Friday, October 30, 2009

$230,769.23 per job

The White House is set to release a report claiming that the first $150,000,000,000 spent in "stimulus" money resulted in the creation or retention of 650,000 jobs. How you quantify jobs that were not lost is something of an inexact science, but lets go with it. If these numbers are true, and that is highly dubious, that means that the U.S. government spent $230,769.23 for every job created/retained. That is supposed to be good news. Ultimately the economic wizards in the Obama administration expect to create or save one million jobs from the "stimulus package". If that happens, that will equate to one million jobs at a cost of $700 billion, or approximately $700,000 for every job created with artificial spending. The problem is two-fold. First, that is awfully expensive per job and second it seems likely that many of these jobs are entirely artificial and dependent on government deficit spending and at that price tag these jobs are unsustainable. These is Obamanomics and it will bankrupt this country left unchecked. Thankfully it seems that in spite of the cover given the administration from most of the media, the American people are catching on. Let us just hope it is not too late.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Style over substance

That pretty much typifies the Obama administration. Style over substance. All hat and no cattle. All sizzle and no steak. Nothing demonstrates that more than today's "momentous" bill signing:

WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed the first major piece of federal gay rights legislation, a milestone that activists compared to the passage of 1960s civil-rights legislation empowering blacks.

The new law adds acts of violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people to the list of federal hate crimes. Gay-rights activists voiced hope that the Obama administration would advance more issues, including legislation to bar workplace discrimination, allow military service and recognize same-sex marriages.

Congress passed the hate crimes protections as an unlikely amendment to this year's Defense Authorization Act. Obama, speaking at an emotional evening reception with supporters of the legislation, said that more than 12,000 hate crimes had been reported the past decade based on sexual orientation.

Ironic that the man who can't make a decision on Afghanistan finds it appropriate to add a pandering, completely unrelated piece of political payback in a Defense Authorization Act. It certainly helps our troops in Afghanistan to add a "hate crimes" amendment to the Defense bill. Maybe they can hold up a rainbow flag to turn back the Taliban.

The amendment signed into law Wednesday was named partly for Matthew Shepard , a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming who died after a 1998 beating targeting him because he was gay, and whose parents were instrumental in leading the fight for such legislation. The law also was named for James Byrd Jr. , a black Texas man dragged to his death in a racially motivated killing the same year.

In one fell swoop, President Obama has by the stroke of his pen made committing a crime a criminal offense! See last time I checked it was against the law to beat someone to death or drag them to death behind a pick-up truck. So today it is against the law to kill a gay person out of hatred. Yesterday if you killed a gay person it was....well, it was against the law. So good to know that basically nothing has changed but Obama gets to grandstand, "gay rights" activist get some political payback and liberals everywhere get to ooh and aah over what a swell, progressive guy our President is.

This has nothing to do with hate crimes. It has a lot to do with mainstreaming homosexual behavior and causing a chilling effect on those who speak out against this behavior or oppose homosexual marriage.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan...

Monday, October 26, 2009

What exactly is the priority?

I am not sure what the Obama administration has for its priorities. They certainly are not the priorities of sane Americans across this country. What the administration seems mostly interested in is finding new ways to expand the size and scope of the government, exhibitions of false humility over winning the Nobel Peace Prize and demonizing Fox News for daring to have the temerity to report the news without getting it scrubbed by the Maoist White House Communications Director.

Meanwhile, we have had one of the worst months ever in Afghanistan for troop casualties. It must be comforting to be in harm’s way in Afghanistan with constant news reports of how little attention the war effort garners from Obama. Things are definitely getting more unstable and we are months away from getting a decision to make a decision about what to consider doing. The economy is in the toilet, unemployment is going to hit double digits any day now and the real unemployment number is certainly far higher than 10%. Terrorist nations are making fun of America, toying with us like a fat old man too obese to get off the couch. The world's second tier powers like China and Russia are eyeballing America and trying to decide who is going to replace the former sole superpower. The value of the dollar is plummeting, oil prices are rising, housing is still a mess. We are perhaps days away from getting a socialized medicine program crammed down our throats to be followed by a job killing bill on “cap and trade” to penalize production and sacrifice American jobs in order to appease enviro-nuts.

Yes, things are bad.

Yes, they are getting worse.

Yes, there is no end in sight.

Friday, October 23, 2009

An open letter to President Obama

Dear President Obama,

You have spent the last 9 months or so reminding us at every turn that the economy was bad when you took office. Your slogan has changed from “Yes we can” to “Look at the mess we inherited”. You apparently think we don’t know this. Any question of your policies is met with a grouchy reply that you are left to clean up the mess from your predecessor. Let me go on record, on behalf of the American people to say:


We know the economy was a mess. We know that banks were failing and auto companies were collapsing. We know that there are two wars in place.

So did you!

You can stop telling us what we already know and what you already knew. If a parent comes home from a weekend away and discovers their teenagers had a party and trashed the house, that is a mess they didn’t expect. When you run as the best person to tackle the mess we already faced, you can’t hide behind that mess as an excuse. Heck, if you are running as President, you are inherently saying that you can handle whatever challenges the job throws at you. This isn’t a conditional offer. You don’t get to be “Good Times Only” President. President Bush didn’t plan on having a terrorist attack bring down the World Trade Center 8 months into his Presidency, but when it happened he took charge. You may disagree with what he did but you have to recognize that as President we expect you to lead us no matter what the challenges might be.

You didn’t discover this in January when you took office, you knew about it and promised “hope” and “change”. The only change we have seen is that things have gotten worse and the only hope we have is that you stop spending money. So here is our request. Quit telling us how bad it was when you took office, the office you spent years trying to attain, and tell us what you plan to do about it and how you plan to “fix” the economy with putting us trillions more into debt. That is all we want to hear.

Thank you for your time,

The American People

Thursday, October 22, 2009

That is an expensive cow!

If there is a sacred cow in politics, it is publically funded education. You can’t hardly go wrong, Democrat or Republican, by promising to work to improve education, make education a priority, put kids first, make American workers competitive, or any of the myriad of slogans used in stump speeches by aspiring politicians of both parties. All of these lofty promises and noble goals boil down to one thing: more Federal spending on education. In general, spending on education is never discussed of whether to increase or decrease the levels. That is true of virtually all government spending but nowhere more than education. “What about the children!” is the wail anytime we fail to increase spending as much as the education establishment demands of us and with its voracious appetite it asks for more money a lot.

Time to let the facts intrude rudely on the political reality: Federal spending appears to have little or no impact on student achievement.

Check out this chart from the CATO Institute. What it demonstrates is that in spite of the enormous increases in Federal spending on “education”, virtually no improvement has been achieved.

To borrow a term from liberal moonbat (and inventor of the internet) Al Gore, this is an inconvenient truth. Federal spending on education has essentially no impact on student achievement. So what exactly are we getting for our spending at the Department of Education? Well, in return for a measly budget of $68,000,000,000 we get about 4,200 employees of the Federal government that…well, I am not sure what they do. I know they aren’t teaching kids. The DoE is the perfect government agency. It doesn’t do anything, has a vague mission statement and is absolutely immune from being cut. Let’s look at the big picture of Federal education spending, also courtesy of the fine folks at CATO:

We’ve spent $1.8 trillion on hundreds of different federal education programs since 1965, and guess what: at the end of high school, test scores are flat in both reading and math since 1970, and have actually declined slightly in science. (Charted for your viewing pleasure here).

That is pretty awesome. $1.8 trillion for have basically no impact or perhaps even a negative impact. That is impressive. Just think what these folks could do with the health care system and 1/6 of the U.S. economy!

If President Obama is looking for places to fund his socialized medicine, er, health care reform scheme, he could dismantle the Department of Education and save almost $70 billion right out of the gate. The new socialized medicine bureaucracy could move into the building. Better yet, they could just change the name on the building and leave the staff there.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Waking up European

If you think we aren't heading toward a European model of life, you are simply wrong. If you think that might not be a bad thing, you are delusional. Check out this quote from the Journa's Daniel Henninger:

When it was a vibrant garden of ideas, Europe gave the world more good things than one can count. Then it discovered the pleasures of the welfare state.

Old Europe now lives in a world of unpayable public pension obligations, weak job creation for its youngest workers, below-replacement birth rates, fat agricultural subsidies for farms dating to the Middle Ages, high taxes to pay for the public high-life, and history's most crucial proof of decay—the inability to finance one's armies. Only five of the 28 nations in NATO (the U.K., France, Turkey, Greece and Spain) achieve the minimum defense-spending benchmark of 2% of GDP.

Maybe the best two paragraph description of the woes of Europe I have ever read. Europe used to be the pinnacle of civilization. Now it is barely relevant.

Is this our future? That is the way we are headed. The Nobel Prize being awarded to Obama has really been a positive in that it exposes the European mindset and given us pause for thought about Europe’s softness, their attitude of stability and security over excellence and innovation. We are arriving at that point, where the masses have discovered that they can elect legislators who will, without hesitation, vote to transfer money from other people. The danger of democracy is that the masses will realize that it is far easier to elect someone to seize wealth from someone who is willing to work hard than it is to work hard yourself. American's who still believe in America are asleep. They may have fallen asleep Americans but they are going to wake up as Europeans.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

President Michael Scott

Last night President Obama was out mending fences with homosexual activists by promising to, at some point in the future, undo the "don't ask, don't tell" policy in the military. Of course like everything else, he offers no specifics and no time-line, just a vague promise to "do something". So I guess they can give him some award for gay rights or something for promising to do something in the future. He can put it next to his Nobel Peace Prize.

You can feel the fear emanating from Iran and the Taliban at the thought of openly gay American soldiers coming at them. Marines don't scare us, Green Berets are nothing, pshaw on your Navy SEALS. But a bunch of openly gay soldiers swishing at us with rainbow pride bandannas tied jauntily to their M-16s? Now that terrifies us! Now I thought that the U.S. military was designed to protect America and her interests against the bad guys. Clearly the point of the U.S. military is to give political paybacks and be a social experiment.

Meanwhile the war in Afghanistan continues to founder without a lick of leadership. Everyone with half a brain knows that we either cut and run ("The official foreign policy slogan of the Democrat Party") or we need a "surge" to bring decisive force against the Taliban before they completely destabilize the country and eventually neighboring nuclear armed Pakistan. Obama is still considering his options, nine months into his administration. A decision is still weeks or months away. Iran is brazenly continuing to build its nuke program and we are rapidly approaching a date when Israel will do what we are too cowardly to do and knock out the Iranian facilities. I shudder to think of Obama and his cronies at the helm when that happens. As he has proven with Honduras where the U.S. is on the side of dictators and thugs against the Honduran people, Obama's foreign policy instincts are dangerously off target.

Let's see. Lots of empty talk. Indecisive. Completely off base instincts. Procrastination. Ridiculous apologies. Cherishing fake awards. I officially have decided that President Obama is the real life political equivalent of Michael Scott.

Is it 2012 yet?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

An outcome based economy

The world is passing us by.

I was reading a review of Michael Moore’s new “documentary” that attacks capitalism (although I am quite sure that Mr. Moore will happily take the money he makes from this film) by Daniel Henninger this morning. It was an interesting send up of a man who makes a fortune by excoriating those who make a fortune. Not much new from Mr. Moore but the leftist sheep in America will no doubt flock to his latest “documentary”. The more salient point was made by Mr. Henninger at the end of his article where he points out that the world is hardly sitting still while the American economy flops around like a fish out of water.

In a recent visit to the Journal's offices, New Zealand Prime Minister John Key suggested Americans and Europeans don't quite comprehend the enormous "wealth" rising in Asia. Add to that Brazil. This isn't just fat cats but the wealth of billions rising on commerce—on crude, potent capitalism.

The Olympic Committee's rejection of Chicago played here as yet another Obama story. The real, less entertaining message is that from where the well-traveled committee members sit, Chicago is a has-been. Rio is the future.

The important difference between the "socialist" Barack Obama and the Republicans is he'd settle for 2% annual growth (gotta pay for the green dreams) and they might get 3%. In a world of China, India and Brazil, growing at rates between 5% and 9%, we need more. A future president who puts the U.S. back in the race with these fast runners could call himself a communist for all I care.

This is where we are headed. The economic policies being touted by this administration and in fairness in large part the Bush administration, are creating an outcome based economy instead of an opportunity based economy. In other words, the goal is not economic growth so much as it is particular outcomes. The end result is predetermined (i.e. “green” cars) so the goal in innovation is to find out what the minimum you have to do to reach your goal is instead being given opportunity and making of that the most that you can. The economy we are heading towards has a number of fixed targets and that will stifle innovation. Mandating health insurance, “cap and trade”, capping executive pay all have as their goal achieving some sort of perceived social equity. Instead of encouraging economic growth constrained by reasonable protections, the administration is putting its boot on the neck of the economy.

This has already happened in Europe where heavy government involvement has led to a neo-socialist state. Tales of Europe’s workers are almost incomprehensible in America. The enormous amounts of paid vacation and leave time, the huge number of workers who are “disabled” and on the government take, the minimal birth rate leading to a huge influx of foreign workers to support the welfare state that is rapidly changing the culture of Europe. In Europe there seems to be little incentive to work hard or innovate. Why work any harder than you have to if the outcome is already predetermined? Certainly there are people who are workaholics who will continue to work harder than others for a while, but eventually inertia will catch up and America will end up like Europe with a “do just enough” economy.

Meanwhile the developing world is rapidly catching up thanks to the global stability provided by the U.S. military (how many world wars have we had since the U.S. took preeminence in the Western world?) and the technological advancements we have innovated. By making the world more interconnected, we have innovated ourselves into being uncompetitive. Why pay someone to do something in America for ten times the cost of someone in India or China? People crab about call centers in India, but those same people would have a fit if their cable bill went up 20%. The solution is not to cut executive pay because the executives at these companies are by and large doing what the shareholder pay them to do: give a solid return on their investment.

We are on a path to economic suicide and world instability. We are deep into a “service” economy and we already have an enormous percentage of our economy based on consumer consumption. In other words, we have an economy based on nothing tangible, one that consists of people paying for services from one another and buying stuff in stores. That stuff is made somewhere else thanks to the outrageously uncompetitive benefits and wages demanded by unskilled American workers. The response from the Obama administration? Push through legislation making it easier for unions to bully people into joining unions and thus making American workers even less competitive. Having a union card doesn’t help you much when your job is outsourced to Mexico.

The end of this road is an America that is an economic dinosaur with an enormous military. That is a recipe for disaster. Can you picture a future America where unemployment is 20%, our Federal government is bankrupt and scared people are electing someone to “make things right”? Think back to the end of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Adolf Hitler. A once mighty nation in collapse electing someone who was willing to do whatever it took to regain prominence. I shudder to think of the military might of America in the hands of someone who is willing to use it to seize power. The partisan morons who painted the liberation of Iraq as “imperialism” have no idea what real imperialism looks like. If we were truly an imperialist nation that was after the Iraqi oil fields, there wouldn’t be roadside bombings in Baghdad because there wouldn’t be a Baghdad. We would have leveled it years ago and focused our attention on the oil fields in the south. The American Left hasn’t had anything substantive to say for years, so they are reduced to name calling and caricatures.

The solution, as Daniel Henninger succinctly points out, is not less capitalism, it is more. For every AIG and Countrywide, there are thousands of companies who do business the right way. Capitalism is not the big threat to freedom, totalitarianism is and the best way to get there is through an economic collapse. That is where we are headed and even though all logic and reason screams “Stop!”, this administration is bent on turning the economy of the world’s sole remaining military superpower into a crippled, socialist shell of itself.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why Roman Polanski’s arrest is an affront to Hollywood

The reaction to the Polanski arrest by most average Americans is pretty much the same: what he did was disgusting and illegal, he has been on the run living in luxury for 30 years and it is about time that he face some actual punishment for it (living in multiple mansions across Europe and paying a small settlement is not a fitting punishment for drugging and raping a 13 year old girl). Ask Hollywood and you get a response that is so diametrically different that you would think we were talking about two separate incidents.

What it ultimately comes down to is this reality: the Hollywood Left thinks it is the moral and intellectual epicenter of America and we should defer to it on all matters. If Roman Polanski is a famous guy and an accomplished director, we should let it go. If the same thing happened to a pig farmer in Iowa, feel free to lock him up forever. After all, who will miss him? But to arrest Roman Polanski? IN EUROPE! Outrageous! What will the Europeans, who are so much more sophisticated than us, think now? The apologists for Polanski are sending the clearest possible message that the rest of America is filled with idiots and that people living between California and New York should shut up and keep paying for tickets to the movies Hollywood pumps out. Check out this paragraph from a Wall Street Journal piece Roman Polanski, Hollywood and Justice.

Not, however, Harvey Weinstein. On Thursday he gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times that will live long in the annals of arrogance. Not only does Mr. Weinstein believe that Mr. Polanski should be set free at once, but he claims that "Hollywood has the best moral compass, because it has compassion. We were the people who did the fundraising telethon for the victims of 9/11. We were there for the victims of Katrina and any world catastrophe." That's the voice of a man who spends his days listening to toadies—and who knows nothing of the deeply felt beliefs of the ordinary people who pay their hard-earned money to see his pictures. I wonder how many of them will henceforth be inclined to steer by the compass of anyone who thinks that rape is a "so-called crime."

How about them apples? Hollywood has compassion because occasionally they will lend their fame to a cause that they find mildly interesting. They care about the poor while living in unbelievable luxury. They understand the moral compass of America while promoting immorality. They understand America better than Americans because they make films about their twisted vision of America. How much does a Hollywood producer, director or actor know about America when they are surrounded by sycophants and luxury 24-7?

Just keep this in mind when you are going to the movies or watching some celebrity pontificating on TV: they think you are an idiot.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

New heights of delusion on the Left

I seriously think that most of the American Left, never a bastion of sanity and reason to begin with, has completely gone off their rockers. Exhibit A: The Ed Show on MSNBC (Why is it that when MSNMC rolls out leftist partisan after leftist partisan, that is "journalism" but when Fox News has conservative commentators it is the worst thing that has ever happened to America?) Watch this clip where the failed bid to land the Olympics is all the fault of Republicans and cost America untold millions of jobs, union jobs no less (we apparently need jobs, but we really need union jobs)

This knucklehead seems to think that a) Not supporting Obama=lack of patriotism and b) Getting or not getting the Olympics is an important issue. Remember when conservatives were excoriated for suggestions that not backing the war on terror was unpatriotic? Now we see that allegedly not supporting the Olympics effort where we came in dead last is borderline treason.

This guy may be one of the most delusional people I have seen on the Left and that is saying something. I have no idea who he is but clearly any nutjob with a loud voice can get his own show on MSNBC. Apparently not throwing all of our warm and fuzzy thoughts behind Obama’s failed pitch for Chicago to host the Olympics is the same thing as Hanoi Jane Fonda sitting on the same gun that North Vietnamese communists used to shoot down American pilots.

I especially loved this line:

“When Obama fails, America fails”

Seriously. When George H.W. Bush lost his reelection bid, America did not fail. When a political leader fails, it is not the end of America. The Obama agenda is not the defining standard of failure or success for America. The messianic complex held by the Left would be funny if they weren’t poised to do so much damage to America. Barack Obama is just a guy. Granted he is President like forty some odd men before him and thus far he has been a pretty mediocre and inefficient one, but America will survive and perhaps even thrive if Obama fails to seize the means of production in America and America will survive long after Obama leaves office. Quit kissing his ring and use your minds for a change.