Category Archives: Money

Obamacare forces many to avoid preventative healthcare

President Obama promised huge reductions in premiums and greater access to care. Unfortunately, forcing insurers to create plans with easy payments, unaffordable deductibles terrible networks has had dire consequences.

Fox News reports that the White House pushed for low premiums regardless of the fact that they come with high deductibles, reduced benefits and very few doctors in-network because “most people buy only based on premiums.” That pushes Obamacare recipients into community health organizations and often making choices with expensive or dangerous consequences.

When those on the high-deductible “affordable” plans are told that additional treatment, tests or drugs may be needed to identify or prevent their condition from worsening, they often balk at the preventative measures because those costs would not be paid until they hit the huge deductible that their small premium dictates. Now, the politics of Obamacare have created a medical train-wreck out of someone who previously would have just needed preventative medical attention.

To avoid becoming a medical nightmare, many of these Obamacare enrollees are using community health centers, which offer low cost or free care, to deal with their health issues. So, what did these enrollees get for taking the President’s advice and getting enrolled? They get to go outside the standard healthcare system while still paying into it.

Intelligent Americans Reject Democrat “War on Women” and decide to vote smart

Political polling shows that the American voting public grows increasingly weary of Democrats saying that Republicans oppose mammograms and PAP smears.

Liberal groups funded by commercial abortion operations like Planned Parenthood have been producing dramatic advertisements showing women complaining about Republican candidates who are voting against mammograms and PAP smears – key tools in the detection of women’s health issues. Unfortunately for Democrats, women are smart enough to realize that politicians aren’t banning their health screening or even reducing government funding for mammograms. They’ve just decided that taxpayer money can’t be used to kill babies. If women want to kill their unborn babies, they’ll just have to pay for it themselves. Just wait until those women see what Obamacare has done to their healthcare costs…

Voters are looking at their grocery bills, utility bills and Obamacare bills. Oddly, despite the Democrats assurances, all of those bills have gone up while their pay has not – and one party has ruled the majority of our government for 6+ years.

Why did their salaries stagnate? Probably due to increased competition from a more fluid immigration policy. As more (foreign)  people compete for the same jobs, their is nothing left to cause increased pay pressure.

Democrat policies are the sole cause of stagnant pay, increasing healthcare costs and less-available jobs. Now, they pay the price the rest of us have been bearing under their failed leadership – they may just be out of a job.

Are You a Purple Penguin?

This story goes in my “Administrators gone wild” file. It seems a Nebraska school district is instructing its teachers not to use the terms “boys and girls,” “ladies and gentlemen,” “you guys,” well, you get the idea. Why? Because they don’t include gender non-confirming terminology and therefore causes confusion for those few children who don’t identify with any specific gender. Simply put, it’s just not inclusive of all.

To make sure that we include everyone and no one feels slighted they have decided the proper inclusive terminology for young kids is to call them “purple penguins.” Because that isn’t confusing at all?

Now we have to change everything because a few kids in the class are being told by their parents that they don’t have to “choose” a gender (like you choose a pair of shoes?) until they’re comfortable doing so. Instead of teaching a child what gender they were born into, they make sure the child lives in a sort of “Gender Twilight Zone” until they can decide what direction to go in. Don’t believe me? Look up the movement to stop hospitals and doctors from “pronouncing gender” on a baby when “it” is born. Yes, the crazy train is close at hand.

This is probably that same group of “$%#*%^” people that said “we can’t keep score at Little League games because it makes the losers feel bad. We shouldn’t give letter grades because it makes the kids feel bad. Don’t mark a paper in red pen, it makes the kids feel bad. Really? Stop all the nonsense and just say, “Let’s not challenge our children because if everything goes the way of the Progressive Left they won’t have to excel at anything, the government will take care of them.” The only definite in these people’s lives is that sane rational thought needs to go.

Administrators feel that by calling them purple penguins it allows the children to be free thinkers. They go on to say, that we should stop asking the kids to line up as boys and girls, and instead, ask them to line up by who likes, skateboards or bikes, dogs or cats, summer or winter. Before guiding the kids, consider the question, “will this create a gender spectrum?”

People, the inmates are running the asylum. Though I have great respect for the “shrinks” of the world, they are not all on the same page on this issue. For them, it’s not an exact science. Some doctors tell you kids need definites in their lives, solid boundaries. They need to know who and what they are. Some say noooooo they need to be able to explore their inner self and look at the world in different ways. Ok, sure, now which one is right?

So they chose penguins as an inclusive, gender non-specific option. Penguins are a gender-specific, traditional family-oriented species. According to LiveScience.com, most penguins are monogamous, at a minimum, for the duration of the mating season, and in many cases, for most of their lives (married forever). Researchers have found that penguins re-paired with the same partner 82 percent of the time and certain species of penguins re-paired 90 percent of the time. Better than the human divorce rates.

Each gender has their designated roles, according to LiveScience.com. The male (gender specific) usually starts the mating ritual and will pick out a nice nesting site before he approaches a female. (Wow! All those choices without including her?) After mating, the female emperor penguin will lay a single egg. The female (gender specific) of this species will place the egg on the male’s feet to keep warm in his fat folds while she goes out and hunts for several weeks.

So with all this exclusive, gender-specific, family-valued system, how did the loons on the Left choose purple penguins to be the “inclusive, non-gender-specific” alternative to “boys and girls?” Coin toss? Everyone loves penguins?
Read more at The Real Side

Unemployment at All-Time Low 5.9%… Just Kidding!

Government math takes on many forms. I think it’s the basis for Common Core math. In Common Core, 2 plus 2 plus 2 doesn’t always equal 6. Just like 18% of employable people in the U.S. equals a 5.9% unemployment rate.

The 5.9 %number is usually arrived at by simply looking at how many Americans file for unemployment every week, both new and continuing claims. You hear about the numbers of people dropping off the rolls but you never hear why. The assumption is that they found a job.

Do you ever hear them report about the number of people who drop off the unemployment rolls because they ran out of time? Or the ones who got discouraged and gave up looking because they couldn’t find employment. What about the ones who switch to disability because they are now having physical and mental issues as a result of their job search? (Insert crickets sound here.)

Most economists use another set of numbers that the government Bureau of Labor Statistics calls “U-6.” It defines the “total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers.”

This number takes into account, by that definition, the underemployed, discouraged, and unemployed workers. This number actually did fall for the first time below 12% to 11.8%. Hey, don’t get too excited yet.

Remember, just before the election period in 2012, we were told unemployment was down. Many government math “adjustments” were made to the unemployment numbers all summer leading up to the November 2012 election. But fudging the numbers shouldn’t be a big surprise. I mean, look at the other “adjustments” that were made : Benghazi was “not” another 9/11 anniversary attack, the Obamacare rollout debacle was really just a few “minor” glitches, much like that whole “keeping your doctor” thing.

Now, back to government math. In September, the unemployment rate dropped by 0.2% to 5.9%. The number of people unemployed dropped by about 329,000 to 9.3 million.
Read more at THE REAL SIDE

Article V Convention – Congress Will Not Act, So We Will

Government debt continues to amass at a dizzying pace. The federal government has displayed no discipline in reining it in and reestablishing a more sound fiscal footing for the future of the country. Our founding fathers, however, had the prescience to include in our Constitution the means whereby the states, and the people, could force the government to do what they have no appetite to do, to require a balanced budget.

Growth-Of-United-States-Government-DebtJust since 2006, federal government debt has shot from $6.7 trillion, to nearly $18 trillion. The largest segment of that spending occurred over the past six years with five years of deficits exceeding $1 trillion. Our government has been spending 60% more than it’s been collecting in tax receipts.

Those figures do not even begin to address our long-term debt due to non-discretionary entitlement programs. According to the General Accounting Office’s (GAO) 2013 annual report, unfunded debt including Social Security and Medicare is over $76 trillion, an increase of 8% over 2012 levels. Our national debt increases by an estimated $8.2 million per minute, and about $350 billion per month.

The GAO was explicit in its warning to the policy makers about our spending. They said in the very first paragraph, “GAO’s simulations continue to show escalating levels of debt that illustrate that the long-term fiscal outlook remains unsustainable.”

Budget-chartFormer Comptroller General of the United States, David M. Walker, has been sounding the clarion call of economic disaster for the nation if spending is not reined in, and politicians refuse to deal with fiscal realities of unabated spending. He describes America as a “sinking ship” in a sea of our own debt. He points out that, “The US ranks near the bottom of developed global economies in terms of financial stability and will stay there unless it addresses its burgeoning debt problems,” based on the Sovereign Fiscal Responsibility Index.

Something must be done before the dollar and our entire economic system collapses entirely due to our calamitous accumulation of debt. And the solution could be nestled in Article V of the Constitution. That Article declares how the document can be amended.

Debt-Ceiling-Cartoon“The Congress, whenever two thirds of both houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution, or, on the application of the legislatures of two thirds of the several states, shall call a convention for proposing amendments, which, in either case, shall be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the legislatures of three fourths of the several states, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress.”

That second option, referred to as an Article V Convention, or Convention of the States, has never been utilized. It’s been attempted before, but never to fruition. It was added to the document after four earlier attempts at language that would have opened the door to a full constitutional convention. The precise and narrow limitations of an Article V convention only allows for adoption of amendments, not a complete “con con” which could facilitate mischief in rewriting our founding document. In Federalist Paper 43 James Madison explained, “It guards equally against that extreme facility, which would render the Constitution too mutable.”

cg536b7ae12610aThis is validated by Nick Dranias, Director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Constitutional Government, who has said, “Despite claims made to the contrary, the truth is that Article V does not provide authority for a foundational constitutional convention. The Founders specifically and repeatedly rejected efforts to substitute the current Article V language to allow for a foundational constitutional convention to be called.”

Currently there are active efforts to call an Article V Convention for at least two major issues: a Balanced Budget Amendment, and a National Debt Relief Amendment. Both are oriented toward forcing the federal government to get its fiscal house in order. The latter would disallow congress from increasing the federal debt without a majority of states approving an increase in the debt limit.

In order for such a convention to be convened, two-thirds of the states must pass resolutions calling for it, and then upon adoption of the specific amendments at the convention, three-fourths of the states must ratify. Therein lies the assurance that only viable and constitutionally sound amendments would emerge from such a convention.

Every citizen, and every state in the union has a stake in the solvency and fiscal stability of the nation, and should be actively embracing and supporting the Article V Convention process for these key issues. Hopefully an amendment will then be advanced for establishing term limits on congress, as well. Since Washington will not lead on these critical issues, it’s time for the people, and the states, to do so.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Paying Taxes Is Not “Patriotic,” Nor is it “Voluntary”

Six years ago Vice President Joe Biden said that paying taxes is patriotic. Citing the need for the wealthy to pay more of their “share” of taxes, he said it was, “time to be patriotic,” even though the top 20% of wage-earners pay 93% of federal income taxes. The latest iteration of the “paying taxes is patriotic” meme came last month when Treasury Secretary Jack Lew sent a letter to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden calling for a “new sense of economic patriotism.” The payment of taxes by a citizenry in a free society is not inherently patriotic, but such statements are not unexpected from those who conflate emotion with logic.

jack-lew-611x442The context of Secretary Lew’s letter is important, however. Dozens of American companies have made acquisitions or merged with other companies based in the United Kingdom, or more advantageously, Ireland, in order to circumvent the U.S. confiscatory 35% corporate tax rate, which is currently the highest in the world. By basing operations in Ireland, these newly migrated companies pay a relatively paltry flat 12.5% tax on profits. Nine of the top ten global pharmaceutical companies now have operations in Ireland, and some of the largest technology companies, including Google, Twitter, and Facebook, do as well.

The process is called inversion, and here’s how it works economically. A company acquires or merges with a company in Ireland (or Britain, Switzerland, or the Netherlands) and re-domiciles there for the cash savings from U.S. tax rates. The company then lends cash back to the U.S. creating tax-deductible interest payments to benefit American operations. And in the more elaborate variation, interest costs and royalty payments made to Dutch subsidiaries reduce the tax bill in Ireland to 6%. Royalties and interest payments are then funneled to Bermuda, which then cuts the tax in Ireland to zero since Ireland views it as a “Bermuda resident.” This creates a veritable “cash mountain,” as the UK’s Financial Times refers to it, allowing the newly reorganized Irish company to pay nothing in taxes. The Financial Times estimates the “cash mountain” built up through such inversions to be as high as $1 trillion.

The absurdity of our 35% nominal corporate tax rate is magnified when we realize that the $1 trillion sitting overseas is worth a paltry $16 billion in tax revenue to the treasury, as Secretary Lew said on CNBC last month. In other words, to save $16 billion in federal corporate taxes, formerly U.S. based companies have relocated $1 trillion in cash, and all of the economic activity, including jobs and manufacturing, that a trillion dollars of cash (M1) velocity can generate. Our inordinately high tax rates have exceeded the point of diminishing return.

corporate-tax-rate-600The reason the tax revenue can be so low as Lew’s estimate is because the average corporate effective rate is about 12% after deductions. Our tax code has become so porous through crony-capitalism that a company the size of General Electric with sales of over $120 billion, and net profit of $14 billion, could file a 57,000-page tax return for 2010 and pay no corporate income taxes. Our sieve-like tax code hemorrhages tax receipts to the U.S. Treasury.

It’s nothing short of duplicity for the administration to call for “patriotism” from entities they have been arguing are not people, and should not be afforded freedom of speech or freedom of religion rights. They have bemoaned the Citizen’s United case in which the Supreme Court ruled corporations have free speech rights, and the Hobby Lobby ruling affirming corporate freedom of religion, yet they claim such companies can have patriotism, which is an emotion and a trait that can’t be felt or manifest by inanimate objects or organizations. For logical consistency, they can’t have it both ways.

Even though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid claimed a few years ago that paying taxes is “voluntary,” our taxes are collected from us based on principles of coercion. We pay our taxes under legal threat of fines and penalties, which could include jail time. Companies withhold a percentage of our income as a payroll deduction under threat of fines and penalties. This is also why paying taxes to “share the wealth” is not an act of magnanimity either, for coercion can never be mistaken for giving freely of our substance.

BstMy4OIEAAiQ_m.png-largeThe claim that paying taxes is patriotic is prima facie specious, even if some of the benefits from paying taxes are beneficial to us personally, for tax collection is facilitated by the threat of penalty, which is coercive. As such, it much more closely resembles extortion than patriotism. In a legal context, extortion refers to how the funds are expropriated, not in how they are appropriated. Extortion is forced, while patriotism is clearly voluntary. And since patriotism is attitudinal, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with harboring such sentiments whilst paying.

Taxes are an essential component to facilitate the operations of prudent and constitutional governance. As Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” However, when tax code incentivizes the relocation of America’s engines of economic growth, its effect is deleterious to the nation. And taxation for reallocation is clearly immoral for our founders formed our system of governance to preclude the possibility of our government doing what would be illegal for an individual citizen to do.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Senator Ron Wyden is correct to not take the band aid approach to closing the inversion loophole. His preference is to overhaul the corporate tax structure which currently incentivizes U.S. corporations to relocate headquarters and manufacturing elsewhere in the global marketplace.

The most efficacious means of repatriating that $1 trillion sitting in overseas banks would be to shred the entire corporate tax code and go to a flat corporate tax rate. That additional trillion dollars in monetary velocity could make a significant contribution to GDP expansion, as well as augmenting U.S. tax receipts.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

I Told You It Wasn’t a Woman’s Health Issue !

I have been saying, to the irritant of my friends on the Left, that abortion has nothing to do with women’s health.

One of the original questions the Supreme Court had to deal with in the seventies when they approved this “slaughter law” was, when does life begin. Well, all the academics and doctors that were willing to take some money and testify said life did not start until the third trimester.

Remember, this was a time when cancer was almost always fatal. AIDS was a death sentence, and, in some cases, people still died from the flu.

Medicine has come a long way since then. And now, many agree, scientists and doctors alike, that life begins at conception or shortly thereafter.

Dr. Bill Fifer, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University, said, “Everything that a newborn baby does, a fetus has pretty much done already.” He went on to say “We know that a baby’s tiny heart is beating as early as 18 days after sperm-egg fusion. Brain waves are detectable by 6 weeks and babies can experience dream (REM) sleep by 17 weeks. Substantial medical and scientific evidence has demonstrated that unborn children are capable of feeling pain by 20 weeks, if not earlier.”

Not Joe Messina’s opinion, but science. This is now the understanding of many in the medical field. However, I am still perplexed. You see, the Left continually beats on Right-wing, conservative, Bible-thumping Republicans (like myself) for not believing in science but rather the fairy tales of the Bible.

But when confronted by science and facts (not theories like, let’s say, evolution) that don’t line up with their way of thinking they ignore them and tell us that we hate women (in the case of our abortion stance.) Why? Because is easier than discussing the facts.

So, if at 18 days that little blob of cells has a heartbeat, what can we call it? What will it eventually be? A canine? A fish? A tree? Nope. Simply, a human. Its only potential outcome is that it is a developing human!

Now with science we can see with sonograms and 3-D imagery what the baby looks like. We can’t run from that truth. Our youth are seeing it more and more and are changing the way they view abortion.

So then… it is a life! But what about the argument for years from the Left and the pro-abortion groups that it’s not a life? As of late, some of the abortion proponents are saying that life begins when the mother says it does, that the unborn blob of cells can be snuffed out even up to the time it’s exiting the birth canal. Wow! That’s a stretch!

But wait! Jodi Jacobson, Editor in Chief of RH Reality Check, a Reproductive and Sexual Health and Justice blog says it was never when life beings because “life begins at conception.” Huh?

OMG! Wasn’t the abortion debate all about women having access to clean safe medical facilities so that when they were seeking this “medical procedure” the mother’s health would not be at risk? The fetus, or as it’s been called “blob of cells,” needed to be removed to save the mother.

You were duped!


Read more at http://therealside.com/2014/08/i-told-you-it-wasnt-a-womans-health-issue/#L9t6j1vAXCU2XaUl.99

The Failure of Obamanomics

net-worth-chart-2009-11The strongest component of the Federal Reserve’s Leading Economic Indicators currently is stock market performance. Such equity strength is more a case of artificial stimulation by the Federal Reserve through Quantitative Easing and the cozy relationship between Washington and Wall Street than it is a sign of a healthy economy or White House policies that have been conducive to growth. After nearly six years of President Obama’s economic policies, there is unmistakable evidence that White House policies have severely hampered economic viability.

The middle class real median household income in 2012 was less than it was at the end of the ’80s, and it’s down 9 percent from its high in 1999. The biggest portion of that decline, 8.3%, came in just the past five years.

6a00e54ecbb69a8833019104b3ec19970c-800wiThe median net worth of a family in 2010 was $77,300, compared to $126,400 just three years earlier. In 46 of our 50 states, the poverty rates have increased over the past six years, and the national poverty rate is over 15% for the fourth year running. The last time that happened was in 1965. More and more families are dropping from the ranks of the middle class into poverty.

One of the greatest factors adversely affecting median household income and net worth is the loss of jobs and extended unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) the Participation Rate, which is represented as a ratio or a percentage of the total population, is at the lowest levels in 50 years, with about 62.8% of the population working. According to the BLS U-6 data, 13% of the population is still unemployed or underemployed, and marginally attached to the labor market.

The job situation is directly effected by administration policies, and will not improve appreciably until the cost of doing business starts dropping. Last year the Small Business Administration reported that regulation costs American business $1.75 trillion per year, and costs small businesses as much as $10,585 per employee. Just the costs of Obamacare, Financial Regulatory Reform, and new EPA regulations, are projected to increase that cost per employee as much as 30%, according to Investor’s Business Daily.

37242E8628A0435CBA8B05A16E7BCE50In 2012, the President said, “This country doesn’t succeed when we only see the rich getting richer. We succeed when the middle class gets bigger. We grow our economy not from the top down, but from the middle out.” He was correct. But none of his policies have done what he gives such great lip service to.

In spite of the president’s consternation over income inequality, the income gap has increased exponentially under Obamanomics. As MSN Money declares, “The top one percent of Americans — those earning above $366,623 a year — have taken 81 percent of the fruits of the recovery. And the top 0.01 percent — earning about $8 million a year — took an astonishing 39 percent of the growth.”

Worst Post-Recession Recovery

Worst Post-Recession Recovery

Let’s look at the economy in general. The National Bureau of Economic Research officially scored the recession as ending in June, 2009, just five months after Obama’s inauguration. Historically, the nation has rebounded with significant growth coming out of a deep recession, but this has been the most tepid recovery in the last 100 years according to Forbes. They point out, “Under President Obama the American people have now suffered the worst 5 years since the Great Depression.”

Steve McCann of the American Thinker earlier this year wrote, “Instead what America got by year five was fewer jobs than before. Even though the employment age population has increased by nearly 12 million since January, 2008, there are now 3 million fewer Americans working, with employment declining from 146.3 million in January, 2008 to 143.3 million in December, 2012. If America enjoyed the same labor force participation rate as in 2008, the unemployment rate in December, 2012 would have been 11.4%, compared to 4.9% in December, 2007.”

OG-AB775_GDP061_G_20140625093832The latest revision of 1st quarter GDP growth was adjusted downward to -2.9%. Another quarter of negative growth, or economic contraction, and we’ll be officially in another recession, and it will be primary due to the policies that have restricted job growth, saddled the private sector with an average 91,000 pages of new regulation per year added to the Federal Register, and decimated the middle class.

Every one of these data are adversely affected by policies of the administration over the past six years. There have been precious few initiatives implemented that have facilitated free market principles in an attempt to augment economic expansion, job growth, or reduced fiscal burdens bourn increasingly by the middle class. Instead we’ve had nearly 550,000 pages of new regulation added to the Federal Register, and dozens of Executive Orders that have stymied the engine of capitalism that fuels the country.

The new Dow Jones Industrial Average record reached last week is good for investors, but belies the broad-based weakness in the general economy. With two years left of this administration that is so averse to free markets, a substantive and vibrant economic recovery will likely be elusive for the foreseeable future.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

 

America Remains World’s Top Energy Producer

America #1 energy producerBank of America reports that the United States will remain the world’s top energy producer this year and for some time to come despite the current administration’s attempts to curb energy exploration and transportation.

President Obama has done everything within his power (and some things not so within it) to suppress American energy production. As Bank of America reported, America’s energy producers have refused to give in.

U.S. production of crude oil, along with liquids separated from natural gas, surpassed all other countries this year with daily output exceeding 11 million barrels in the first quarter, the bank said in a report today. The country became the world’s largest natural gas producer in 2010. The International Energy Agency said in June that the U.S. was the biggest producer of oil and natural gas liquids.

Questionable regulations and preventing the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline have been top priorities of the Obama administration while millions of Americans struggle to put a full tank of gas in their vehicles or pay other energy bills. Thanks to American energy producers, things have been kept at least survivable. BofA’s head of commodities research said that “the shale boom is playing a key role in the U.S. recovery. If the U.S. didn’t have this energy supply, prices at the pump would be completely unaffordable.”

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of American producers, President Obama’s failures in the middle-east are keeping gas and energy prices artificially high.

“The shale production story is bigger than Iraqi production, but it hasn’t made the impact on prices you would expect,” said Blanch. “Typically such a large energy supply growth should bring prices lower, but in fact we’re not seeing that because the whole geopolitical situation outside the U.S. is dreadful.”

One way or another, it would seem that we will see energy prices “necessarily skyrocket.”

HuffPuff Propagandizes a FOX Reality

I go through the headlines and news stories in over one-hundred publications daily. I do this so that I can view multiple sources on some of the same stories. Doing this allows me to formulate what is fact and what is disingenuous spin; propaganda meant to trick the public into thinking one way instead of another. Make no mistake, both ideological prospective do it. It’s the art of modern political war. But the Progressive Left has myriad vehicles to attack the ideological Right, where the Right has many fewer (thank you uber-stingy money people on the Right).

A perfect example of the Left’s disingenuous attack on the Right’s information sources comes in an article in the Huffington Post by Jack Mirkinson titled, FOX News Really Doesn’t Want to Talk About the Good Jobs News, where he writes:

“Quick! Can you find Fox News’s coverage of the latest job figures?”

He includes some main page screen shots.

“Still can’t find them? OK, we’ll help you out. What if we zoom in?…OK, OK, we’ll show you! The link is that little one right in the corner there…For some reason, FOX News appears to want to downplay the very good job numbers. For good measure, the network also downplayed the figures on its airwaves as well.”

He then goes on to show how the far-Left mainstream media outlets dutifully took the Obama Administration’s spun numbers touting them as miraculous by supplying one – one – example: a screen shot of CNN’s breaking news on the numbers.

The good numbers that Mr. Mirkinson points to are the BLS statistic that 288,000 jobs were created last month. Is that good news? Yes. Is it the miraculous news Mr. Mirkinson suggests? No.

Throughout the Obama Administration the majority of the jobs “created” have been either service industry jobs or part-time jobs. College graduates remain woefully under-employed and those experienced in the workforce who have been downsized or otherwise screwed out of a job find it almost impossible to find work. And if you are over 50 and have been out of work for a period of time, you might as well come to grips with the fact that you have become unemployable under Mr. Obama’s economy.

Where the Obama Administration and its sycophants want everyone to believe that the creation of 288,000 jobs is the greatest news since sliced bread, the facts remain…and they are not good.

▪ The U3 unemployment rate hovers at 6.1%. The U3 rate measures the unemployment of people who are without jobs and who have actively been looking for work within the past four weeks.

▪ The U6 unemployment rate hovers at 12.1%. The U6 rate reflects “discouraged workers,” or those who have stopped looking for work because current economic conditions make them believe that no work is available for them; “marginally attached workers,” or “loosely attached workers,” or those who “would like” and are able to work, but have not looked for work recently; and part-time workers who want to work full-time, but cannot due to economic reasons.

▪ The Labor Force Participation Rate is stuck at 62.8%.

These statistics mean that in a country of 318 million legal citizens, 92.2 million eligible for employment are without work. Almost one-third of the population is unemployed.

Further, the rate of those not in the labor force has exploded since 2000. Over the past 14 years – and predominantly during the Obama years – we have removed 14,022,376 from the labor force who are eligible to work. That’s over 1 million eligible workers removed from the workforce each year, on average.

So, understanding the reality behind the unemployment data – disingenuously termed the “jobs numbers” by the talking heads, when more accurately they should be referred to as the “jobless numbers” – how can anyone celebrate the creation of 288,000 menial and part-time jobs when we add one million people a year on average to the under- and unemployed demographic?

The American free-market Capitalist system is the only economic system to have ever – ever – created a Middle Class in the history of man. In its purest form it made the United States of America not only the world’s preeminent superpower, it made the United States the “land of opportunity.” Today, that is hardly the case. The Middle Class is disappearing are a rapidly increasing rate and opportunity is disappearing from our economic lexicon. Why, you ask? The answer is simple: the government manipulation of the American free-market Capitalist system.

Special interests in government have saddled the small business sector with an overwhelming number of regulations, while newer and more intrusive mandates continue to smother the job creators, literally stealing food from the mouths of the hungry in the form of disappearing opportunity.

Obamacare, environmental zealotry, socialism in the form of labor union oppression, manipulation of free commerce, all of these economy-stunting and job-killing maladies are introduced into the American free-market Capitalist system by government and the big-money, well-organized special interest groups that see success and American exceptionalism as a cancer, not a cure. Sadly, today, these creatures of negativity and societal destruction are in power…and on both sides of the governmental political aisle. Unless we shift the political paradigm radically back towards true limited government, it is only a matter of time before our Republic is lost.

So, Mr. Mirkinson, the jobs news is good? Please. The jobs news sucks.

As we celebrate the 238 anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, we should all be willing to look at the chains upon our wrists and ankles. We have allowed ourselves to become slaves to an oligarchic elite and their special interest benefactors. They feign concern about unemployment as they try to tell you they are just like us. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Case in point: Mrs. Clinton’s comment about being “flat-broke” when she and the former President left the White House. How does someone who is flat-broke acquire a multi-million dollar mansion in Chappaqua, New York and maintain two “summer cottages” in Ireland being flat-broke? It’s a lie, and one meant to deceive.

The good news it this. We can remove those chains and get back to good. We can free ourselves of the disingenuous and elitist oligarchs with which we are currently saddled. We have the power and it is a power that begins with the ballot box and navigates the seas of prosperity through limited government.

The time is now. Let us not be faint of heart.

China, Russia and South Korea Make Moves Away from Dollar

weak-dollarBRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, S. Africa) is the acronym signifying the next generation of economic power houses. Increasingly, these, and nations like them are working to diminish the U.S. Dollar as the World’s reserve currency. This week, China and Russia took more steps towards that goal.

China’s central bank has authorised the Bank of Communications, the country’s fifth largest lender, to undertake yuan clearing business in the South Korean capital, the People’s Bank of China (PBoC) said in a statement.

That action clears the way for China and South Korea to trade in Yuan (Remnibi) for transactions between their two countries thereby releasing them from use of the U.S. Dollar for international trade.

Russia has been working tirelessly with China and other BRIC nations towards the same goal – freedom from the Dollar and the IMF. As more nations set up clearing houses for other than dollar transactions, the Dollar will become less important in international trade.

China, Japan and Russia have already agreed to similar currency use between them. Chinese currency use for trade in Africa is also rapidly increasing.

Next week, Russian President Vladimir Putin will begin a tour of several Latin American countries, including Brazil.  No doubt, decreasing dollar dependence will be on the agenda.

With more than 60% of the World’s currency reserves being held in U.S. Dollars, this increasing trend will have impacts.

The first, and most obvious impact will be massive inflation – in both the cost of goods and the cost of money. The dollar’s value will decline and make food, clothing, gasoline and just about everything else cost much, much more. Interest rates will skyrocket and make borrowing money just about unaffordable.

A portion of the rest of the world envisions a world without America. Some are making sure it happens.

 

Even Democrats realize Cap and Trade = economic disaster

CA dems re-think cap and tradeFor years, economists have been saying that cap-and-trade would be an economy killer. Now, a group of California Democrats has come to the same conclusion in a letter to the head of California’s air resources board.

The 16 Democrats have requested a delay or change to the rules that would put gasoline under the same cap-and-trade rules as power stations have been suffocating under. The rules are set to take effect in 2015.

In the letter, the group warned that “fuel prices for consumers are going to be driven up once fuel is covered under cap-and-trade at the start of next year, weakening the economy just as California is recovering from the last recession, and hurting the most vulnerable members of our communities who must commute to work and drive long distances for necessary services like medical care.”

Now they suddenly understand that their policies are hurting working people and families?

Everyone remembers Obama’s famous “necessarily skyrocket” remarks. Cap-and-trade is intended to make sure that energy prices do just that. Shortsightedness may be getting the better of the progressive left.

The higher prices are intended to curb demand, but that doesn’t work on a necessity. Families have to attend school meetings, go to work, go get groceries and such. That requires fuel or electricity.

If fuel and energy prices rise, that trip to the grocery store will cost more and leave less for non-essential spending. Whether the fuel price hikes result in bus fare increases, train ticket price increases or a higher price at the pump won’t matter – the trip will now cost more and leave families with less.

It appears that Obama is following Jimmy Carter’s economic plan .. and getting the same results.

Obama Illegally Shutting Down Businesses with Operation Choke Point

1. Obama_Constitution_ObstructionIn a free-market capitalistic system, the economy grows as companies compete freely for consumer dollars by producing superior products and services, adding jobs while their bottom-line grows. In such a system the government plays a role as referee by protecting consumers and ensuring all corporate players compete legally, and fairly. But in a crony-capitalistic system, the government does more than referee — it intervenes, attempting to assure success of some sectors and companies, while thwarting and even penalizing those that are out of favor with the prevailing ideology. Over the past six years our economic system has become increasingly controlled through governmental cronyism, and it just got much worse, and it’s based purely on ideology.

Early last year the Department of Justice (DOJ) initiated a new probe into questionable mercantile ventures facilitated by commercial banks. Initially, “Operation Choke Point” targeted banks that service payday lenders, especially online, and other services that they thought to be dubious. DOJ pressured banks doing business with such firms to “choke” or restrict access of such firms to banking services, even to the point of closing the accounts of such firms.

2. Lose-some-Weight-ALG-600This policy is not traceable to the passage of Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, commonly referred to as FinReg. That Act created consumer protection regulations, as well as other measures such as “too big to fail,” which were designed to prevent a collapse of the financial services industry as we saw in 2008. Those regulations are enforced through the Department of the Treasury.

Operation Choke Point, however, is being run through the DOJ as an extension of the president’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force (FFETF). The Task Force was created in November 2009 for the express purpose of holding accountable the individuals and institutions that created the last financial crisis. This task force, headed by the DOJ, includes the FBI, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The evidence for potential abuses is generated by banks through their reporting of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs), making banking institutions partners with law enforcement agencies in identifying and flagging questionable financial activity.

3. Cartoon-Obama-the-Crook-600_zpsec017335This puts banks in a tenuous position with law-enforcement and government agencies. As the Wall Street Journal reported last month, “Banks, which need a reliable and safe payments network to survive, have always worked with law enforcement to fight fraud and even terrorism in the financial system. Banks provide tips to law enforcement when a customer’s behavior seems fishy, and they assist in investigations when asked. In the past year alone, banks have filed nearly a million suspicious activity reports with regulators, including suspicions of mortgage fraud, identity theft, counterfeit debit and credit cards, tax evasion and wire-transfer fraud.”

Clearly the intent of the FFETF is appropriate, as it relates to curtailing illegal or dubious financial ventures and transactions, and restricting money-laundering schemes. The problem is, it’s now gone much further than the original intent.

4. ObamaCare_Thomas_Jefferson_Tyranny_1-300x300Two weeks ago, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee reported that, based on internal DOJ documents, the administration is now using Operation Choke Point to target companies and sectors that are completely legal, yet not viewed favorably by the administration. The report stated that the DOJ is using pressure on banks to “shut down” companies that they find “objectionable.” “We have documented that they are going after gun and ammunitions manufacturers, gun sellers and non-deposit lenders. Their own memos show they are well beyond enforcing the law,” said Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer  (R-MO) after the report was made public.

And it doesn’t end there. The documents released by the House Oversight Committee show that the DOJ has included the entire firearms industry and classified them with other “high risk” targeted businesses. The trade association for firearms and ammunition manufacturers, The National Shooting Sports Foundation, has reported that, “several of its members have had banking relationships wrongfully terminated as a result Operation Choke Point.”

We have yet again an example of the administration utilizing the tools of governance to discriminate against activities and companies that are legal, that they don’t approve of. As previously documented, the administration has abused their power with the IRS, DOJ, Environmental Protection Agency, the Labor Department, FBI, ATF, and OSHA. The administration has abused the power of government, based on ideology, to harass, intimidate, and put out of business, companies led by conservative contributors, and conservative non-profit organizations.

5. obama-tyranny-irsThis is the type of political corruption we would expect from a banana republic, or a despotic Middle-Eastern regime, certainly not the United States of America. Columnist Charles Krauthammer believes we’ll be dealing for years with the “toxic residue of this outbreak of authoritative lawlessness.” This is no longer simply a partisan issue of concern. This goes right to the heart of what defines our constitutional system of government, for we have, until now, been a country governed by law, not presidential whims based on ideology.

Associated Press award winning columnist Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, Idaho and is a graduate of Idaho State University with degrees in Political Science and History and coursework completed toward a Master’s in Public Administration. He can be reached at [email protected].

Q1 GDP Down 2.9%: Admin says – meh

Today we learned that the Gross Domestic Product of the United States decreased by 2.9% in the first three months of 2014 – a number greatly different than dismal .1% increase the administration reported initially.

How could this be? According to the Huffington Post Obamacare had just saved the economy from contraction.. or something.

As the U.S. economy teetered on the brink of contraction in the first quarter, one thing stood out. Healthcare spending increased at its fastest pace in more than three decades.

That surge is attributed to the implementation of President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Because of Obamacare, the nation narrowly avoided its first decline in output in three years.

After the report showing that things were not so rosy, the excuses came fast and furious – no pun intended – from the White House, liberal news and even some economists. The weather was the cause.

Unfortunately for the apologists, most economist believe that the weather only affected the economy to the tune of about 1% of GDP – so where did the rest go?

According to the Wall Street Journal, some, but not all, appears to come from healthcare spending:

Spending on health-care services declined at a 1.4% annualized pace in the first quarter, compared to an earlier estimate of a 9.1% increase. That revision contributed to a revision of gross domestic product to a 2.9% annualized decline from an earlier estimate of a 1% decline.

The WSJ report tells us that even more pain is yet to come thanks to Obama’s attack on one of the largest parts of the American economy:

Michael Feroli, a J.P. Morgan Chase economist, said spending increases related to the new health-care law that didn’t show up in the first quarter “may ramp up more gradually throughout the year.”

For the second quarter, housing starts are down, inventories are down… heck, everything is down. Even the Federal Reserve isn’t acting like Americans are experiencing a recovery (as if they don’t know it.)

The real test will be the second quarter numbers. If we get two quarters of negative growth, Obama will have a recession he’ll get to call his own. Then again, we know he’ll never take the blame so we’ll quietly await Obama’s version of the “Malaise” speech while we all sit back and “eat cake” as instructed by our great leader.

The Economy: National Review and de Rugy promote suicidal “free trade” policies, attack Ex-Im

Last month, the National Review’s pseudoconservative editors (who, BTW, supported John McCain for reelection in 2010) and NRO blogger Veronique de Rugy (a scholar at the GMU’s Mercatus Center) launched another idiotic, ignorant attack on the Export-Import Bank and on the Boeing company (one of the Bank’s beneficiaries).

Why the Ex-Im Bank is needed, and why “free trade” policies like those de Rugy and the NRO advocate are suicidal, is something I’ve written about several times, most recently here, demonstrating how Britain lost her economic preeminence by embracing these “free trade” policies.

In short, the Ex-Im Bank is needed to level the playing field by loaning money to the buyers of American exports. This is because foreign countries heavily subsidize (not merely credit, but subsidize) their own exporters, thus undercutting the prices of their exports and rigging the playing field. At the same time, they impose steep tariffs and VAT taxes on all American products entering their markets.

The Ex-Im Bank is one of the crucial, absolutely needed tools to level the playing field.

But the free traders at the NRO, including its editors and Veronique de Rugy, don’t give up in their idiotic attacks on the Bank. In doing so, they’ve made some of the most idiotic, nonsensical claims I have ever heard on any issue, not just trade.

They falsely claim that the Ex-Im Bank hands out “subsidies”, which is patently false.

Subsidies are free handouts that don’t have to be paid back (and never are).

The Ex-Im Bank, OTOH, awards LOANS, which are quite different thing: they have to be paid back with interest. And in the Ex-Im Bank’s case, they always are. Last year, taxpayers made a profit of one billion dollars on that interest.

De Rugy also protests that Boeing is the largest beneficiary of Ex-Im Bank loans.

But Boeing does not receive a dime from Ex-Im. It is Boeing aircraft buyers that receive Ex-Im Bank loans.

Speaking of Boeing, it is America’s last surviving airliner aircraft maker. It is now locked in a life-and-death survival battle against the European aircraft maker Airbus, heavily subsidized by the governments of European countries, including Veronique de Rugy’s homeland, France (which begs the question: is de Rugy just plain stupid, or is she consciously advocating for a policy that would help Airbus kill Boeing?).

De Rugy asks why Boeing needs Ex-Im loans and whether it can’t simply make good aircraft that customers would want to buy.

But Boeing DOES make excellent aircraft, including the B737, the most popular medium-range jetliner in the world, and the B777, the longest-ranged plane in the world.

But making excellent products is not enough; they have to be cheap enough for customers to buy. And while Boeing receives NO subsidies from the US government whatsoever, its European rival Airbus is LAVISHLY subsidized by European governments, thus reducing Airbus aircraft prices and unfairly undercutting Boeing.

The WTO has found that EVERY SINGLE AIRCRAFT Airbus produces is illegally subsidized and has consequently found the European Union in violation of its obligation to stop such subsidies. Yet, neither the EU nor Airbus have complied or ever will.

The result: Airbus is currently winning over Boeing in the global arena, thanks to the lavish subsidies Airbus receives. In the 10 years from 2004 to 2013, Airbus has received 8,933 orders while delivering 4,824 aircraft, and Boeing has received 8,428 orders while delivering 4,458 planes.

Last year alone, Airbus received 1,503 orders while Boeing only received 1,355. From 2008 to 2013, Airbus has had a lead in orders in EVERY year except 2012.

Looking further back in time, since 2001 Airbus has had a lead (usually a large one) in orders in EVERY year except 2006, 2007, and 2012.

Recall what happened to the US civilian shipbuilding industry when Congress cut off aid to it: it collapsed, being killed by unfairly subsidized foreign competitors.

But according to de Rugy, the NRO’s editors, and idiot politicians like Sen. Mike Lee, America’s last surviving jetliner maker does not deserve support from the US government, even though Airbus is lavishly subsidized by European governments, and despite the fact that EVERY other major trading power in the world has an export-crediting agency like Ex-Im.

Which leads me to the final, and most ludicrous, claim de Rugy has made (on April 17th). It’s a statement that perfectly and completely reveals de Rugy’s and other free traders’ mindset.

De Rugy has stated that even though other countries credit and subsidize their industries and exporters, the US should not “pursue these self-destructive policies.” She asks:

“Does it make sense to pursue these self-destructive policies just because Germany, South Korea, Japan, and China do so?”

Self-destructive?

So according to de Rugy (and other free traders), supporting your own industrial base and exporters is “self-destructive”! ROTFL, you couldn’t make it up! :)

This statement perfectly reveals de Rugy’s and other free traders’ mindset and delusions.

In their warped world, supporting your own industry and your own exporters is “self-destructive” and suicidal; it’s far better to let them die, be killed by foreign competitors, and become dependent on other countries for the products you need. In the fantasy world of de Rugy and other free traders, imports are preferrable to exports and trade deficits are preferrable to trade surpluses.

In their fantasy world, it’s better to let your industrial base and your own exporters be killed by foreign competitors; you don’t need to make any things yourself, it’s better to import them (on borrowed money).

Of course, anyone with half a brain knows that what de Rugy is saying is utter nonsense.

EVERY country that ever became an economic powerhouse – including Germany, Japan, and China – did so by protecting and supporting its industry and exporters; by preferring trade surpluses over deficits, preferring exports over imports, and putting tomorrow before today.

The US was doing the same thing for all of its history until the 1960s – when the free traders took over.

Since then, 6 million good manufacturing jobs and over 55,000 factories have been lost, replaced by nothing. Real wages have not risen since the 1970s. Entire industries have died, and entire regions of many states have seen a crippling deindustrialization and permanently high unemployment.

NO country has risen to economic preeminence by indulging in free trade fantasies – and America won’t be the first.

But according to de Rugy, Germany, South Korea, Japan, and China are pursuing “self-destructive” policies by protecting and actively supporting their industry! LOL!

This would be strange news to these nations. Last time I checked, all of them had sizable annual trade surpluses with the US: Germany, to the tune of $60 bn a year; South Korea, $16.6 bn; Japan, $88 bn; China, $315 bn.

Also, their industries are thriving, while America is exporting its own industry and jobs overseas, mostly to China. Just who is pursuing “self-destructive” policies here?

And just who the hell is Veronique de Rugy to lecture the Germans, the South Koreans, the Japanese, and the Chinese? She’s just another ivory tower academic “economist” who has never worked a day in a real job, has never spent one day outside the purely theoretical academic world, and has never led anything, let alone built a great nation. Neither has any of her fellow academic economists.

These people have never accomplished anything, let alone built or led a great nation.

According to de Rugy, Germany (along with the other countries she’s targeted – SK, Japan, and China) is pursuing a “self-destructive policy.” Let’s see how it has worked out for Germany:

  • It has the world’s fourth largest, and Europe’s largest, economy.
  • Its industry is thriving and makes some of the finest goods in the world.
  • It has an annual trade surplus of $260 bn, meaning it exports $260 bn more than it imports annually.
  • It exports one-third of all it produces and is the world’s third-largest exporter.
  • It is the world’s third-largest car manufacturer after China and Japan.
  • It has an unemployment rate of only 5.3%, lower than even the official (i.e. fake) US unemployment rate of 6.3%.
  • It has a balanced budget and is a country to whom other European nations turn for loans and aid.
  • Its government is one of the leading stakeholders in Airbus, the largest planemaker in the world.

All of this achieved by a country the size of Montana, with only 80 mn people, one quarter of America’s population.

If this is a “self-destructive policy”, bring it on!

And SK, Japan, and China – the other nations targeted by de Rugy for her diatribe?

South Korea, with a population barely around 30 mn, is now among the 20 wealthiest countries in the world by overall GDP and has a healthy trade surplus with the US. Since the ratification of the Korea-US Free Trade Agreement, Seoul’s trade surplus with Washington has TRIPLED.

Japan’s trade surplus with the US last year, at $88 bn, was the largest trade imbalance ever seen between Japan and the US.

America’s trade deficit with China last year, at $315 bn, was the largest trade deficit EVER recorded in ALL HUMAN HISTORY between any two countries.

Such are the results of the “free trade” policies that de Rugy and other free traders advocate.

De Rugy, as usual, is blowing smoke out of her posterior and blathering nonsense about issues she knows absolutely nothing about. Shame on her, and shame on the NRO for giving her a forum to publish her garbage.

 

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