raiding”, more competitive American steel foundries, and obsolescing equipment. Add to that, some of the most misguided management that I have ever read about (like hiring managers for this steel plant, that had previously worked in retail for Wal-Mart), and it appears that the factory was always doomed. Some 40+ other American steel companies went under in the same time GST was slowly rusting away.

My main issues with the attack of Romney (and attacks of him, under the guise of attacks of Bain) are the fact that supposed conservative and right-wing candidates are making the majority of them. The fact that some are using Romney’s time at Bain as a way to compare him to Bernie Madoff, and his criminal Ponzi scheme (that was James Clyburn), is also disheartening. As a matter of fact, Mitt wasn’t even with Bain at the time GST finally gasped and was shuttered. Now it’s like all hands on deck for a thrashing of the mechanism that built this country, and gave so many people the lives we enjoy.

The way that I see it, if a person is going to attack a function of capitalism, and stand behind their point, whether it is legitimate or not, it would also mean that the same arbitrary condemnation could apply to any function of capitalism. You don’t like paying some of your bills – then don’t, because you think it’s “unfair.” You don’t like having to pay a manufacturers’ makeup? Well, don’t pay it then – you’ve deemed it “unfair” too. When we slip into a mindset of the left, where, this is fair, that is unfair, this group over here has more than you (and you really deserve it more than they do), and that some big, bad, government boogie-man is piling on with those filthy rich fat cats, it is easy to find yourself getting angry. The trick is to channel that anger and frustration – almost like using that destructive feeling for something…Creative.

Political Machination and the Middle Class

December 29, 2011 2 comments

When I mention the “Middle Class”, I would suspect most Americans immediately think, “Hey, that’s me!”, and they pay attention. However, it is an over-used, hackneyed phrase in politics. Whenever a politician wants instantly to grab attention of the American populace, they bring up the “Middle Class”. Since it is usually used by politicians in a “threatened-species” manner, the Middle Class members sit up straight, and listen intently. The Upper Class pays attention, because they are out numbered by the Middle Class (and despite what some people claim, more votes certainly do still count). The Lower Class pays attention because they see the Middle Class as the destination that they are struggling to earn their way into. Politicians, belonging to a class all their own, notice these behavioral tendencies of the three main groups, and smell opportunity.

Something for everyone?

The government is NOT Robin Hood!

For the politicians to use the knee-jerk reaction of the Lower Class, I find their methods very insidious. Usually, what the politicians will do is tell the L.C. that their “gravy train”, their government-granted entitlements, or any other government-dolled goodies are in dire jeopardy because of the actions of the filthy rich. While this will not cause as large a reaction, because the L.C. is less mobile and likely to show up at their Congressman’s office. Anytime someone is given something, and then they are told it is threatened – watch the anger at losing that entitlement explode.

For the politicians to use the reaction of the Upper Class, they can threaten that the M.C. will push for higher wages or take a larger part of the Uppers Class’s wealth in any other number of ways. The U.C., then finding themselves threatened may decide to react by using their money and friendships in Washington to affect change in their favors. Most recently, I think that the more common method of trying to keep goodwill is for the constituents to offer to pay higher taxes (knowing that it will never come to that).  I find it interesting to think that a class so often seen as miserly and “above-it-all”, still seems to be so easily swayed by this type of rhetoric.

The dirty trick is, according to where the politicians put their measuring sticks, the Middle Class could be made to be any group. From an income of $30,000 up to $120,000? You are Middle Class. From $28,000 to $150,000? Boom – you are Middle Class. It is all about political expediency. The politicians constantly play fast and loose with rules, regulations, and our money, so why should their rhetoric be any different? If there is a political point to be made, or some “points” to be earned for their next election, they will paint you in any shade that they need to, to make their point (or to engage fully in their fear-mongering). The Middle Class has to be the most bandied-about segment of America.

These methods of politicians to get various classes to argue and fight with one another, while the politicians get away with murder, creates this huge positive feedback loop. Costs increase with every promise and entitlement given. While it seems to have been this way as long as this blogger can remember, I do not expect it to change (especially since blowing that class-dog-whistle works so well). The government has given goodies to pry support from certain groups, and now it is nearly impossible to reduce it. They need constantly to keep money flowing, while others, seeing these sweet deals, want their “fair share” too. Ever-increasing funds are needed as more and more people join the rolls. Where is it supposed to all come from? Sometimes, I wonder how much a little critical thought is worth – well politicians are attempting to figure that out for us all.

(This post took me forever, due primarily to the fact I started Tweeting, and that’s like Internet crack. I told those responsible that they’d be noted as my distractions): @tamale102280, @iteabellsingers, and @apologyispolicy
They’re good people – follow ’em if you don’t already!