The Magic of the Season

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A very short article in the Star Phoenix Newspaper of Saskatoon (Saskatoon is a city in central Saskatchewan, Canada) by Starphoenix writer Conrad Romuld, protests the city’s “blessing” of Christianity by not removing “Merry Christmas” signs from the city buses.

Perhaps Mr. Romuld, as well as maybe millions of other ‘protesters’ have not taken the time to analyze “Christmas” and to understand that what was a solely Christian holy day has evolved (some would say devolved) into much more than a simple Christian holy day.

When a shopkeeper or retail clerk, a friend passing on the street or a sign on a city bus wishes you a “Merry Christmas,” it is highly unlikely the greeting has anything to do with the birth of the “son of God.” The greeting or wish “Merry Christmas,” in far more instances than not, is simply a recognition of the traditions that have grown around this Christian holiday. The traditions are giving gifts, having parties, spreading good cheer, exchanging “Christmas” cards, helping those in need, singing Christmas carols, decorating homes and businesses (and buses) with symbols of the season like Christmas bells, holly, Christmas trees, manger scenes, and Santa Clauses . . . and one tradition that was once a recognition of the actual Christian Holy Day but is now more of a ‘family’ tradition: attending a Christmas Eve service. Even if you don’t believe in the actual “reason for the season,” the music is sure to fill you with the “magic of the season.”

Christian protesters had better “pray” that Christmas and it’s associated traditions never go away, our economy depends on holidays like this one; they keep stores open and profitable, keep people employed and do a lot for those who have little but for the charity that goes along with the season; in other words: Christmas helps many, many people and harms virtually no one. It’s a perfect holiday!

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas day . . . even all of my fellow atheists and agnostics.

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A Major Event is Just Over the Horizon

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It’s true! George W. Bush deserves a lot of credit for our economic problems and that credit must be shared by a handful of Arab terrorists on 9/11/01.

President Obama, however, did nothing to improve the situation he inherited and, in the process of doing nothing, he did an amazing job creating an ‘entitlement-minded majority’ and creating a government that supports and nurtures it. America has re-elected President Obama, partially at least, because far too many Americans have surrendered to that mind set. Bill O’Reilly called it when he said:

“the voters, many of them, feel that the economic system is stacked against them and they want stuff. People feel that they are entitled to things and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things?”

The Liberal candidate of course.

It’s going to take a major event to get people to understand that subsisting at the pleasure the United States Government (in reality, living off the charity of other citizens, aka: Progressivism) is a very short-term proposition and that that major event, whatever form it takes, is just over the horizon.

Unless President Obama takes a crash course in Economics and suddenly understands that the Federal Government was intended to be a last-resort support system for our economy and unless he comes to grips with the reality that a strong free-market system with minimum regulation is the only entity that can create the wealth the U.S. needs to sustain our economy, our economy will crash within his next four years. Crash with wide-ranging and devastating effects to every one of us.

This eventuality has been more than obvious for the past two years.

The bad news is: it’s too late to do anything about it now!

The question every American should have been asking for the past few years is: Does President Obama know what he’s doing? Personally I have my doubts. His constant mantra, even before becoming president, was “level the playing field.” That alone should have been a wake-up call; someone with that mentality could have never become president if people had realized the implications of what he was suggesting. Then, once he became president, that mentality guaranteed the continued economic failure we’ve experienced for the past four years.

The United States was not created on a level playing field. It took risks by people with foresight and guts to create the strongest economy the world has ever known. Nor has the United States ever operated on a level playing field; entrapenuers risked their capital to create businesses, create jobs and create wealth for their employees and investors. There were never any guarantees of success and the “playing field” has never been level; if you contributed to a business you profited from that business. Obama’s “level playing field” implies that everyone owes a piece of their personal, hard-earned wealth to everyone else. That’s not America, that’s Communism.

I really and honestly believe that if you voted for a second term for President Obama you’ve screwed yourself in the long-run and, in the process, you’ve screwed the rest of us.

REFERENCES:

NewsMax: O’Reilly: Obama Win Means ‘White Establishment’ is Now Minority

The Hill: Obama’s record of overreach

Huffington on Obama

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Arianna Huffington Arianna Huffington, the Ann Coulter of the far-Left, expresses an enormous amount of dissatisfaction with the way her far-Left wing president does his job in her article this week on her website: “The Huffington Post”.

Huffington’s article, titled: “Barack Obama Is Doing My Job; Why America Needs Him to Do His,” openly wonders why the president is acting so unpresidential when it comes to Wall Street and the banking system, i.e.; he has the authority and power to make things happen but he seems to be satisfied with “urging, advocating, recommending, strongly suggesting, and cajoling.”

She continues:

“During his weekly radio address, which focused on the need to get America’s banks lending to small businesses again (wasn’t that the reason we bailed out the banks in the first place?), the president declared that “it’s time for those banks to fulfill their responsibility to help ensure a wider recovery, a more secure system, and more broadly shared prosperity.” But “it’s time for” is the kind of thing we pundits say: “It’s time for the banks to do this and that… It’s time for Congress to do this and that… It’s time for the president to do this and that.

“Then the president laid out his plan of action: “We’re going to take every appropriate step to encourage them to meet those responsibilities.

“Encourage them? How about make them? Columnists and bloggers encourage. Presidents execute. It’s in the job description. Hence: the executive branch.”

I have to give Ms. Huffington credit — she has her principles and they will not be corrupted by party loyalty.

So what does she want the president to do?

“For starters, the president controls who runs the Fed. Instead of just giving Ben Bernanke the green light for a second term, he could have made it contingent on forcing Bernanke to open up the Fed to full transparency. In fact, there is a proposal for an audit of the Fed in the House now. It is, not surprisingly, being fought by the Fed. And the White House is silent on the subject.

“The president also has the power to make other key appointments, including the head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (who supervises the nation’s commercial banks); the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation; the head of the Office of Thrift Supervision (the primary regulator of savings and loans); the head of the Securities and Exchange Commission; and the head of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which oversees derivatives).

Huffington then sharpens her virtual tongue for another attack:

“He also controls who runs the Treasury Department — which, believe it or not, is not legally mandated to be overseen and staffed by former Goldman Sachs executives and their friends. And there is nothing in the Constitution that says the Treasury Secretary has to be in near-constant contact with the heads of Goldman, Citigroup, and JP Morgan, often taking their calls late at night.”

Its fun to read a far-left Lib dissing another far-Left Lib for not being far left enough but hopefully President Obama pays no attention to either Arianna or her “Post.”

Obama does, as Huffington suggests, need to get all the crooks and other rubbish out of the White House and out of his cabinet and needs far more transparency — he hasn’t even begun to keep his campaign promises in those regards –but he does NOT need to exercise more control over any aspect of the private sector.

My suggestions for President Obama are far simpler than Arianna Huffington’s: 1) Do everything you can to get the government out of the way of the free market; 2) Provide whatever incentives you can for growth (not mandates but incentives), and 3) Stand back and watch the economy return to health.

You’d think it’s October 2008

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ALT TITLE The title is a line from an article by Steve Huntley in the Oct. 20th Chicago Sun Times titled: “Excuses wearing thin for Obama, media pals”. Here’s the full quote:

“You’d think it’s October 2008, the final month in the Obama presidential candidacy, rather than October 2009, nine months into the Obama presidency. Yet the Obama White House is in full campaign mode — maybe because it needs to mask the shortcomings of the Obama presidency.”

How True! How True!

Huntly goes on to jibe the Obama administration and the “Obama acolytes” at MSNBC and CNN and others who continually prostrate themselves at the feet of their spiritual leader in the White House and continually attack anyone who speaks out against Obama. The cries of racist are continually echoed from the speakers and pages of Obama’s media organizations along with excuses for Obama’s failure to meet his promises.

Not only is the Obama administration still in campaign mode after nine months and not only are they continually pointing fingers of blame at others they are not even focused on the major problem in the United States an economy that is suffering and causing massive unemployment.

How can they ignore that? Or the better question is: Why are they ignoring that while working like they are possessed toward legislation that will further devistate the general economy, create more unemployment, increase home foreclosures, increase bankruptcies and, eventually, grind our economy to a halt?

The answer is frightening but its the only answer I can concieve of: Obama doesn’t care about the economy; all he cares about is government control and he knows that he cannot control a free market so he is determined to destroy the free market.

But what about or country’s economy as it competes in the International marketplace? Our dollar will soon be worthless anywhere except at home and, I’d bet every dollar I own that in Obama’s heart he doesn’t mind that a bit. He’s getting even!

That’s right, the President of the United States is getting even with this country that he regards as greedy and oppressive; and to get even he is going to intentionally and willfully try to destroy the United States by taking away its wealth and power.

OK! I know that sounds completely paranoid but how else can his actions be justified?

Put yourself in the Oval Office. You’ve inherited a screwed up economy. What do you do? Do you focus on things like healthcare and the environment or do you take actions to get businesses back in business and growing again so they have a need for more workers?

The answer should be obvious and if Obama had really intended to fulfill his campaign promises, now, nine months later, our economy would be growing (or at least not shrinking) and the government would be shrinking — not the other way around.

What should he have done? Here’s my list: lowered corporate taxes (or even eliminated them for a period of time); provided other incentives to business to hire more employees; ensured that only American citizens or those here legally are on employment roles; given some money directly to consumers so they themselves can buy products and services to help get businesses back on track; divested the Federal government from any and all but the most essential (for National Security) ventures; cut foreign aid to any country that does not support us and work with us in the United Nations (as a practical matter you don’t enrich your enemies); insisted on a line-item veto and lined out all tag-on legislation that cannot pass on its own; and put healthcare legislation and environmental legislation on the “back burner” until we are in a stable economy and it can be addressed intelligently.

Hardly an all-inclusive list but you get the picture I’m trying to paint; Obama had sone NONE of that and will probably never do any of that until he understands that the American People are fed up with his anti-business, anti-American attitude == and maybe not even then! He is a man possessed!

How Low Can the Bar Go?

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US Economy Fixed I can’t claim that I ever understood the world of high-finance or what drives the stock market — and now I’m more confused than ever but I have a theory:

Since President Obama moved into the oval office the national debt has skyrocketed; unemployment is at a record high in many places; there is legislation pending that, by all indications, will eventually bankrupt the government (technically it already qualifies for bankruptcy) as well as the free-market; a judicial activist has just been appointed to the Supreme Court; the government is in the process of spending $3 billion to buy old cars and then, this morning, a story lead in the Washington Post informs me that: “Dow and S&P Close at New ’09 Highs.”

Obviously, the current administration’s recession, compounded by its irresponsible behavior, has set the bar so low that bad news, that is not as bad as expected, becomes good news.

Here’s a paragraph from the article:

“Investors have been clinging to signs that the economic downturn is easing, and their hopes were stoked Friday by a Labor Department report showing that non-farm payrolls fell by 247,000 in July, compared with a drop of 443,000 in June. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.4 percent from 9.5 percent the previous month. Both figures were far better than many analysts were expecting.

Hey wow! Let’s celebrate! Unemployment has momentarily slipped by 0.1% and only 247,000 people joined the ranks of the unemployed. Well hold on to your noisemakers and bags of confetti for a while, Obama is promising us that unemployment will “top 10 percent” before it gets better; personally I believe the first part, that unemployment will go beyond 10% but I have serious doubts that it will get better, IF the current administration and the current Democratic majority have their way.

A perfect example of the reason for my skepticism is this August 7th article from the New York Times that tells how two Senate committees are still busily at work on cap and trade legislation that will, if passed, completely devastate the free-market and cause millions of more job losses. Oh don’t believe me; take it from Joel Kotkin at Forbes in this article or from Daniel Whitten’s article at Bloomberg both of whom predict very bad things for the economy — and for all of us — if this push for the “Green United States of America” continues.

But for now (a perfect example of how people will bet on ANYTHING) the stock market is rallying! But how low can the bar go before reality overwhelms even those high rollers?

LINKS:

Washington Post: Dow and S&P Close at New ’09 Highs

New York Times: Boxer, Baucus Headed for Turf War Over Cap-And-Trade Bill

Forbes: Green Jobs Can’t Save The Economy

Bloomberg: Climate Bill to Raise Power Costs 20%, EIA Says

Obama’s ‘Fine Print’

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Change indeed!

Americans grow up, finish their schooling, get their own cars, their own places to live, go for an easy to get credit card or two, develop a credit history, eventually get married, raise a family, get a bigger place to live and if they haven’t already, at that point many start abusing their credit.

Problem is, the average American has very poor money management and credit management skills (that’s a subject not taught in too many schools) as a result they will quickly run their golden egg producing credit cards up to their limits by making those fabulous minimum payments and will, to their everlasting amazement, then be offered a new even higher credit limit.

What I’ve just described is more than just a series of snapshots that depict people getting into financial trouble, it also describes a culture created by and manipulated by our banks, credit card companies, loan companies and millions of businesses who advertise: “We Finance!” This has been going on for the past two or three generations and it has created a ‘False American Dream’; not the American Dream that says if you work very hard and use your money wisely you can accomplish almost any personal goal — this ‘False American Dream’ has led countless Americans to believe that they can ‘afford’ anything they want because the money is out their waiting for them — past credit history be damned. No one reads the fine print!

From Finance To The ‘Age of Obama’:

In 2008, many American voters were in deep financial trouble because of the False American Dream and this was exacerbated by the Bush Administration’s mismanagement of the economy. With these two conditions in play it’s only natural to assume that these American voters would reject any candidate with any connection to President Bush (i.e., the entire Republican party) and jump at the chance to elect a president who promised the most help. Thus, we entered the age of Obama.

Picking a president based on campaign promises is just as perilous an adventure as applying for that third credit card after the first two are maxed out. It doesn’t seem like you have any choice and you live on the hope that everything will work out all right. Trouble is, with everything you do in life there is “fine print” that needs to be understood and “consequences” that need to be faced. In the case of candidate Obama, the “fine print” was hidden in the practiced eloquence of his speech and in the blinding glow of his well-polished charisma. The fine print didn’t lie either; it presented a fairly accurate picture of the thoughts and aspirations of the candidate, i.e., ‘the free-market does not work; big business is not to be trusted; every individual American must sacrifice so the government can provide for those who have less and need more; only government control can save us all from the ongoing financial crisis and only the government can put American’s back to work.’ That and more was all there in the “fine print” for all of us to “read.”

It’s safe to assume that many people who voted for candidate Obama did not look beyond the rhetoric and charisma to “read” the fine print. Those who did and still voted for candidate Obama probably fall into two categories: 1) those who like the idea of an all-powerful government that would “take care of them” and 2) those who understood the implied socialism in what candidate Obama was saying and assumed that it was all just political rhetoric — like in every election — and not to be taken too seriously. After all who would seriously think that a new president would dare to even consider turning the United States economy and culture into something resembling a European country’s?

It’s time to face the consequences — next time “read the fine print”

Chicago Tribune: U.S. unemployment rate may be more than 10 percent already

Bloomberg: “ U.S. Commercial Construction to Drop 16% This Year, Report Says

Reuters: Waves of job losses sap U.S. states’ budgets

Economic Stimulus Checks: Do They Help?

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On Saturday morning’s Fox and Friends show (11/8/08), former Governor Mike Huckabee made the statement that an economic stimulus package doesn’t help the American economy — he gave an example of the last round of $600.00 checks that were sent out and stated that ‘the only economy that was stimulated was China’s’. He’s partially right but, in a large part wrong.

True that we essentially borrowed the money from China to finance the stimulus and true we’ll be paying it back with interest but his assertion that our (consumer) use of the money only benefited China was pretty far off.

Money Not Spent Wisely Is Still Money Spent

What should have happened when taxpayers received their money was quite different from what did happen.

People had planned to use their money wisely: to pay off past-due bills, catch up with their rent, save some, get ahead on car or mortgage payments, buy some things they needed (or just wanted) that they couldn’t afford before, tuck a few bucks away in savings accounts as a reserve toward emergencies, help out friends or family members who needed it, donate some to charities, and the list goes on.

What actually happened was a bit different: People went on a consumer binge; they bought new “toys,” i.e., computers and appliances that weren’t really needed but wanted, money was spent on restaurant meals, movies, cosmetics, new clothes, jewelry, books and actual ‘toys’ for their kids, and etc.

The point is, money not spent wisely is still money spent; money spent in department stores, electronics stores, book stores, movie theatres, toy stores and restaurants did exactly what it was supposed to do, it stimulated local economies. But it did more than that, it made people happy and even optimistic.

Benefit to China?

Getting back to my original contention: it is the American taxpayer and American business who benefited. Lets say that half of the money spent by consumers from those stimulus checks went to purchase items made in China — those items were long since paid for by American businesses and were marked up for a profit to American businesses — there was no real stimulus for China when they were purchased and a great stimulus for American business.

A Minority of One?

I am admittedly in the minority! If you search the news or the blogs (starting with the links at the end of this post) for “stimulus checks” you will see a lot of negativity. This is, however, my POV and it makes sense to me.

Americans Can Be Pretty Gullible

The issue of how money is spent goes far beyond economic stimulus checks. Americans are continually assaulted by “no money down” offers, get rich quick schemes, no payment until whenever offers, and, well, you know what’s out there. More than schemes to just get your money these are things that take advantage of your hopes and dreams.

Sure, we’d all love to live in a big house with the most modern appliances and fanciest electronics and drive our dream cars — and we can! . . . but the problem is, the bill will eventually come due and you had better be in a position to pay that bill when it comes due or your dreams will come crashing down all around you. Many people, as we see in this current “mortgage crisis,” fell for the sales pitches made by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, real-estate agents and salesmen who didn’t give a damn about the ability of the customer to meet his or her obligations as long as they could turn in the paper work that showed that they “made a sale.” There ought’a be a law that puts these people in jail long enough for them to realize the errors of their ways.

Then there are the offers to “make thousands of dollars a month” over the Internet, even on a part time basis, with no special training, etc., etc.. How many millions of dollars have been wasted by gullible consumers getting in on “the ground floor” of these schemes only to realize that, in many cases, the only business is to find new suckers who are willing to pay for this fantastic opportunity. It’s an old saying and has been used to the point of becoming trite but there is no truer axiom than: “If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is!”

Me Too!

Hey! I’m not putting anyone down for being gullible any more than I’m putting myself down. I’ve fallen for more stupid schemes in my life than I can count — or care to remember. We all want to get rich, we all hope for that big Lottery win or that chance to get “discovered” or to somehow “fall into a pot of money”. But until we actually have the ‘new’ money in our pockets, we have to take real good care of the money we DO have!

News Links:

Dallas Morning News: Only 39% say they would shop for holidays with stimulus check

Convenience Store News: Government Checks Won’t Stimulate Consumers

Blog Links:

Profitable: Stimulus For the Economy-Check Or Is It Checks?

In Defense of Liberty: And So It Begins, But Where Will It End?