An eight-year void

For 8 years, the man-child Barack Obama blamed his economy on his predecessor. You would think George W. Bush was president from 2001-2017 the way Obama consistently shoved responsibility for the results his own disastrous policies onto Dubya. The lack of any meaningful economic growth along with a record number of unemployed were, obviously, the intended results of Obama's monolith of new federal regulations, along with the addition of ObamaCare to the already-fragile U.S. economy. But Obama escaped all blame.

Here comes President Trump. After just six months of stripping away many of Obama's repressive regulations, along with the prospect of an ObamaCare repeal and massive tax cuts, consumer confidence is higher than we've seen in many years, unemployment is already lower than it ever was during the Obama presidency, economic growth has already surpassed anything we experienced during Obama, and the stock market seems to set a new record high every day.

Certainly, Obama cannot be credited with the economic explosion of 2017. We never saw numbers like these during his presidency, so why would his policies have suddenly resulted in a spike in economic growth now that he's gone? It seems as though we have jumped directly from the Bush economy to the Trump economy, with an eight-year void in between where another president was supposed to be. Indeed, with the alpha male now in the White House, we're coming to understand just how inconsequential President B. Hussein Obama really was.

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Media predictions

I have watched the media report economic news under 8 years of Bush, and now under 8 years of Obama. Believe me when I tell you there is a stark difference. The media allowed President Obama to blame our economic malaise entirely on George W. Bush, even during Obama’s second term. They would never afford President Trump the same luxury, not that Trump would ever resort to blaming his predecessor ad nauseum (adult vs. man-child).

Here is a handful of predictions, things to look forward to from the media as soon as Trump is inaugurated:

* The media are going to suddenly discover there are 94.6 million Americans unemployed, and what’s Trump going to do about it?

* The media are going to suddenly discover that we have huge budget deficits and an exploding national debt nearing $20T, and what’s Trump going to do about it?

* We have homeless people in America, and what’s Trump going to do about it?

* GDP growth under Trump will easily trump that under Obama, but the mainstream press will still try to talk down a growing economy and dig for and exploit any shred of adverse economic news.

There is a way to reduce poverty and doesn’t involve government programs

Hillary Clinton has a plan to combat poverty. I’ve read it. (I really should be paid for this.) I’ve linked to it, but I can sum it up for you in two words: more government.

Liberals have been combating poverty since 1964 when LBJ declared a war on poverty. That was more than 50 years ago. Since that time, government transfer-of-wealth programs have cost American taxpayers (current and future) in excess of $22T. That’s more than the national debt.

The results of the war on poverty abysmal: decimation of the black family, an explosion of single motherhood and fatherlessness, higher rates of crime and incarceration, and no appreciable change in the poverty rate.

We have every right to be skeptical whenever a liberal Democrat comes up with a plan to combat poverty, because it always involves government in some way. There is a way to reduce poverty, but it doesn’t involve government. It has everything to do with making better personal choices.

To greatly reduce your chances (and those of your children) of living in poverty…

  • Get an education, at least a high school diploma. If college is out of the question, then consider a trade school or some other means for learning a marketable skill.
  • Do not have children out of wedlock. Wait until you are married. Then stay married.
  • Find a job and stay with it.
  • Obey the law.
  • Live within your means.

You might say this is easier said than done, but I beg to differ. Millions of Americans of all ethnicities and backgrounds have followed these guidelines and very few of them live in poverty. You can blame others for your plight but if you play by the rules chances are you will find some measure of success. You don’t need government, and you don’t need liberal Democrats. You just have to make responsible choices in life.

What will you do when they replace you with a kiosk?

Several days ago I read an editorial in the Commercial Appeal (Tennessee’s paper of record) in favor of fast food workers making $15/hour. (link) Aside from the typical class warfare argument — McDonald’s CEO makes millions — the editorial writer finds a case study in a single mother of three trying to make ends meet on $7.25/hour.

She’s behind in her rent. She’s had her car repossessed, and her utilities and phone cut off more than once. She’s forced to rely on food stamps and predatory lenders.

With three kids and shifting hours, she doesn’t have time to look for a better job. With just a high school diploma, she doubts she’d find one anyway.

She doesn’t want our pity or our righteous indignation.

I’m sure it’s tough trying to raise three kids on your own, and I admire the young lady for wanting to work instead of just demanding handouts from the taxpayers. Good for her. But there’s one question I can’t get out of my head, and it’s a question not asked in the editorial, and it’s rarely asked anywhere else. Where is the father(s)?

The root problem, you see, is not minimum wage fast food jobs. The problem isn’t corporate greed. The problem is far too many children being born to single mothers. The problem to many of society’s ills is the absentee father. The poverty rate of children living with a single mother is something like seven times greater than the poverty rate of children living with a mother and a father. So let’s get dad involved and quit making McDonald’s the scapegoat.

Aside from the obvious, minimum wage was never considered a “destination” wage. I personally made minimum wage or close to it during high school and college. These were mostly part-time jobs. But I knew I wouldn’t be making that wage for long because I aspired to something much greater. That’s why I got an education. Rather than demand a higher wage, I simply made my self employable for a higher-earning job. That’s what you do.

I would even argue that setting the minimum wage at $7.25/hour legitimizes that wage. It is possible that without government-mandated minimum wages, some jobs that currently pay the minimum wage might actually pay a little more without government getting in the way.

Fast food restaurants aren’t going to willingly pay their workers $15/hour. Sooner or later, cashiers making $7.25/hour won’t be making anything at all because they’ll be replaced by kiosks that don’t demand anything from anyone.

Crazy talk from Crazy Bernie

Every once in a while I hear an audio clip of Bernie Sanders ripping into Wall Street. Bernie is like bad medicine. I can only take him in small quantities. When I do hear Crazy Bernie or read headlines dedicated to Crazy Bernie, he is usually ripping Wall Street. (Have you ever noticed that liberals are ALWAYS talking about other people’s money? They accuse everyone else of being greedy, but no one talks about money more than liberals.)

I guess Crazy Bernie is miffed that wealth on Wall Street is concentrated in the hands of a few. At least that’s the perception he portrays. I bet if you ask the average Democrat voter he would be unable to articulate why Wall Street is their boogeyman. Maybe they know enough that there’s lots of money on Wall Street, so they must be greedy and they’re probably stealing from the poor, so let’s vote for Bernie because he’ll bust them up. It never occurs to anyone that busting up Wall Street won’t make anyone’s life better. Plus, I don’t accept the premise that Wall Street is anything evil. In fact, I love Wall Street and wish the investor class a great deal of success.

You see, my retirement money, and the retirement money of a lot of other Americans, is invested in Wall Street. So if you’re a Democrat voter wanting to topple Wall Street, know that whatever diabolical wishes you might have for greedy Wall Street investors, whatever affects Wall Street is going to affect a lot of Americans, not just a few nameless, faceless investors.

This may sound stereotypical, and maybe it is a little bit, but I envision the typical Crazy Bernie supporter as one of these fast food workers clamoring for a $15 minimum wage. There is a complete lack of knowledge of how an economy works. There is a great deal of ignorance of how businesses work, how investments work. They are simply invested in this class warfare scheme created by liberal Democrats, where rank and file voters are taught that people who earn more and save more are somehow the enemy and we need government to knock them down to size.

So here’s to Wall Street. May the investors continue growing wealthy. May the stock market continue to grow and businesses flourish and become more numerous. When these things happen, my portfolio, and the portfolios of million of Americans, will become more valuable. When this happens, it will mean more for our retirement. This will make us less reliant on Social Security in the future (i.e., less dependent on government).

This is one more reason why we must defeat Democrats at all costs.

The new normal?

Economist Tyler Cowen isn’t the first to suggest the current economy, in which there is very limited growth and relatively high unemployment, may be “the new normal” that we will have to accept. I personally don’t accept it, because the current economic malaise, which has persisted for the entire Obama presidency, is more the result of left-wing economic policies (unprecedented growth of government, unprecedented deficit spending, unprecedented transfer of wealth, and needlessly high energy costs) rather than a flaw in the free market system. Anyway, Cowen writes:

Slowly but surely, we may be responding to these difficult revelations by scaling back our ambitions for the economy — reinforcing negative trends that were already underway. In this troubling view, we have finally begun to discover some unpleasant truths. Borrowing a phrase from the University of Toronto economist Richard Florida, it’s possible that we are experiencing a “Great Reset.”

In ither words, Americans might as well go ahead and embrace the new austerity in our own personal lives, but regardless of economic output, it is never stated that government must greet the new normal with austerity measures of its own.

Link

Why the unemployment rate is a meaningless statistic

Last week, the Labor Department reported that the April unemployment rate was 5.4%, which was down slightly from March’s 5.5%. If this were true, it would be wonderful. But it isn’t true. That isn’t anywhere close to actual unemployment rate. You see, the 5.4% figure does not include those who aren’t in the labor force. There are a whopping 93,194,000 Americans who are not considered part of the labor force. This results in a participation rate of just 69.45%, which is the lowest percentage since 1977. So the federal government is able to put forth what appears to be a favorable unemployment figure by using an ever-shrinking labor force, while the real number of Americans who are out of work continues to swell. Indeed, a more accurate measure of the real unemployment rate is known as “U-6,” which considers those “marginally attached” to the labor force. The April U-6 number is 10.8%, exactly twice the reported unemployment rate.

We needed a study for this?

A new study by the American Legislative Exchange Council shows that red states have the greatest economic potential. Utah is at the top. New York and Vermont are at the bottom. It’s no wonder that wherever Democrats are in charge, the economic outlook is rather bleak compared to those areas where the GOP runs the show.

Revisionism

I don’t know about you, but I thought the Bush years were pretty good for the American economy. President Bush won two rounds of tax cuts, taxes were relatively low, unemployment was low. Times were good. Then we got the housing crisis in 2008, which was purely the result of Democrats interfering in the financial industry. Then along came President Obama, who believes the solution to anything and everything is government tinkering. Now the President is slamming GOP solutions, which were and are good for the economy, in favor of his own, which have contributed to soaring unemployment and created the most massive deficits we’ve ever seen.

President Barack Obama derided an economic plan from the top House Republican as repeating job-killing policies of the past that help drive the country into recession.

In turn, House GOP leader John Boehner said the president had stooped to partisan attacks because he can’t sell his own plan at a time when millions of people want to know what happened to the jobs Obama promised to create.

Days after signing into law tougher regulations on the financial industry, Obama said Saturday that those new rules are an important part of his approach to reviving the economy.

Obama, GOP spar over how to revive ailing economy – Yahoo! News

The coming economic collapse

I’m not much of a fatalist, and I tend to ignore those who make fatalistic predictions, but Arthur Laffer has my attention on this one.

On or about Jan. 1, 2011, federal, state and local tax rates are scheduled to rise quite sharply. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire on that date, meaning that the highest federal personal income tax rate will go 39.6% from 35%, the highest federal dividend tax rate pops up to 39.6% from 15%, the capital gains tax rate to 20% from 15%, and the estate tax rate to 55% from zero. Lots and lots of other changes will also occur as a result of the sunset provision in the Bush tax cuts.

Tax rates have been and will be raised on income earned from off-shore investments. Payroll taxes are already scheduled to rise in 2013 and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will be digging deeper and deeper into middle-income taxpayers. And there’s always the celebrated tax increase on Cadillac health care plans. State and local tax rates are also going up in 2011 as they did in 2010. Tax rate increases next year are everywhere.

Now, if people know tax rates will be higher next year than they are this year, what will those people do this year? They will shift production and income out of next year into this year to the extent possible. As a result, income this year has already been inflated above where it otherwise should be and next year, 2011, income will be lower than it otherwise should be.

Arthur Laffer: Tax Hikes and the 2011 Economic Collapse – WSJ.com