Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Federal Government Policies Encourage Short-Termism



The Wall Street Journal

WALL STREET JOURNAL
OPINION (Published December 10, 2014, page A16)
·                                  

Federal Government Policies Encourage Short-Termism

Never before has the incentive been so stark to make short-term business decisions at the expense of the long term.

Wall Street Journal Dec. 1, 2014

That “‘Shareholder Value’ Is Hurting Workers” (Politics & Ideas, Dec. 10) there should be no doubt, as William Galston writes. To any rational observer, the abundant money showered on the world by the Federal Reserve at near-zero interest rates is too appealing to private equity and hedge-fund operators. They easily borrow massive amounts of it and buy some or all of the equity in companies, and force the directors and managements to do what they think right for short-term payoffs. Included is slashing employment for “efficiency”—hurting workers but bringing greater profits. Some of those additional profits are used to pay fees and expenses of the new investor/owners and make dividend distributions or buy back outstanding company stock. That money paid or “returned” to the investment funds creates billions of dollars of performance fees for the partners of the investment funds.
The outlooks of the companies become shorter and shorter as the fund managers seek more of those performance fees for their own enrichment. While company managers and directors must always balance the long term against the short term, never before has the incentive been so stark to make short-term decisions at the expense of the long term.
The ultimate enabler of this practice is the government. If it really wanted corporations to make longer-term decisions—hiring and training more employees for the future—it would raise interest rates, rein in the money supply and tax the incentive compensation for private-equity managers at ordinary rates. Also long-term capital gains should be taxed according to holding periods, with a lower tax the longer the holding period.
Theodore M. Wight
Seattle


The piece that this Letter was discussing:

‘Shareholder Value’ Is Hurting Workers

Financiers fixated on the short-term are forcing CEOs into decisions that are bad for the country.


By 
WILLIAM A. GALSTON
Dec. 10, 2014

Buried in the positive employment report for last month was a small fact that points to a larger reality: Between November 2013 and November 2014, the U.S. labor force grew by 0.7%. If that strikes you as a small number, you’re right. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the labor force grew annually by 1.7% during the 1960s, 2.6% during the 1970s, 1.6% during the 1980s and 1.2% during the 1990s, before slowing to 0.7% during the first decade of the 21st century. Between now and 2022, the rate of increase is expected to slow still further, to only 0.5% annually.
The surge of women into the paid labor force peaked in the late 1990s, and baby boomers—all of whom were in their prime working years in 2000—are leaving the labor force in droves. Youthful immigrants are replenishing the workforce from below, but not nearly fast enough to counterbalance the aging of the native-born population.
When Bill Clinton left office, every baby boomer was in what is considered to be the prime working-age category, between 25 and 54. By the end of 2018, none of them will be. By 2021, more than half of the boomers will be over age 65, participating in Medicare and—in most cases—Social Security.
In 1992, 100 workers supported 92 nonworkers—mainly the young, the elderly and those with disabilities. By 2012, 100 workers were supporting 102 nonworkers, a number that is projected to rise to 107 by 2022.
These dry statistics have real-world consequences. For example, just about everyone believes that we need to accelerate the pace of economic growth and sustain that higher level. This is harder to do when the expansion of the labor force—a major source of economic growth—slows to a crawl. It means that during the next decade, growth will depend more on increased capital investment, faster technological innovation and improvements in the quality of the workforce, than during the past generation. And that means that firms will have to change the way they think.
Few investments will produce high returns as fast as shareholders (especially activist investors) have come to demand. That is why businesses are hoarding so much capital—and using a record-high share of their earnings to buy back their own stock. And businesses have become more reluctant to invest in training their rank-and-file workers, in part out of fear that valuable workers will move and take their human capital with them, and in part in the belief that workforce training is the responsibility of the education system.
An article by Nelson Schwartz in the Dec. 7 New York Times offers a vivid example of what is driving current business behavior. In the name of “unlocking value,” Relational Investors, a firm that manages pension funds, forced the Timken Corp. to split into two firms, one making steel, the other bearings. In the aftermath, the new bearing company slashed its pension-fund contributions to near zero and cut capital investment in half, while quadrupling the share of cash flow dedicated to share buybacks. In place of an integrated, low-debt firm whose stable but less-profitable bearing lines could help cushion swings in the more-profitable but more-volatile steel business, the split left two firms that will be pressured to assume as much as $1 billion in new debt.
High leverage may make sense in some sectors, but not in industries whose competitiveness depends on large investments and longtime horizons. Timken survived the deep recession of the 1980s, which drove many American manufacturers out of business, only because it made massive investments in state-of-the-art production facilities that meant, says Mr. Schwartz, “lower profits in the short term and less capital to return to shareholders.” Because of this patient approach, Timken was able to dominate the global market in specialized steel while providing good wages to workers and contributing to schools and public institutions in its hometown of Canton, Ohio.
It is often argued that managements, such as Timken’s once was, are violating their fiduciary responsibility to “maximize shareholder value.” But Washington Post economics writer Steven Pearlstein argues that there is no such duty, and UCLA law professor Stephen Bainbridge, past chairman of the Federalist Society’s corporate-group executive committee, backs him up. In practice, Mr. Bainbridge has written, courts “generally will not substitute their judgment for that of the board of directors [and] directors who consider nonshareholder interests in making corporate decisions . . . will be insulated from liability.”
The Timken episode has nothing to do with legal fiduciary responsibility. It is a microcosm of the struggle between a financial sector fixated on short-term returns and corporate managements who are trying to run profitable businesses while sharing some of the gains with their workers and communities.

If we continue down this road, we won’t have the long-term investments in workers and innovation that we need to sustain a higher rate of growth. And that would be bad news for the country.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Terrible Heartless TORTURE

There you go again, LiberalProgressiveDemocrats, "Let's get back at the Republicans for Benghazi,"
But nothing happened wayyyyyyy back in Bushtime then other than some Killers-of-Americans got water poured on them and other "threatening" non-dangerous stuff done to get them to squeal on their cohorts.  If they were corporate people LiberalProgressiveDemocrats would characterize it as "whistleblowing." And they certainly blew the whistle on Osama (whose name was changed because of its confusion with Obama I suppose) or Usama bin Laden who got his just rewards thanks to Lou Pancetta's prodding of the President of the United States.

So now the so-called rational Republicans are arguing with the Left about whether anyone was hurt, about whether there was any information divulged (really, Usama!), that there were NO Republicans on the Democratic Senate's "investigatory" body and that it cost taxpayers $50,000,000  and other emotional considerations.  The Republicans are once again on the prototypical defense and losing the "narrative" thrown out by the Left and its media supporters.  Let's turn away from President Obama's losing administration, and it is a loss to America; let's cloud America's mind of the Republican victory in November -- and lurch to..."torture."  With the RACE CARD just in back -- it all is working. The spotlight is now on police departments and the Bush-Cheney administration, not a clueless president.

America has now forgotten what a indecisive president Obama is, how mismanaged the U. S. is now -- three Veterans Administration hospitals are over budget by billions and construction has stopped.  Dead.  The projects were 1) mismanaged 2) unbudgeted 3) under construction with no plans and 4) insane.  The ultimate "manager" is President Barack Obama.  Where in the popular media of the New York and Seattle Times and the other stringees or ABCBSNBCPBS are these insane outrages discussed?  NOWHERE.  Why?  Their president Barack Obama's lack of capability and incompetency would to front and center.  So: nothing.

Let's pivot to sworn police officers killing every unarmed black kid they can find and now how cold -hearted Republicans torture innocent Muslims just for the thrill of it. (I never understand why it is acceptable for the president to arbitrarily kill by drone those he thinks "guilty" along with scores of completely innocent people, including many kids.)

IT ALWAYS WORKS!

(Republicans won in November's mid-term election because even the Far-left media couldn't obfuscate the brilliantly-publicized beheadings of Americans by ISIS, the blame for which ultimately came down on the Obama administration.)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Human-Caused Climate Change perspective

4.5 billion years ago give or take a half a billion (4,500,000,000) the earth started to be.

4.1 million years ago give or take the first humans became present in the world.

215 years ago give or take forty or so years the Industrial Revolution began.

45 years ago give or take what was first called "global cooling" was noticed.

0 years ago is today.


4,500,000,000
4,100,000
215
45
0

Forty-five years ago came the first Malthusian Alarm bells of what was dubbed Global Cooling, then after the cooling warmed, it became Global Warming, then after warming cooled, the name was changed into the all-purpose and unarguable Climate Change. That we humans have "caused" climate change is a non-debatable given by so-called environmental activists, and of course "science" itself agrees as do all "reputable" (meaning believers) scientists.

For about 3,099,955 years human activity had no influence on the climate.  Apparently Mother Nature -- as we named "natural forces" -- did.

Then 3,099,785 years after humans came aboard they they started the Industrial Revolution.  Took'em quite a time.

From that dark moment -- dark, at least to billionaire environmental activists -- humans began destroying the world.  "The power of mankind is indefinitely greater than the power in the earth to survive it..." Oh wait, that was not a billionaire environmentalist saying that, it was a reverend, Thomas Robert Malthus, who lived right around the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution.  He actually said that the power of population -- not dirty air -- would be greater than the earth could provide subsistence for man.

In 1800 the world population was about one billion.  "Science" knew then that populations would die off in the near future for lack of enough food.  And sure enough, by 2014 the population was 7 billion and hadn't died off.  Why?  The resourcefulness of humans.

But now science is serious, then, it must have been kidding.

Democrats want us to believe -- and many of you do believe -- that in 45 years or even 215 years out of 4, 100,000, that's .005% of the time humans have been human, they have killed the environment, or soon will.

But what about human ingenuity?  Nah, that apparently doesn't count any more!

YOU GOTTA BELIEVE


Friday, December 5, 2014

FERGUSON, STATON ISLAND AND A PIVOT TO RACISM



After a Missouri grand jury declined to indict sworn police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting death of African American Michael Brown, a New York grand jury decided not to indict an NYPD officer, Daniel Pantaleo, who was primarily involved in the death of Eric Garner, a very large black petty criminal suffering from asthma and a heart condition on Staton Island.  A number of police officers physically "took him down" after he refused to be arrested for suspicion of selling illegal cigarettes.

The liberal media became outraged, especially after Al Sharpton began his denunciation of police officers in general for killing many black teenagers. Mothers are afraid for their black kids going out of the house. Kids can't walk streets or drive cars without being hassled by the police. Rampant racism by predominantly white state and local police departments is hinted at or blatantly advertised in headlines and television news features all around the country. After the media and Sharpton, later joined by Jesse Jackson, Sr., began, the president of the United States and his attorney general, Eric Holder, along with the mayor of New York City piled on blaming racism "for centuries." They add poor training and rules and a lack of police officers mirroring the racial makeup of each jurisdiction. President Obama announced a Justice Department investigation of both incidents. They didn't like the grand jury decisions and apparently felt the white officers were guilty or, at a minimum, should be tried by a jury of his peers regardless of local and state laws.

Begging the question of states rights, double jeopardy and process of the Rule of Law, I wonder.

Is all this commotion nothing more than a pivot to their default-argument race card by the LiberalProgressiveDemocrats?  Is this a brilliant political maneuver by David Plouffe and/or David Axelrod, former senior advisors to President Obama? And have they been visiting or communicating with the White House? Or was it Valerie Jarrett? With approval ratings in the tank, a Republican rout of Democrats in Congress in the recent mid-term elections, and disruption all around the world from a lower respect for the United States from its unsure and equivocal at best, confused at worst, president, President President Obama and his comrades need to change the subject.  

"Never let a good crisis go to waste" and they aren't! 

It is breathtaking how the country is suddenly fixated on race, specifically the supposed random killings of innocent black teens by monster policemen.  The abject failures of Obamacare, American foreign policy and the U. S. economy to grow and Obama's scraping at the the bottom drippings in the pan for a legacy are now all out the window.  Obama's legacy will eclipse that of Abraham Lincoln and Lyndon Johnson.  The first true-African American president, who arguably has done nothing for black Americans -- still with unemployment double the national figures, poverty right up there and his support for teachers unions against black parents' freedom to choose better schools -- will go down in history as the racial savior of America!





Thursday, December 4, 2014

NEW MEDICARE RULES AIM TO REDUCE ABUSE

New Medicare Rules Aim to Reduce Abuse (Wall Street Journal, December 4, 2014, page A6,) [http://online.wsj.com/articles/new-medicare-rules-aim-to-reduce-abuse-1417653209?KEYWORDS=New+Medicare+Rules+Aim+to+Reduce+Abuse]


You need to read articles such as this to understand how confused, incomprehensible and unresponsive our Progressive-directed federal government really is.

I remember that a few years ago there were around 175,000 (one-hundred seventy-five thousand) pages of Medicare rules and regulations, and that at any particular time anyone -- anyone -- touching it could be found in violation of something.  Physicians, providers, institutions, patients, advisers, consultants, anyone except politicians apparently.

This article states that last year "Medicare issued $45.8 billion in IMPROPER PAYMENTS (forty-five billion, eight-hundred million dollars, $45,800,000,000)! THIRTEEN PERCENT OF ITS TOTAL SPENDING! (13%!) That calculates to $261,714 per page of laws, rules and regulations every year that is "improper."

Medicare cuts checks first, asks questions later. If something seems awry, the feds "undertake lengthy, expensive audits and claims reviews" then go after the possible perpetrator.  Mostly doctors, it seems, because they do the expensive billing.

President Barack (Obamacare) Obama newly dictated a "significant shift in how the government tackles waste in Medicare..." One rational human being might think that would consist of a review at the heart of the 175,000 pages to see why the greedy physicians cheat the system and how they get do it. BUT NO! The president's brilliant idea is TO ADD MORE PAGES OF RULES AND REGULATIONS (since he can't pass laws!)

NOW, apparently the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) can revoke the ability to bill of any doctor, medical equipment seller or any one else.  He, she or it must demonstrate a pattern -- and I am sure that term is exquisitely defined down to the placement of each dot and cross of each "t". If that "pattern" of billing is "inappropriate" as someone perhaps arbitrarily decides, or much more likely there had been article or feature in the media highlighting something some reporter deemed "inappropriate" then PRESTOCHANGO the targeted person or company will not get paid or able to bill Medicare. The Journal article then calls Medicare/Medicaid "a bureaucracy that historically has been slow to move and susceptible at times to POLITICAL PRESSURE." (Those capital letters were my doing.) No duh!

CSM can make such a revocation in the clear-cut case of suspected abuse, and I must say that is an arbitrary arbitrariness. If I work at CMS and I don't like some doctor (maybe he cheated with my wife) or company (it makes a profit), I can say I suspect something and I can bankrupt the provider. Does that seem "clear-cut?" It sounds like a clear-cut unconstitutional process. The person is guilty if only suspected.  SUSPECTED? GUILTY?

In the Obama administration assertions and suspecting is tantamount to guilty with the typical media coverage.  Banks, for example, have paid out tens of billions of dollars in fines with never being able to go to court. That seems to be the Progressive view of "fair."

Another contradictory issue.  The Obama administration is generally attempting to prohibit the use of criminal records in credit and hiring decisions.  But here in his CMS-land, providers cannot get into the MedicareMedicaid program if "they have had certain felony convictions." Contradictory or hypocritical, you decide.

The entire healthcare industry -- America's largest -- is the most expensive in the universe because of so much micromanagement of it by the government.  Providers must devote gigantic sums to get round the burdensome and incomprehensible rules in order to stay in business.

TRUST is at the core.  LiberalProgressiveDemocrats do not trust "We the People" and capitalism, so barriers must be erected to stop honest, hard-working healthcare workers from cheating.  As with every group of human beings, using the bell-shaped curve, some percentage of that group can be dishonest, but by far the greatest number never will be.  Democrats regulate as if all Americans are crooks.  It is unnecessary and expensive.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

We need to put more effort into closing our racial divides

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2025110493_jdlcolumn27xml.html


We need to put more effort into closing our racial divides

Developments out of Ferguson, Mo., signal a need to understand and work on the country’s race problem.
This Thanksgiving opinion piece in the Seattle Times bears reading.  You will agree if you are of the Progressive persuasion and disagree if of the conservative persuasion.  My comments are as follows:
 
Interesting my three rational, carefully thought-out, non-inflammatory opinion posts in response seem to have disappeared from the Seattle Times.  So much for a "discussion" about "closing our racial divides" in the Seattle Times.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

SCORCHED EARTH

                            SCORCHED EARTH


Republicans won the November 4, 2014, election in obtaining majorities in both houses of the United States Congress.

Will this begin an end to the nasty partisan hatred and divide in this country?  It will only happen if the three political leaders, President Barack Obama, John Boehner, Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives and, and Mitch McConnell, incoming Senate Majority Leader can actually put aside their personal and ideological differences and work together for the benefit of the American People.

Won't happen.

First out: Boehner warned President Obama not to draft and sign a presidential executive order on immigration, asking for him to await the seating of the next Congress and for it to then take up the issue.

President Obama immediately stated, "No!" That the Republican-led House did not vote on reform during this present session, after the Senate passed a bill, so Republicans can't be trusted to take it up in 2015.  Besides the president knows what the American people need and want while Republicans do not.

The president has a little over two years left in office and, according to many, was dealt a major loss to his plans and policies by the election.  While he bitterly renounces that view, the question is, what will President Obama do against an opposition obstructionist Republican-led Congress?

Given everything I have heard and read about the president, his background, upbringing and personality (including "his" books) I believe he lives his life in his mind - a typical narcissist - and further, perhaps believes that the Tea Party, conservatives and Republicans exist only to block what he knows is the best for America and Americans. Some Democrats are partially in that category too. With much of the power in this country seemingly lined up against him, with his political power weakened and with little possibility of the enemy allowing anything of his to get through Congress and signed into law, what can he do?

Degrade and Destroy?

It is very possible that, in his mind, the Republican-led opposition needs to be degraded and destroyed and, along with that he might also believe that the American people have been completely misled and misguided.  Capitalism is wrong for people, since only the rich make out well. Christianity is part and parcel of Capitalism and needs to be degraded. Finally, the U. S. Constitution is out of date, racist and elitist. The people themselves have proven to be easy suckers for Capitalism/Christianity's propaganda and they need to be put into and understand their place. To obey what's right for them.

How?

The "earth" of America needs to be degraded and destroyed.  Scorched Earth.




Saturday, November 15, 2014

Republicans: Choose CHOICE

I just noticed that my last post was exactly one year ago.  Since then much has happened.  The President of the Democrats, Barack Obama has sunk in popularity and with the tendency of the people to follow, many Americans think little of him.  That unpopularity sunk many Democrats in the recent (November 4, 2014) election.  I never thought in a million years that would ever happen.  Republicans will take control of the U. S. Senate and the House of Representatives in January.  Will they self-destruct in their leaders' and leading lights' ideology and ego competition?

Here is some advice to them:

Republicans: Choose CHOICE


The election of 2014 is over.  The triumphant Republican Party now has about a year before the campaign of 2016 will begin.  For that, the party needs a cogent, simple yet punchy theme to present to voters, something the Democratic Party has excelled in. I propose: Choice.  After all, what is the overarching difference between Republicans and Democrats?  Republicans trust “We the People” to make beneficial decisions for themselves.  Democrats do not seem to trust “We the People” to make good decisions, but prefer detailed laws and regulations created and administered by their hand-picked elites to decide for us. That difference translates into Republicans enabling “We the People” to have CHOICE, while Democrats routinely take choice from us and give it to their bureaucrats who choose for us. Why can’t the American people choose what school to send their children to?  What doctors to go to? What to have covered in their health insurance policies? What kind of a mortgage to buy a house with? To join a union and pay dues or not? What safety equipment they want in their cars? What crib to buy? To wear a helmet on a motorcycle or not? What to use to heat their homes, run their cars, or wash their clothes in?  And those are just some things that quickly come to mind.
Obviously, there are circumstances when elite experts’ knowledge is needed in a field that we can’t begin to understand about something that could really harm us. But is using the  word “natural” to sell corn flakes something so very dangerous that it needs an expert to stop me from choosing whether to believe it or not? Really? Do we actually want to eliminate personal discretion from our lives? The human element of judgment?  Do we need an instant replay of each action we take in our lives with the final decision being made by officials in Washington, D. C.? This is the tension between trust and distrust; imprecise human acumen and the precision of computing machines and video cameras; freedom and equality; choosing and obeying. Sure, I might get hurt or cheated but it will be my choice; anyway, I think most of us are smart enough to know. After all, practically all the information ever known to humanity is available to most anyone on a little smart phone. Perhaps the government’s role should be to figure out how we get informed, not “protecting” us as consumers from ourselves. Massive bureaucratic institutions are invented primarily by Democrats when in power to limit the human prerogative of choice. Don’t they think we are smart or honest enough? This seems to be an appropriate time to mention Dr. Jonathan H. Gruber, a prototypical Democratic Harvard Ph. D. elite and one of the key architects of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). He was quoted as saying “…[C]all it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever...” That seems to answer my question.
This is a national dialogue that has never been clearly advanced, explained or argued by our political parties.  We the People haven’t even been told what the difference is between choosing or obeying. Framed that way, would voters choose to decide things for themselves or submit to the  dictates of an ivory-tower aristocracy? Republicans need to ask.
Remember, the United States Constitution called for a government distributed among the people: The states each with their own government and a small central government, itself divided into three branches, one of which was even bifurcated.   That structure is still supported by Republicans while the Democrats want a powerful, expensive centralized government which would preempt the decision-making of the people to stop them from making ignorant opinions. Republicans trust the masses of human beings – democracy –  while Democrats seem only to trust our formally educated Ph. D. superiors.

Historically the Democratic Party has expropriated the word “choice” but mostly related only to abortion. One choice.  The Republican Party should seize “choice” by explaining how they encourage it widely in our lives, how it represents democracy and what our government was founded on. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IS AN UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCE

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA IS AN UNANTICIPATED CONSEQUENCE


The idea of unintended consequences dates back at least to Adam Smith, the Scottish Enlightenment, and consequentialism (judging by results).  However, it was the sociologist Robert K. Merton who popularized this concept in the twentieth century.

In his 1936 paper, "The Unanticipated Consequences of Purposive Social Action", Merton tried to apply a systematic analysis to the problem of unintended consequences of deliberate acts intended to cause social change. He emphasized that his term "purposive action... [is exclusively] concerned with 'conduct' as distinct from 'behavior.' That is, with action that involves motives and consequently a choice between various alternatives".  Merton also stated that "no blanket statement categorically affirming or denying the practical feasibility of all social planning is warranted."
More recently, the law of unintended consequences has come to be used as an adage or idiomatic warning that an intervention in a complex system tends to create unanticipated and often undesirable outcomes.  Akin to Murphy's law, it is commonly used as a wry or humorous warning against the hubristic belief that humans can fully control the world around them.
[This from Wikipedia]

Before Senator Barack Obama shellacked Killary Klinton for the Democratic presidential nomination for the President of the Democrats in 2008, (he won, we lost).  I wrote something back then about him being a Whirling Dervish, whirling from here to there, from this to that, from black to white, but NEVER settling to review details and finish anything he started.  That was five years ago, maybe six.  I was right on.  And the mess of all messes, proving he's a mindless, arbitrary dilettante is the ACA --- AbamaCare Act (see, the man can't even spell and I doubt he reads much, if he can read at all.  Bullshitting, yes he can do that!  Oh, excuse me, he CAN read Teleprompters.  That's about it.)

Now he has extorted, bribed and changed the Senate rules to pass -- without ONE Republican vote -- that's unilaterialism (but bilaterial to Obama) --  the Affordable Car monstrosity.  Again, never reading it (nor I guess did any Congresspeople, maybe a Republican or five) his handpicked non-reader Ms. Sebelous or however one spells it, threw out a thousand gaggles of rules, regulations and diktats.

VOILA:  One massive fucked-up mess.  Obama's solution: the country is turning against me, I think (not really think) I'll dictate a new law to make everyone like me again.  And he tosses out some illegal (he can't by the Constitution make law) bandaid without knowing what the fuck he's doing or, worse, what it'll do.  Arbitrary rule by a man.  What happened to the Rule of Law the foundation of our political system.  Obama doesn't seem to know about it.  Any he changes with Congress part of the law he thinks people won't like him for.

As I said years ago: The man has no experience.  The man is not particularly bright.  The man seems charismatic, handsome and nice to some.  He love, love, loves being the Sexy Prexy and rubbing things with George Clooney, Jay Zee, Bouncee and the rest of the very rich entertainers.  And that's the beginning and end of his presidency.  I hope our country can survive him.

His legacy might be a joke from late night TV.  And that's about it.  Oh, yes the color of his nose!

BUT YOU WHO VOTED FOR HIM, NEXT TIME CHOOSE SOMEONE THAT CAN UNZIP HIS PANTS AND PEE -- BUT NOT AT THE SAME TIME.  AMERICA: READ, DISCUSS, THINK FOR YOURSELF, AND DON'T BELIEVE MOST OF WHAT'S IN THE BIASED MEDIA.  ABCBSPBSNBS -- BS IN GENERAL -- AND THE NEW YORK TIMES.  THINK FOR YOURSELF, THAT IS A FREEDOM IN AMERICA.  KEEP IT.  USE IT.  THINK.  YOU KNOW BETTER WHAT IS GOOD FOR YOU THAN ALL THE POLITICIANS IN WASHINGTON, D. C.

THINK FOR YOURSELF THIS TIME.


Thank you, your Delphi who foretold the future with Obama!



Monday, October 21, 2013

ELECTION CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS MORE IMPORTANT THAN U. S. JOBS

Congress -- of both parties -- fixes sugar prices in exchange for campaign contributions from sugar producers.  Evan in the face of a world-wide glut where sugar prices have dropped 50% but in the U. S. price is protected by law while the international price is around 19 cents a pound U. S. prices are 22 cents.  Candy manufacturers are moving factories -- and jobs -- to Mexico, Thailand and not the U. S. which has dropped over 20% in candy-making employment over the decade.  The U. S. Commerce Department said that three jobs in the candy and confectionary industries are lost for every one job saved in sugar growing by fixing the price of sugar.  But Commerce did not project the number of members of Congress whose jobs were saved.  That is the most important consideration.

And why is unemployment in the U. S. over 7%?

Duh!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

MIDDLE CLASS FUNK, True of False: there is one.


MIDDLE CLASS FUNK, True of False: there is one.

 

"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics," was a statement of Disraeli, Mark Twain or someone else.  Whenever the counting started so did the lies, or, to be kind, the exaggerations.  But is it correct that how the middle-class feels is exclusively a product of statistics, of monetization?  And if so, exactly how does having or not having physical things contribute to their so-called funk?  The headline begs the question, the fallacy that simply assumes that there is there a middle-class funk.  Who says there is?  Compare the middle class in the ‘Fifties to which my parents belonged.  They didn’t seem to care much about money or what the “Joneses” had (as in “keeping up with the Joneses”) or if they did it didn’t trickle down to us kids.  We were very late with a television, but I can’t remember being jealous, we just went over to Doug’s house.  His dad was a dentist and they had a TV they were happy to share.  So why is there all this angst now?   Or is there?  Let me move on to the expression, “Is the glass half empty or half full?”  With respect to the title of William A. Galston’s OpEd "Behind the Middle-Class Funk" (Wall Street Journal, Opinion, August 7, 2013), I would argue that if a typical middle-class family was placed under a microscope, one would get two answers to the fullness of the glass.  They probably would be emotional answers, not statistical, as in “I feel it’s half empty” or “I feel it’s half full”.  In the “Fifties” half-emptyness were fear of the U.S.S.R. or “the bomb”, half-full was having a house, car, television, food on the table, and the wife at home to take care of the kids.  Today I’d argue that we’re afraid of terrorists (about as likely as the bomb back then) and enjoy (“half-fullness”) iPads, smart phones, and the Internet’s social media offerings.  Is their really a great “funk”? 

 

How many middle-class couples really even understand what “median income” is, or where they stand in comparison?  I offer that, after the prosperity of the Reagan years, the then-self-titled “liberals” needed to convince us that things weren’t as good as we felt they were.  Liberals served up statistics showing how miserable we should be, in order to win votes against the Republicans.  The mass media piled on and Whoever controls the media, controls the mind,” Jim Morrison late of the Doors might have said.  The now-Progressives (neĆ©  liberals) have apparently convinced most of the country that we’re in an absolute unfair mess and they are needed to fix it.  Republicans have accepted the mantra of the Progressives that our country needs a major change and don’t offer much in return.  And they have been losing, and will continue to until they can re-frame the message from funk to “Look what we have, look how business offers you jobs, look at the innovation for the future.”  That they haven’t and don’t seem to get it puts me in a funk.

 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”

“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”

 This is a very disturbing article (“What Happens When a Man Takes on the Feds”, Opinion, August 31 – September 1, 2013) but not surprising.  It reinforces the danger of an all-powerful government which, as in this case, can lead to the arbitrary and oppressive human behavior of regulators.  People sometimes forget that regulators have the same emotions as the rest of us and can act on them, as seems apparent in this case.  The regulators diminish the value of the product while “Two and a half million adults spent $30 on a product”.  Seems that might be an indication of value to consumers.  Why not the regulators?  But Mr. Zucker is wrong when he says, “It’s not the government’s place to say what has value and what doesn’t…”  That is exactly what the government does.  It believes that its elite regulators are highly intelligent while the “free” American consumer is ignorant and needs saving from itself.  We have elected our politicians who are causing this disconnect to happen.  To my way of thinking, the Internet easily, cheaply and smartly could replace many regulators and all of the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.  The U. S. government could sponsor an Angie’s List kind of site where we consumers can post product reviews and we consumers can see the experience of others before committing our dollars.  The site could distill reviews to make them easily understandable to everyone.  Lousy or dangerous products would fail in the marketplace, desirable products of value would succeed in the marketplace.  How easy is that?  If we – as our Founding Fathers did – believe in We The People to democratically elect politicians, why not to democratically elect products?

 

Laura Bice

2201 Third Avenue

Seattle  WA  98121

(206) 902-7207

 


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Small Man who is Afraid to Make a Decision is the President of the United States

President Obama makes "Slick Willie" look clumsy.  His foot in the mouth, careless "red line" remark was confronted by Bashie Assad and all of a sudden Obama's ego and credibility were at stake.  He had thoughtlessly painted himself by himself into a corner.  He had to make a decision to make him appear strong, and President Obama never wants to make any decisions whatsoever.  So he said he would strike terror into the heart of Assad with a "shot over his bow"; then he got scared and said he needed to talk to (get permission or cover from) Congress after saying he didn't have to under the Constitution.  That delay would buy him a week or two of not having to make a decision.  Luckily, Congress began moving toward his goal: not having to make a decision "to strike", which of course could be criticized by those who matter to him: Jay-Z, Bouncy, Snoopy Dogg and George Clooney.  But then again he might have to make some decision if Congress would say no.  ENTER, Vlad.  Pee-You-Tin jumped on Kerry's throwaway, thoughtless remark.  Suddenly it became a serious proposal.  By Putin.  Assad would promise to do stuff with his chemicals and not to do what he hadn't done, anymore.  French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the draft resolution would establish "consequences" for the regime if it fails to comply with the proposed program. He didn't specifically name the consequences, saying "all options remain on the table."  The French official said Paris considered Chapter 7 a "nonnegotiable" part of the draft resolution.  Sounds like Obama threatening a shaking Iran.  But the most important part is OBAMA DOESN'T HAVE TO MAKE A DECISION.  And he can take full credit for Assad "backing down".  In truth, Putin saved Obama's reputation and more importantly, his ego.  Now Obama will be strutting his powerfulness.  Benign Bashie Assad will continue to slaughter his people.  And Obama will owe KGB Putin BIG TIME.  Will America unilaterally destroy all our nuclear weapons?  Will Obama give Russia money?  Oil?  Will our new immigration policy only allow poor Russians on welfare, and spies in?  It will be something dangerous to America.  Stay posted (and I hope I'm wrong.)  None of this has to do with what's good for America, or really America at all.  This is all about three, perhaps four, men's egos: Obama, Putin, Assad and who ever might be in charge of Iran, perhaps, Kerry, too, if Obama left him one.  Speaks mightily for having a woman president, but not Killary Klinton!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Too Late?

If it weren't so dire, our president's antics would be funny.  But playing "reset" with Comrade Putin,  sending paper airplanes to Bashie Assad, and cowering from Iran are all actions that have seriously diminished American Power and substituted laughter for fear of it.

Leaving two years of slaughter alone until it seems to be a good idea to stand to his throw-away line of a "red line" only confuses everyone.  Saddam Hussein killed at least tens of thousands with outlawed chemical weapons and the president, as senator, reviled the President Bush for invading and capturing that monster.  And before the last election President-Running-for-Reelection whispered to Comrade Putin something like "Hey good buddy, wait until I get reelected and then we can romp over the world together".  The Comrade liked the romp and not so much the "together".

Then, the neo-warrier Obama in order to pretend for history that he was a strong president, says he'll fire a shot over Assad's bow.  But, Mr. Assad, we won't attempt to unseat you, since you're really a beloved president of Syria.  Ditch your chemicals, planes and weapons first, then duck in your basement hide.  "That'll teach him," says Mr. Obama, "He won't dare use those weapons again."
What planet are these now-war-hawk Progressives on?  Moonbeam? 

Luckily, we in the United States might have a real choice next election, a loooong three years in the future.  A rational, conservative Republican could regain the respect of the world by showing some backbone and decision-making.  Another inexperienced Progressive ditherer, such as Killary Clinton, will be the end of American hegemony.  Islam terror will come here in full force.  New York as Kabul or Bagdad.

Yes, choice.

Please, Media, be critical and independent of the religion of ProgressiveObama.  Leave fantasy to the sci-fi books.

Please.  Maybe it won't be too late.  Maybe.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

WILL THE MEEK INHERIT THE WORLD?

President Barack Obama has spent a couple weeks arguing and trying to convince America and the world that he -- Obama the Warrior -- didn't need anybody, especially Congress, to give him -- Obama -- permission to put a hurt on President Assad of Syria for using chemical weapons -- gas -- to kill more of his people, woman and kids.  But first, Obama said, understand that no American soldiers will be at risk, and that his -- Obama's -- objective is NOT to get rid of Assad, the so-called regime change, nor to hurt any of his live civilians.  Just what his objectives are, are unclear.  But a year ago he drew a RED LINE against Bashar A. using gas.  Step over that line, B. Assad and your Ass is grassed.  And now that you -- Assad -- have killed with gas 1500 or so of your people I -- Obama -- am serious.  Apparently gassing to death is more pernicious than simply shooting to death.  But, again, now I -- Obama -- am serious.

NOT

I -- Obama -- will act decisively AFTER we -- Congress and I -- get back from vacation after September 9th.  And after I -- Obama the Warrior -- get permission and I hope those nasty Republicans will give it to me.  Because I am Obama the Warrior.

No, this is not a joke.  If Obama ever makes up his warrior mind, which is doubtful, because he is afraid of being criticized by those important to him -- Hollywood actors, hip hop rappers and the like -- and they don't like war, then if he does shoot off a few non-lethal, non-regime-changing Cruise missiles, WILL Vlad Putin give Iran some big weapon to lop onto Israel?  If it does, will Obama THEN make up his mind since America'll be contractually obligated to respond on Israel's side?  And if we do, will Russia come in?  And where is the Peoples' Republic.  Its leaders are getting tougher as its economy is getting weaker.  Will Putin and the Chinese, Iranian and Islamists act rationally according to the American definition of "rational"?

Complicated and dangerous with an intellectually lazy, spontaneously acting, somewhat internationally ignorant, and unrealworldly president in charge.  The world knows he is unsteady, unreliable, weak and lacking inward self-confidence. 

NO, THE WEAK WILL NOT INHERIT THE WORLD, AS REPUBLICANS CLEARLY KNOW.  THE STRONG WINS.  PUTIN IS STRONG.  ASSAD IS STRONG.  OBAMA IS MEEK!

Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses


  • The Wall Street Journal

  • LETTERS
  • August 30, 2013, 3:40 p.m. ET

Not Much Chance for Cutting Red Tape for Businesses

The central command of all business by government is a core goal of the progressives, so cutting red tape for business is unlikely to happen soon.

 


Regarding Thomas Stemberg's "A New Law to Liberate American Business" (op-ed, Aug. 22): In describing the success of base closings, Mr. Stemberg forgets that the base closings helped to cut military spending, one of the core goals of progressives. This was a main reason for the success of the base closings. It was the polar opposite to reining in the crippling rules and regulations on business. The central command of all business by government is also one of the core goals of the progressives. Since progressives control the presidency and the Senate, this rational, obvious release of business back onto free enterprise cannot happen. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid will in all likelihood never even move this proposed new law into committee. I just don't believe progressives want to hold back "job-killing regulations" or any regulations at all.

A better plan for Mr. Stemberg would be to publicize the huge benefits of business to employment and the creation of prosperity. I believe most of the electorate doesn't understand this. They are propagandized to believe "profits" are evil and that business leaders are greedy and corrupt. Until that changes, nothing will happen. Finally, the greatest effort needs to be in simply winning elections. A Republican or tea-party conservative president might stand a chance of passing some common-sense laws. Until that happens, if it ever does again, the noble effort of Sens. Angus King and Roy Blunt will be an exercise in futility.

Theodore M. Wight

Seattle

                                    ***

Here is the original article about which I wrote:

  • OPINION
  • August 21, 2013, 7:06 p.m. ET

Thomas Stemberg: A New Law to Liberate American Businesses

If Congress could close military bases, it can reduce job-killing regulations.


By THOMAS G. STEMBERG

Nearly 30 years ago, I started a company called Staples Inc. SPLS -1.00%that went on to do pretty well. Launching a business like Staples in 2013 would be a much harder proposition, with success by no means certain. There are so many government impediments to business today that the next Staples—and its 50,000 jobs—might never get off the ground.

Chief among those roadblocks: the blizzard of bureaucratic red tape that buries businesses and stifles job creation. These include the additional 16 million hours that vending-machine and chain-restaurant business owners must spend complying with new food regulations each year. But there is also the license that magicians require to do a rabbit disappearing act, which mandates an annual fee, surprise inspections and a rabbit disaster plan. All told, American business faces 46,758 pages of rules to live by in the Federal Register.

This confounding web of federal regulations may be curtailed if Sens. Angus King (independent, Maine) and Roy Blunt (R., Mo.) have anything to say about it. Their Regulatory Improvement Act of 2013 could be a game changer.

The legislation introduced in late July would create a bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Commission, charged with recommending cuts in the regulatory regime, and the law would require Congress to vote on the proposals. This is desperately needed. The government has few processes at its disposal through which it can re-evaluate the efficacy of outdated regulations—and many members of Congress lack the expertise, time and courage to effectively scale them back.

The King-Blunt concept is tested and has already worked remarkably well. The Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission of experts, was established in the late 1980s to reduce the number of military bases. Politics made it nearly impossible for Congress to do the job, as it was too easy for politicians to cut deals and protect each other's pork. Instead, the commission selected the bases and reported its findings to Congress for mandatory, up-or-down, nonamendable votes.

It worked. Since 1988, there have been 121 major base closures, 79 major base realignments (which may close down part of a facility or transfer personnel away from it) and 1,000 minor closures and realignments under BRAC.

In short, the BRAC Commission gave politicians what they crave most: cover. Nobody back home could blame them for losing a military base. The King-Blunt proposal will give representatives the same cover with regulations.

The bipartisan Regulatory Improvement Commission—with members appointed by the president and congressional leaders—would tackle one area of regulation at a time. Its members would be charged with finding regulations that are duplicative, like the 642 million hours employees will spend complying with redundant regulations this year, according to the American Action network.

The panel also will try to identify obsolete regulations, maybe resembling the arcane rules the Federal Communications Commission leverages to achieve whatever regulatory aims the commissioners desire.

Finally, the King-Blunt commission will look for excessive regulation, perhaps scaling back the 1,659 pages of "simplified" mortgage disclosure and servicing rules the president's new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau issued in July.

The public—people on all sides of an issue—would advise the commission in an open comment period while it considered which regulations to put on the chopping block. The resulting list of targeted regulations would then be reported to Congress, to be eliminated or curbed.

Here's the best part: Both chambers of Congress would be required to vote on the recommendations within a month. Lawmakers could review, but not change, the report. There would be no deal making, no tricky amendments and no ducking of tough decisions. Lawmakers would be asked a simple question and could only give the simple answer: yes or no.

Job creators know that regulatory relief can't come soon enough. In 2010, the Small Business Administration pegged the annual cost of complying with regulations at $1.75 trillion. The SBA report covered 2008 and the burden has certainly grown since. A May 2013 report by the Heritage Foundation, "Red Tape Rising," found that new regulatory costs added in 2012 totaled $23.5 billion.

That's a staggering amount of money to pay for government rules. In 2008, the GDP of the entire state of California produced slightly more than $1.75 trillion. At this rate, the current regulatory regime just kills more jobs and stifles the formation of new small businesses—the lifeblood of job creation in our economy.

In 1986, we founded Staples in large part because of what used to be an enormously productive American financial system. The system that fueled entrepreneurship 25 years ago is now being regulated to death under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, which requires as many as 398 new regulations. The next Staples, and its 50,000 jobs, may not happen because of this burden.

If the president and Congress are serious about creating jobs, they must take seriously the job-killing regulations that are holding job creators back. The King-Blunt proposal can get the job done—and jump-start the lagging economy in the process.

Mr. Stemberg, founder and former CEO of Staples Inc., is managing general partner of the Highland Consumer Fund and a member of the Job Creators Alliance.