Thursday, May 26, 2011

Government should not be in the biz of creating jobs

I received this article in a newsletter I get each week from the Mises Institute, which promotes the Austrian theory of economics.

The author wanted to remain anonymous because he was afraid his company would suffer retribution from the U.S. Government. Yes, folks, it's come to that under Obama. Speak against him and you become an enemy, and we know that he views political opponents as enemies.

Here's some excerpts:

The last few years as an executive in a manufacturing company gave me a frighteningly close look at the inner workings of regulators in our government. Maybe I'm just naive, but what I discovered was shocking.

In the past, I realized our leaders were disingenuous when they spoke about "creating jobs" and "improving the economy." Now, I have a slightly different take. After my experiences this year, and after giving this a lot of thought, I am adamant that our leaders have no business in the first place "creating jobs," or "improving the economy," or even claiming they have the ability to do so.

In fact, I have witnessed the loss of jobs as a direct result of regulations by unnamed and unelected bureaucrats, who are backed up by threats of prosecution from the government. Our government is stifling job creation.

Although I am not a conspiracy theorist, I am certain that if I wrote about my experience with specifics, the company for which I work would suffer retribution by our government. I do not have the right to put them in jeopardy. And if the legal department of my employer knew I was writing this, they would "lose it." For these reasons, I feel it necessary to write anonymously and with some imprecision.

This fear of retribution, in and of itself, is a powerful statement about the sad conditions in which we live and do business in the United States.

Read the rest of this article at Mises website.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

WIC cuts? Oh my!

WIC, a federal program that is supposed to provide assistance to low-income families with children will have its budget cut back under a GOP proposal. The proposed cut would scale back spending on WIC (Women, Infants and Children) to 2008 levels, about $6.3 billion.

As you can imagine, the left-wingers and liberals and Democrats in general are up in arms over this. What hypocrites, they cry. Taking food away from hungry kids! Tax cuts for millionaires (well, those who make more than $200,000)! Subsidies for big oil with their obscene profits (8 cents on the dollar)! My oh my!

(BTW, any informed person knows that the oil and gas industry does not get subsidies, but tax credits similar to all businesses, so it's really the tax code that needs to be reformed).

The truth is this: Food subsidies now cost the taxpayer nearly $100 billion a year, which has almost doubled in the last decade. The federal government as a whole has about 26 food and nutrition programs operated by six different agencies.

Originally set to help low-income families, currently about 45 percent of all families receive WIC payments. Here we go: So about 50 percent of Americans are helping to support the other 50 percent!

Remarkably, the WIC program accounts for about half of all infant formula sold in the nation. The program was supposed to be only for low-income families, yet it now provides free formula for many middle-income families that certainly don’t need government subsidies.

An even more troubling aspect of WIC is that it encourages parents to feed their babies infant formula rather than breast milk. The share of mothers on WIC who are breastfeeding is substantially lower than that of mothers not using WIC. That effect runs directly counter to the universal advice of health care experts regarding the superiority of breast milk for child development. The WIC program results in low-income parents substituting less nutritious formula for more nutritious mother’s milk.

Another troubling aspect of WIC is that the program’s large subsidies for infant formula appear to be driving up the retail price. The price of formula has risen rapidly since the early 1980s as WIC enrollment has increased. Because recipients are not sensitive to the pricing of WIC food items such as formula, stores can raise prices and receive larger cash redemptions from state agencies.

The WIC program drives up the cost of formula for families not on the program as well, and some portion of the taxpayer subsidies for WIC ends up going to the makers of infant formula. This “leakage” of benefits is a common problem in subsidy programs. It is thought, for example, that rising government subsidies for college education have helped spur the rapid inflation in college tuition costs.

Spending must be cut. We just can't keep increasing the number of Americans getting payments from the government. There isn't enough money. Even if you taxed all "millionaires" 100 percent, there still wouldn't be enough money.

There will be some compromises made, and other agencies -- like Defense -- will also have to be cut. Hey, how much are we spending by bombing Libya in an illegal war.

But crying over this cut is nonsense.

I have a new nickname for Obama

Oh yea. After his trashing of U.S.-Israeli relations, and his bafoonery in the United Kingdom, he is now dufus-in-chief. And speaking of his foreign policy handling of Israel, I don't think I've ever witnessed a poorer performance by a sitting U.S. President. He was going to get the world to like us. But they're just laughing.

Netanyahu had him for lunch and spit him right out.

And here he is hard at work in London.

His foreign policy is just as good as his domestic policy: it's a train wreck. I'm not sure we can last the next 20 months. 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pelosi gets 20 percent of new healthcare waivers

If "ObamaCare" is so great, why have more than 1,000 waivers been granted? But "we-have-to-pass-the-bill-to-see-what's-in-it" Pelosi's district got more than its fair share.

As reported by the Daily Caller, of the 204 new Obamacare waivers President Barack Obama’s administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

That’s in addition to the 27 new waivers for health care or drug companies and the 31 new union waivers Obama’s Department of Health and Human Services approved.

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide, and the companies that won them didn’t have much in common with companies throughout the rest of the country that have received Obamacare waivers.

Other common waiver recipients were labor union chapters, large corporations, financial firms and local governments. But Pelosi’s district’s waivers are the first major examples of luxurious, gourmet restaurants and hotels getting a year-long pass from Obamacare.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Santana: Great musician, but ignorant of history

At a ball game in Atlanta, here's what Carlos Santana had to say:
"Never mind about immigration, because everyone immigrated. Everyone is an immigrant, other than American Indians," Santana said. "So stop shucking and jiving and slipping and sliding and make some spiritual traction. Spiritual traction is, really read the Constitution, you know, and live your life. Stop shucking and jiving and doing what other people tell you to do. Do what your heart tells you to do...."

"If people want the immigration law to keep passing in every state then everybody should get out and just leave the American Indians here. This is about civil rights."
Wrong. We are NOT all immigrants. I'm not. My grandparents were. Even if you go back to 1775, about half of those signing the Declaration were born on American soil. The others were colonists, not immigrants. 

If you want to get really technical, based on Santana's rant, even the American Indians can be considered immigrants. Their ancestors, it is believed, migrated here as well, across the Bering Straits.

Illegal immigration is a problem. Since the feds aren't dealing with it, the states are forced to. These are not racist laws. And it is about civil rights: The civil rights of U.S. citizens and legal immigrants.

Being a good actor or musician doesn't mean you're smart on other subjects.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Boeing: If government wins, we all lose

Boeing is building a new aircraft, the 787, an aircraft that can carry up to 250 passengers some 8,000+ miles, using 20 percent less fuel than today's jetliners. They have so many orders that the current assembly plant in Washington can't handle all the business.

So Boeing decides to build a new plant in South Carolina to supplement the older factory. After 18 months and about a billion dollars, Boeing is ready to start hiring workers so they can start building next year.

But wait. The union in Washington files a complaint with the feds. So Boeing has to stop until the hearings clear all of this up, which could take up to 2 years and cost millions in legal fees.

The union says Boeing is short-changing the union by building a new plant in a state that doesn't require an employee to join a union in order to work. (Right-to-work state). The union claims the decisions was retaliation for a strike in 2008 which cost Boeing billions. (Some airlines said that if another strike occurs, they'd be forced to take their business elsewhere).

Boeing says the decision was based on business principles, and that after talking to the union about the building of the 787, decided it was better business to build the plant elsewhere. Not one worker in Washington will be laid off, and they will continue to build 8-9 airplanes a month, while South Carolina will build 3 a month.

If the union wins, business everywhere will lose. The American people will lose. International companies will be afraid to build factories here. American business will be motivated to build elsewhere.

If a business can't build a plant or open a new division where they want, based on sound business principles, what has become of this country?

How does this help? How are unions even relevant to today's world? Look at what the unions did to Detroit...

We had more freedoms under King George in 1775, didn't we?

Here's the plant, and below that is the plane Boeing wants to build in South Carolina, but may not be allowed to by our government.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Yes, Mr. President, I do want alligators in my moat

From Lauri B. Regan at American Thinker:
In yet another one of Obama's highly touted campaign speeches (are there any other type?), the President once again chose to use derisive rhetoric to whip up the masses against those horrible Republicans. Obama attempted to put the GOP on the defensive by suggesting that Republicans not only want the country surrounded by a moat to prevent evil immigrants from entering, but that in order to ensure success, they would fill the moat with alligators.

Apparently, the only result that Obama achieved from these ridiculous and extremely un-presidential one-liners was an electorate feeling complete and utter disgust at his obnoxious display of arrogance with regard to such an important domestic issue. The country is in economic turmoil and is being threatened by terrorists who originate in the Middle East and Northern Africa but who are crossing our borders undetected, and our president wants to lead from behind so that he can campaign (and bash Republicans) from in front...

...I am getting sick and tired of his kitschy, fighting rhetoric designed to pit citizen against citizen. And it sickens me that the American taxpayer is paying for the garbage that comes out of this President's mouth -- the man who urges civility is the most hypocritical, uncivil President in the history of the country. And it stems from his flawed character and single-minded desire to remain in power.
I agree.

Once again, Obama is loose with the facts.

In his recent immigration speech, Obama claimed that the "fence is now basically complete." But there are only 350 miles of fence along the 1,954 miles of border. That's 18 percent.

Charles Krauthammer explains all this nonsense perfectly:

Obama then boasted that on his watch 31 percent more drugs have been seized, 64 percent more weapons — proof of how he has secured the border. And for more proof: Apprehension of illegal immigrants is down 40 percent. Down? Indeed, says Obama, this means that fewer people are trying to cross the border.
(On a side note, it has been revealed that Homeland Security has directed the Border Patrol to apprehend fewer illegals crossing the border. Just send them back south. That way, the numbers will agree with the premise that the border is more secure because the Patrol is apprending fewer people.)

Krauthammer continues:

Interesting logic. Seizures of drugs and guns go up — proof of effective border control. Seizures of people go down — yet more proof of effective border control. Up or down, it matters not. Whatever the numbers, Obama vindicates himself.

You can believe this flimflam or you can believe the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The GAO reported in February that less than half the border is under “operational control” of the government. Which undermines the entire premise of Obama’s charge that, because the border is effectively secure, “Republicans who said they supported broader reform as long as we got serious about enforcement” didn’t really mean it.

I count myself among those who really do mean it. I have little doubt that most Americans would be quite willing to regularize and legalize the current millions of illegal immigrants if they were convinced that this was the last such cohort, as evidenced by, say, a GAO finding that the border is under full operational control and certification to the same effect by the governors of the four southern border states.

Americans are a generous people. Upon receipt of objective and reliable evidence that the border is secure — not Obama’s infinitely manipulable interdiction statistics — the question would be settled and the immigrants legalized.
And again, I agree.

More global warming insanity

Every weather event is affected by global warming? Hmmm...Or is it climate change? I never can figure out where we're going. Some days it's warming, other days it's cooling, and lately it's just change, period. Of course the climate is changing. Always has been. But to left-wing kooks, it's a way for them to push their socialist, freedom-destroying agenda.

On a web site called "ThinkProgress", they reveal their mushy thinking in these two paragraphs, nearly blaming the tornado outbreak in late April on the victims because they vote Republican.

“Given that global warming is unequivocal,” climate scientist Kevin Trenberth cautioned the American Meteorological Society in January of this year, “the null hypothesis should be that all weather events are affected by global warming rather than the inane statements along the lines of ‘of course we cannot attribute any particular weather event to global warming.’” [Emphasis mine]

The congressional delegations of these states — Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, Georgia, Virginia, and Kentucky — overwhelmingly voted to reject the science that polluting the climate is dangerous. They are deliberately ignoring the warnings from scientists.

For those of you who don't know what a null hypothesis is, I'll provide a brief explanation. A null hypothesis can be considered a default position. For example, in our legal system, a defendant is considered innocent until proven guilty. The null hypothesis is that the defendant is innocent.

More technically, the typical null hypothesis at the outset of the experiment is that no difference exists between the control and experimental groups (for the variable being compared).

So in the statement above, the null hypothesis is that all weather events are affected by global warming. But for anyone who has studied statistics and/or the scientific method at the graduate level (undergrad schools don't cover it well enough or not at all), this is backwards. The null hypothesis should be that weather events are NOT affected by global warming.

Your actual hypothesis then, the one you have to prove, is that any or all weather events are affected by global warming. This is why the "proof" or "fact" of global warming is wrong when you use the incorrect null hypothesis.

I'm not saying that global warming won't affect weather systems. But to accept the null hypothesis above would be bad science. And just so I don't get blasted by the loonies, polluting the environment is bad because we all like clean air and water, don't get confused here.

No wonder our education system is screwed up. Garbage in, garbage out.

The end of the age of terror?

Eugene Robinson, who lives in a left-wing fantasy world, claims in an IBD editorial that with the death of Osama bin Laden, the Age of Terror is about to end. Yes, there will be some terror attacks in the name of Islam, but "most will be amateurish failures," he writes.

But Foreign Affairs published an article the same day that claims that "Al Qaeda is likely to survive bin Laden's killing for one simple reason: the group had already largely passed him by."

And today, a couple of Taliban suicide bombers kill 80 Pakistani police recruits in retaliation for the killing of bin Laden because the police or army (are they the same?) didn't prevent the U.S. mission.

Sorry Eugene, but the world you live in isn't real.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Politics of Oil

Obama claims that we are producing more oil in this country than ever before. But that's not true. According to the Energy Information Agency (EIA), domestic oil production has fallen 50 percent since 1970.

In another statement, he placed a caveat on this production mumbo-jumbo: Production is at its highest level since 2003. Big woop. But this isn't accurate.

Figures from the EIA:
2003: 2,073,453,000
2004: 1,983,302,000
2005: 1,890,106,000
2006: 1,862,259,000
2007: 1,848,450,000
2008: 1,811,817,000
2009: 1,956,596,000
2010: 2,011,856,000

The second caveat is that the EIA projects that production totals are poised to fall from their current levels over the next two years.

Domestic crude oil production, the agency says, is projected to decline by 110,000 barrels a day in 2011 and by an additional 130,000 barrels per day in 2012. The agency makes that projection based on expected production declines in Alaska due to maturing oil fields. Production in the Gulf of Mexico is also projected to decline. Both are partially offset by projected increases in the Lower 48 states, but on balance, EIA sees the numbers falling.

Here's an interview with a former CEO of Shell Oil (which by the way recently had its permit held by the EPA to drill up off the coast of northern Alaska in fields that contain 27 billion barrels -- after investing $4 billion in the project):

Obama and his ilk want higher hydrocarbon prices. They are getting their way. Too bad for most Americans though. But King Obama doesn't have to worry as he jetsets around the globe like a Monarch.

And realize this: Obama is no longer giving policy speeches, but campaign speeches.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why the tax code needs to be changed

What is someone's fair share? Shouldn't everyone pay at least something, since we all do get benefits from government?

A recent CNN Money article highlights the mess that our tax code is. Why 45 percent don't pay anything at all. The top 1 percent pay as much as the bottom 95 percent.

But there is truth that many higher-income people don't pay their fair share. Some of those who didn't pay taxes: About 18,000 were households taking in more than $500,000 -- and of those, 4,000 made more than $1 million.

Wouldn't it be nice to make a million bucks, tax-free?

This is ridiculous. Many deductions do favor the rich. It's about time we all paid, at least something. If you don't have any skin in the game, you're not going to really care.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reactions to this week's news

Part of the problem in deciding if government is effective or not is trying to learn the truth of what is actually going on. With the Obama administration, in their attempts to be "transparent," they actually create a public relations nightmare.

While Obama made the right decision to go after Osama bin Laden, the spin doctors at the White House pretty much screwed things for the aftermath. However, while he did make the right decision, the ability to do so was not his doing. No, they were able to kill bin Laden because of programs and policies put in place during the Bush Adminstration, and continued by Obama.

But in the larger, more strategic, view of the world today, we have more problems than ever before.

By Star Parker, a former liberal turned conservative:
The morality of freedom transformed into the politics of race. The antidote of personal responsibility transformed into entitlements and victimization.

We've now gone beyond blacks just buying into the great welfare-state lie. We now have a black president who is leading us all into the abyss.

A black president more interested in protecting abortionists than babies, burying the nation hopelessly in debt, piling on more and more spending with increasingly worthless dollars, to pay for government programs that never have and never will work.

This is happening in a world increasingly in chaos. Millions in nations in the Middle East suddenly are aspiring toward freedom and mobilizing to achieve it as blacks did here in the 1960s.

But they are faced with the same dilemma. What does it mean to be free? It's easier to know what you don't want than what you do.

Unfortunately, the spreading chaos in the Middle East is exacerbated by the absence of leadership from an America, once the world's beacon for freedom.

How can those in the Middle East look to us when the American president's message is that the poor are poor because the rich are rich and that eternal moral truths are irrelevant to political freedom?

All the world is waiting for a new America to come forth that again understands that freedom isn't about politics but about moral truths and personal responsibility.
I couldn't have said it better.