Jobs and Industries Democrats are trying to kill

This is meant to become a running list of all of the industries specifically targeted for destruction by the Democrat party. Many of these are obvious but the goal it to look at the ripple effects of each of these decisions and understand the impact on the unemployment picture and the economy as a whole.

Target: Big Oil
Impact: Rig Workers, Parts Manufacturers, Local Service, Gas Prices (which impacts inflation)

Target: Tobacco Companies
Impact: Employees, Farmers, Tax Revenue (all those pet programs “for the kids” supported by this revenue)

Target: Banks
Impact: Employees, New York Restaurants, Las Vegas (and other conference cities), Event planners, wait staff, cooks

Target: Private Jets
Impact: Manufacturer, Small Airports, Pilots, Service Technicians, Oil Companies, Steel Manufacturing, Parts Suppliers

Hope that you do not know anyone in any of these industries or reliant on these industries. The economy is connected, pick and choose winners and losers and the ripples are long and wide. The end results is always the same, lower employment; usually in the service sectors that support these businesses and towns, lower tax revenue and more government control of free enterprise. Make no mistake. This is either the end goal or they are incompetent. I believe they know full well what they are doing and government control of private business is the end game.

Daschle Out, Tax Reform In?

I think that Republicans need to take the high ground here. I know very little about Tom Daschle but he seems to be well respected, especially in Healthcare. The best course of action here is simply to express regret for the impact on a experienced public servant.

Regret that the tax code as implemented and manipulated over the years is continuing to cause President Obama issues. I believe that Republicans can begin to ask the simple questions about simplifying the tax code. Not by creating more exceptions for rich folks who get favors (like Daschle) but more to a simple tax code.

I am a recent convert from a flat tax to the Fair Tax due to an issue that is center to this argument. That issue is compliance. How difficult is it to track a foreign organizations payments to a US citizen, as in the case of Geitner? Or a gift of services as in the case of Daschle? A flat tax would likely have the same issues of compliance as the current code where that payments were simply not made. Or in the case of gifts the flat tax may simply avoid counting that as income and allow wealthy gifting to become the norm. The Fair Tax (National Consumption Tax) would tax the spending done after the income. Any services purchased even gifted have an added tax which would have been paid by the service company in either case. Income foreign of domestic is not a concern as the money spent locally is taxed. This Fair Tax also gets federal income from the wealthy as they spend their wealth.

Now is the time to take the mantel forward.

Cutting grocery bills easily by 33%

I have always been frugal and specifically in regards to my grocery shopping. I was talking with a friend about it (recently unemployed friend). He found it of value and asked me to post it. I was slightly surprised because I thought more people did this. I guess not.

The steps are simple.
1. Plan you meals based on sales fliers.

We plan our meals for the week after the sales fliers come out on Thursday (also repeated in the Sunday paper here). Based on the items (especially meat) that are on sale, we match up the sale items to our known recipes.

2. Clip coupons.

It is a simple thing but works. In Georgia, both Publix and Kroger will double any coupon under 50 cents. Matched against the sales fliers we can cut prices by over 75%. It does take discipline to stay ahead of the coupon pile and use them before they expire. We have kids, they like to cut out things. If you do not get the Sunday paper, get it. This pays for itself. If not you can use on-line sites and preprinted coupons. This is less tactile and for some reason that has kept me from totally buying in. I have heard great things about CouponMom.com but I believe they will match your grocery list to coupons for you (not sure about doubling here).

It is also important to know whether or not your store will let you buy one in a buy 1-get-1 deal. Some stores simply discount by 50% and others require that you buy two by making the second item 0.00. Store and Manufacturers coupons are different and can be used together to maximize discounts.

3. Stock Up

When you get a good price on a non-perishable item. Get enough to make it to the next sale. I have found this to be about 3 months but it varies by items.

4. Shop by Store

WARNING: Some simple match may be required.

Most neighborhoods have more than one Grocery store. Know what is on sale at each and plan accordingly. I usually do not have to jump from one to the other. If you plan you can get 3-4 meals from one and 3-4 from the other giving you the option to shop when it is convenient.

It is important to know the approximate price of items in different stores. Target and Walmart (especially the super-stores) usually beat the store prices on many of the non-perishables. These do not need to be bought each week (hence non-perishable) so plan to stock up. These stores also take coupons (but do not double).

Warehouse clubs are great for the daily items (per towels, toilet paper, cleaning supplies) but perishables need to be bought with caution (unless you want to eat chicken parts for one month straight). Make sure the membership is worth it. Are you really going to save $45?

If you are still not quite sure it is worth it. I will give you our last Grocery bills. Now you have to remember that based on different purchases in other stores we manage what we actually buy from the grocery store.

69.30 savings 35.39 or 33.8%
89.25 savings 38.24 or 30.0%

Does the media know what Bipartisan means?

It would seem from all of the press coverage of the “stimulus” bill that the term bipartisan is a bit confused. Based on a quick review on dictionary.com, I found that it means “representing, characterized by, or including members from two parties or factions”… odd. Based on the coverage of the vote it would seem to mean “voting for something that democrats vote for” and though that would then create a bipartisan vote it is not the definition.

There were two bipartisan votes yesterday on the “stimulus” and both are getting very little coverage. The first was a vote against the big pork barrel main bill all the Republicans and 11 democrats voted against the bill. By definition that would be bipartisan. The other vote was for the Republican alternative bill which garnered 10 Democrat votes. But I see no coverage of this fact.

I did see Howard Dean on CNBC. He expressed the overarching “new definition” for bipartisan. He words were cleaned up but the basic message was this “we won the election, vote like us or you will keep losing”. No understanding for the bipartisan opposition to the pork in this bill. No value is placed on the constituents that put these Representatives in office. Simply “vote like us”.

This bill is not stimulus. Even the CBO stated that only .12 of every dollar (For the Obamatons that would be “a lot less than half”) will go towards stimulating the economy. So 88% of the money goes to what? Pork…the NEA, Acorn, Alternative Fuels, an ATV trail (that might count on the 12%) and adding more children (with family income over the median and up to age 30) to the government healthcare roles. In other words pet projects for Democrat constituents that got them elected. I know many will say that is why they are there and this is what their constituents expect. I tend to agree. The American people say they want change they say they want things to be different. But in the end they want something for themselves and if it means $9000 for every tax paying family to that they can get some spare change back. They continue to put these people in power.

But Taxes are not going up and the economy is in decline. So this “money” does not exist. How can a project be run on money that does not exist. How can the programs that can’t be paid for now, be increased? It is called “printing money” or “deficit spending”. I thought this was the reason Republicans lost power in 2006. Too much spending and yet we have turned the spicket into a fire hose and left on on full.

I blame us. We put them there. We keep them there. We are rewarding deficit spending. They overspend, we overspend, we are all in debt and the economy is collapsing. So we spend more. What sense does that make. We are the greedy &^*&(%^ that care more about soaking the other guy then preserving the economy for future generations.

Unfortunately, I do not think the spending will stop. This “porkulus” bill will fail to help the economy. It will grow government and government jobs and dependency. And we will ask for more help and another bill will be passed, spending even more money we do not have.

If it were to continue, the interest on these payments will eventually outpace revenue (that would be money taken from most of us…still most for a few more months) and out debtors will realize we are in default. The economy will go deeper into recession (probably depression at this point). But that is ok because this bill “saved jobs”. They will argue that it would have been a lot worse, the media will parrot the sentiment and the spiral continues.

Some will remember the brave 188 that voted in a bipartisan vote to slow this train, they tried to take another course. I hope enough will join will them in the coming months and years to stop the train. The path out of deficit spending is hard and disciplined. It means cutting back not spending more it means putting votes at risk to do what is right. I wonder if enough of them have that much courage.

Homeowners re-defaulting after getting aid

Reuters Reports Homeowners re-defaulting after getting aid. Let me hold back my shock. So, over half of the people that got houses and loans they could not afford, refinanced with their banks (with our money to pay the difference) have defaulted again?

I find it interesting that some are surprised by this. And some are upset. In fact, a government program that only wastes about 50% of our money should be heralded as a roaring success.

I am not surprised at all. A large percentage of these folks have been floating loans and living free for months. The chance to refinance for free and then start the process anew…Free housing just got extended…Yipee for me! I was going to pay under the new mortgage but then that new TV got cheaper and I wanted a new car.

I do not want to ignore the 40ish percent that were in trouble and are now making amends. Congratulations and welcome to the program. But like all Government programs helping those folks has already cost us twice as much as it should have and the price is likely to go up.
The economy continues to falter, housing prices still falling. Third times a charm? Do we learn the hard lessons yet? Some people cannot afford the house they live in. By bad financing, overspending or change in situation… it happens. Government involvement to prevent the fall only prolongs the trip and increases the cost. It is going to be painful to fix the problems brought on by Fannie, Freddie and their Socialist counterparts. But prolonging the agony is not helping.

Update 12/10: The other side has now spoken up on this issue.
AP: WASHINGTON – President-elect Barack Obama is being urged to strengthen enforcement of fair housing laws to ensure that the mortgage foreclosure crisis doesn’t disproportionately hit minorities and the poor

…So, we have to be careful not to foreclose on too many people that can’t afford the house they are in and can’t pay their mortgage. That would not be fair. We must equally foreclose on middle-class and rich folks. Oyyy still do not get it. ..here is the summary… “Some people do not have the finances or the control to own a home.” Get them out before they hurt themselves permanently.

The Constitution (a few simple thoughts)

Just before the election an Obama Radio interview surfaced. In that interview he argues that the constitution was getting in the way of the supreme court redistributing wealth (creating economic change). He also talked about the fact that the constitution lists what the government cannot do to you, but it does not list what they should do for you. I know I did not go to Harvard and maybe my knowledge of Constitutional Reinterpretation is just not at his level, but I see it very differently.

The constitution is not getting in the way. The anti-federalists where very clear that the constitution was written to protect the people. To protect them from a over zealous and over reaching government. They argued for the Bill of Rights. Some against it, stating that the constitution itself was clear enough on the limitations of a federal government. That these rights were so well understood and so basic that they need not be documented. But sufficient fear of a giant federal government existed in those founders that they approved the Bill of Rights. Most of those first ten amendments do guarantee our rights and protections from the government. But two very important rights (ones that Obama seems willing to gloss over) need to be remembered.

Amendment 9 – The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People.
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

It would seem clear to me that the 9th is to make sure that the federal government does not try to limit our rights to only those allowed or stated by the constitution. And its counterpart is the 10th and the one that protects us most of all. If the constitution does not specifically allow the federal government to act, then they cannot act. They do not get to redistribute wealth outside of the additon of the 16th amendment’s ability to allow for taxation on income. But it is important to note that it was deemed necessary to have the 16th amendment in the first place.

So I would respectfully disagree that the constitution does not say what the government must do on our behalf. It does so in such simple terms that most Americans simply no longer understand it. It should do NOTHING but and NOTHING other than what is written in that document itself. It should organize a military, negotiate treaties and a few other items and fund those items through taxation. But without the additonal the 16th amendment that taxation could not be on income.

We have all lived our lives with a federal government with too much power and too much control over our lives. We find it an odd concept to read the Constitution as it was meant to be interpreted. I do not believe that we have yet reached the point in our history that this document is no longer valid. I do not believe that the founding fathers were so dumb as to not think of these issues. Instead, I would agrue that speciallically wanted to avoid these issues and keep the federal government from gaining this much control in the first place.

Obama Recession hits -20%.

Yeah, I said it. This current downturn since November (even earlier) is now on Obama. As the economy rolled quickly down the hill, Obama had the option in each debate, his stump speeches, his acceptance speech and to any microphone since to stop the bleeding. He has not. All he would need state is that any economy in turmoil cannot afford higher taxes. Especially on capital gains. What is ironic is that raising the capital gains rate will have little impact by the time it is passed anyway. Anyone with gains to take is getting out of the market and no one is getting back in. The economy is shrinking, companies are fighting to stay above water and they are laying people off.

Obama threatened to raise taxes, threatened investors with a near doubling of the capital gains rate, threatened companies with more oversight, more taxes and more unions. He backed down on none of it and now he is elected.

Many thought the market had already taken its lumps, found a new low and prepared for this before November 4th. I thought it had to and I put some back in. What many missed, including me was the senate fight for 60. Some were talking about it but it did not seem likely. But as the election approached it became possible. Then on November 5th three elections were undecided and three seats was all that was needed…and down the market went.

Since that time those elections sat undecided. One concluded this week and the Democrats are now two away. One is so close and in a Democrat controlled state, so that is likely to change hands… leaving us with one…Georgia… and down goes the market.

The fears Obama put in every business owner, every investor, and any tax payer that was really listening look even clearer now then they did before the election. The ability to implement each and every program [deficit be damned], raise taxes, limit corporations, empower unions…kill growth, drive up unemployment, capital the US economy for years to come… these are now all possible… and the markets sink.

I believe in irony and I believe if the Dems hit 60 the Dow hits 6000 (a < 50% decline from its highs).

Moderate Republicans and Crossing the Aisle

Well, it has been a while. Licking wounds, pondering the future… no. Sometimes work and kids take you away. In this case it was a needed and welcome diversion. It has given me time to work up a lather over the post-election coverage. So on we go….

There are two dominant opinions working there way around the Republican party in these post-election days. Both admit defeat in the election and both say that it is about time to change the message. Hard to disagree when both sides want the same thing. But they have very different messages and goals.

The moderate Republicans believe that the party needs to learn from these losses and try to join the Democrats on some of the big issues. Americans want civility and someone who can get things done by working with the other party. They say, “We need to understand that the American people have spoken. They want universal health care, they believe in climate change.” The theory is, if these are winning platforms, you need to run on them to win. I do not subscribe to this theory.

What I believe is that a large population of voters, believe that Republicans are mean spirited, racist homophobic free market anarchists. They say they don’t want divisiveness that they want someone in the middle like everyone believes they are. So you can jump into the Socialist big government pool with the Democrats. This leaves you to be a less mean spirited racist homophobic Socialist. These folks will surely like you more. But they will never vote for you over the loving caring free-love green Socialist that is today’s Democratic party. This is the real lesson of John McCain. A lost Republican trying to befriend the left and get along only looks like a cheap copy. No one wants a cheap copy when they can get the real thing by voting for a Democrat. No one wants to vote for someone that has come to their views out of fear instead of conviction.

What Republicans need to do is not to blur the lines as they have begun to do. What they need to do is differentiate themselves on the one key issue: The role of Government in America. The more I discuss issues the more I find that no matter what someone wants, no matter the issue they find dear, they have another issue (usually more) that disgusts them. The country does not want universal health care. They want a solution to rising health care costs. They don’t want higher taxes. They want to trim budget deficits. But in this election no clear distinction was given.

Let me state is clearly… Republicans lost this election. It is time for Conservatives to run for office again. McCain tried but when you do not believe it in your core, you cannot deliver the message with emotion. You also cannot counter the media and the lofty speeches of your opponent. I agree with Ronald Reagan… now is the time for bold colors. Now is the tie for conservatives to stand clarify their message and begin to articulate it again.

I am sure there will be plenty of options to articulate the differences in approach over the coming years. In my opinion the failures of the coming policies will be seen. There needs to be a clear alternative in the mind of the voters, a message that says, “We have another idea, we believe in less government [not no government]. We believe in the power of the American people and not the power of elite government bureaucrats. We believe in this option or that option.” When the failures come, and they will, they will eventually be followed by a election and the voters will know what to do.

Until then. I will do my part to articulate my views and other options to those being proposed. If I happen to agree, I will strongly push for those as well. More to come.

Republicans are making Lemons from Lemonade

Some Positive Reactions From The Right

Thank you Dennis for your optimism. I agree mostly with point 1 and whole-heartedly with point two. However, you are far more optimistic then I on the rest.

Point 3: Liberals are in the process of creating a plurality of Americans that pay no income tax. Race is not the issue and never was (point 2) it was a distraction to maximize class envy and anti-capitalist thought. Even if the tide shifts and becomes obvious that this was always the case, do you expect enough of the majority to vote themselves a tax increase? The other side of the same coin is this; Socialism and redistribution of wealth (if implemented) will hurt the poorer (predominantly black) communities harder then others. This will perpetuate the anger towards corporations and their “racist” ownership. The more their plans fail the more they need bigger plans to solve the problems. I do not see this reversing.

Point 4: The majority of the voting populous does not leave our shores. The outside opinion of our country is only what the media is willing to show us. In this era, they will all love Obama. No protests will be covered, terrorist attacks will be side issues. We eventually will know as our world view may turn quickly back to reality with another attack on US soil. But I do not expect that to occur in the next 4 years. They may be planning but it will take time for our complacency to allow them to be reconstituted and successfully complete an attack. At that point we will be so complacent and so unprepared, that a disproportionate response will be hard to muster.

Point 5: Conservatives have no voice and are so weak that you may be right on this one. But by our nature, I agree that we will be more civil. But we will be portrayed as the opposite. Any voice of opposition will be called racist (back to point 3). The media will continue to push that this country is now Center-Left regardless of the exit polls and reality. What conservatives need is a clear plan of opposition and a set of principals to carry the party forward. Today those voices are signs under the seats in a Denver sports arena.

The subtleties of media bias AP style

In a “news” story the AP shows the subtleties of bias.

So let me highlight for the purposes of education.
The first line begins the trail… “In a bold move brimming with confidence, Democrat Barack Obama broadened his advertising campaign … by placing a commercial in the Republican presidential nominee’s home state of Arizona.” First the article starts with Obama…ok he is “ahead” but look at the adjectives, “bold”, “brimming”, “confident”. What is this sentence would have been “In a move showcasing his over-confidence and huge sums of campaign donations, Democrat Barack Obama broadened his advertising campaign … by dropping a commercial in the Republican presidential nominee’s home state of Arizona.” Different spin? Says the same thing does it not?

What about the first paragraph about McCain…”McCain was spending a second straight day touring economically ailing Ohio, a swing state with 20 electoral votes that McCain aides acknowledge is central to a victory on Tuesday. McCain was behind Obama in polls in the state.” Again few changes in words and we get “McCain was spending a second straight day crisscrossing the swing state of Ohio, with 20 electoral votes the state is central to a McCain victory on Tuesday. In recent pools, McCain has closed to within 2 points in the state.”

It does not take much to set the tone and still communicate the facts. And they know it.
Based on a read of the full article you can figure out the opinion the author wants you to leave with. I could sum up this authors view in a few words. “McCain is a total loser and does not have a chance. Even his own state may vote against him.”

Next we move down to something a little less obvious then the adjectives (purposefully) used. Later in the article about McCain we have this… “McCain said. “He [Obama] wants to raise people’s taxes — that’s clear.” Obama is proposing tax increases on families making over $250,000 and individuals making over $200,000 and tax cuts for the 95 percent of workers making less than $200,000. McCain also was to campaign Friday in Columbus, Ohio, with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. “

What was that… A Obama counter immediately after a McCain quote. Note that the Obama counter was not a quotation or stated as “The Obama campaign states”. It was stated as fact. A fact that is disputed and refuted by every fact check source… except AP I guess. The fact of the matter is that it is not true. If it were to say “…and income tax cuts for the 95” then it would have been closer.

Subtle but effective.