Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

"Observe that the 'haves' are those who have freedom, and that it is freedom that the 'have-nots' have not." Ayn Rand

"The virtue involved in helping those one loves is not 'selflessness' or 'sacrifice', but integrity." Ayn Rand

For "a human being, the question 'to be or not to be,' is the question 'to think or not to think.'" Ayn Rand

28 June 2012

Supreme Court Betrays Individual Rights Completely

By upholding the constitutionality of the abomination known as ObamaCare, the United States Supreme Court has joined the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the current usurping presidential office holder in violating the Constitution and the very concept of sovereign individual rights.  Each of the four institutions and three branches of the federal government has failed its constitutional mandate to limit the powers of the federal government in accord with the enumerated powers given the government in a blatantly obvious overreach of power.  Obama and a Democrat House and Senate betrayed their duty to protect our equal, sovereign individual rights to life, liberty, property, the ownership of our own minds and bodies, and our personal pursuit of happiness by passing this tyrannical act.  The Supreme Court, in a declaration of its complete uselessness, backed this Democrat Socialist seizure of power.  It declared that every American mind and body belongs to the collective and is not owned by the individual.

In order to perpetuate this heinous act, it declared that the basis on which ObamaCare was passed by the legislature was a fraud, but the Supreme Court exists to quash individual rights in the name of fraud.  Despite repeated claims by the House, Senate, and Obama that the penalties for not purchasing a government prescribed healthcare plan were not a tax, the Supreme Court decided it was a tax.  What is more, it fallaciously claimed that the tax was necessary and proper to the function of legitimate government.

I will once again remind everyone that our Declaration of Independence defined legitimate government as one whose sole function was the protection of our equal, sovereign individual rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.  ObamaCare is an interference with my control of my life in a most basic and fundamental way.  It refuses to allow me to maintain my own life.  It is clearly a huge restriction of my liberties.  I can further assure you that this law prevents me from being happy and will very likely subject me to future personal pain due to my own future medical problems and due to any suffered by those I love.

The passage and upholding of ObamaCare is the end of a "long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces [here, evincing] a Design to reduce them [the People] under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security."

Despite the unified federal government claim that my mind and body do not belong to me, I declare that they do belong to me and only to me.  My individual rights are mine whether this tyrannical government chooses to recognize that fact or not.  Until such time as the federal government resumes its responsibility to protect rather than to violate individual rights, it no longer has any claim upon my goodwill.  My sole allegiance is to my individual rights and to those who demand their own individual rights.  Those who would steal my mind and body, who would force me to buy health insurance, who would further force me to buy the insurance of their choice rather mine, who claim the life and death power to have DEATH PANELS decide how long I may have to suffer without medical treatment and whether or not I can receive life-extending medical care or not, are my sworn enemies.  These people are thieves and would-be slave masters who have earned nothing but my disdain.

I am in a state of Rebellion in fulfillment of my Duty and my Right as recognized in the Declaration of Independence.  I will seek to carry this rebellion out by ousting the Democrat Socialists from control of the Senate and the presidency and by further reducing their numbers in the House of Representatives in the November 2012 election.  I will, if there is success in this, then do all in my power to see to it that future Justices chosen to the Supreme Court are not tyrants and sycophants to tyrants.

If the November elections do not remove these Intolerable Tyrants from public office, then more drastic means of rebellion will be necessary.  Under no circumstance will I buy any health insurance plan mandated by ObamaCare.  I fully expect that draconian despotic act to try to send me to prison for five years.  Let them try.

27 June 2012

Was the Warming of the Late 20th Century Unprecedented?

Those who claim that the effects of man's emissions of carbon dioxide on climate are catastrophic, have commonly said the high temperatures of the late 20th Century and the rate of their rise was unprecedented.  All of the extensive evidence of warm periods in Europe and around its periphery is often said to be only due to local effects, without a worldwide analog.  Over the last 10 years more evidence that these warm events existed in places such as China and South America has been found, but the non-European evidence is not so voluminous that those who make the claim of unprecedented warming recently have been quieted.  A new study of sea surface temperatures in the East China Sea over the last 2700 years adds to that evidence that the recent history has precedents.

Weichao Wu of Peking University and 4 other colleagues of various universities in China collected a sediment core from the sea floor in the Southern Okinawa Trough over which the warm Kuroshio current flows.  "The researchers analyzed the top 10 meters of the sediment core, corresponding to 2,700 years of sedimentation and from it were able to resolve 25-yr averages. To determine the SST, they used the “relative number of cyclopentane isoprenoid GDGTs in marine crenarchaeota (Thaumarchaeota)” which “increases with increasing growth temperature.”""  "...they identified a tracer in the sediment layers that is a measure of the relative abundance of a tiny marine organism whose number is sensitive to the sea surface temperature. The more crenarchaeota that are evident in the sediment layer, the higher the ocean temperature."

The temperature history from this proxy reconstruction is shown in the graph below with data points for each 25-year average and a running three-point mean line. 

Their sea surface temperature reconstruction clearly shows the Roman Warm period (RWP), the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP),  the Sui-Tang dynasty Warm Period (STWP),  the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the Current Warm Period (CWP). The warm period from 500 to 350 BC was when Persian and Greek civilizations arose.  The highest temperature data point for this period is higher than any for the recent CWP.  The rate of rise at its start is also faster.  The highest temperature in the RWP is also higher, as is the rate of initial rise in temperature for the RWP, compared to the CWP.  The STWP seems to have displaced a longer Dark Ages Cool Period in Europe.  The highest temperature in the MWP in the East China Sea is higher than the recent warming also, though the MWP in Europe was more substantial than that in the East China Sea.

The important thing is that higher temperatures and higher rates of temperature increase, as well as higher rates of temperature decrease, have occurred in the past in other areas of the world with a significant correlation to the events of Europe and its surroundings.  The temperature proxy data used to construct the hockey stick temperature record of the last IPCC assessment report was very limited.  As pointed out by Ian Plimer in Heaven and Earth global warming the missing science, there actually is much information from around the world that indicates how misleading that hockey stick temperature plot really was.

25 June 2012

The Federal Government Extortion of Businesses

I have often written that when government takes on the powers of illegitimate government, it becomes a threat to businesses and other special interests operating in the private sector.  Business is especially vulnerable, because that is where the money is and many people have a bias against commercial interests.  Government politicians have a hankering for their money and want to pretend to be protecting the People from some powerful threat to them.  So, politicians shake down companies by threatening them with harmful legislation and simply by using their access to and influence over the press to give businesses a bad name.

Companies, like it or not, are forced to become lobbyists.  Once they get into that, they are generally tempted, as are other special interest groups such as labor unions, public employees, trial lawyers, accountants, environmentalists, and religious groups, to take over the controls of government.  This is fairly easy to do since the government has by then become far too complex for most of the People to understand and control.  Indeed, some companies and other interest groups see how easy it is to take over the controls of government and leap to those controls without even being extorted.  It can be an easy route to power and influence and to riches.  Control of government can also be used through regulations and licensing requirements to reduce competition.  The great Institute for Justice is renowned for trying to eliminate licensing and similar restrictions that keep people from earning a living.  The Competitive Enterprise Institute tries to reduce the number of regulations designed to reduce competition.

Timothy Carney has a very interesting tale of how Orrin Hatch, Utah Republican Senator, forced Microsoft to get into the lobbying business very much against its will.  It is well worth reading.

2012 Electoral Map Prediction Update

Back on 11 March 2012, I predicted that Romney would win 315 Electoral College votes in the November 2012 election, which was enough for him to post a substantial win.  The continuing high real unemployment rate of 13.0%, rather than the misleading government 8.2% rate that no one believes anymore, will pretty much insure this outcome.  Obama is madly trying to paste together a number of minority constituencies, but these groups are mostly suffering much higher rates of unemployment than the white population.  While he will get a large majority of the black and a majority of the Hispanic and youth votes, these majorities will be smaller than in 2008 and the turn-out of these groups will be way down, especially that of young voters.  Many white voters, having proved they are not racists by voting for a black man, are now inclined to judge Obama on his accomplishments, and many are sorely disappointed.  Ideologically, he has made it very clear that this election is about his ideal of ever bigger government and more collectivism versus an ideal that favors a robust private sector and free enterprise, where more freedom of individual choice reigns.  The Tea Party and elections since 2008 have made it quite clear who is going to win that stark ideological choice.

The New York Times is presently predicting that there are 217 safe votes for Obama and 206 safe votes for Romney.  They breakdown the leaning and toss-up votes as follows:

Leaning to Obama:

Maine, 4
Michigan, 16
New Mexico, 5
Minnesota, 10

Leaning to Romney:

Arizona, 11
Indiana, 11
Missouri, 10
North Carolina, 15
Nebraska's Omaha Congressional District, 1


Colorado, 9
Florida, 29
Iowa, 6
New Hampshire, 4
Nevada, 6
Ohio, 18
Pennsylvania, 20
Virginia, 13
Wisconsin, 10

The economy appears to have little chance of improving before the election.  It may actually worsen as Europe has slipped into a second recession and the growth in the rest of the world has slowed.  The highly negative impacts of recent EPA, FDA, FDIC, and NRLB rulings on businesses are also piling on.  The national debt continues to soar.  Major banks have just had their credit ratings reduced.  A huge tax increase looms in early 2013.  I see no reason for the states leaning to Romney to reverse course to Obama.  Obama has too clearly shown that he has no program to effectively help the economy and produce jobs.  On the contrary, many are coming to understand that Obama is anti-business and interfering with American's right to earn a living.  Americans thinking about this between now and the election will shift more and more to Romney.  Adding these Romney-leaning states to Romney's total gives him 254 of the electoral votes out of the 270 votes he needs to win.  Romney only needs 16 of the 115 toss-up votes to win.  How it is that Obama is still the bettor's favorite to win the election is a mystery to me!

Now, let us examine each of these toss-up states to predict which way they will vote in the election.

Colorado, with 9 votes, has a history of being a toss-up state.  In the last four presidential elections it had a Democrat - Republican vote of 54 - 45%, 47 - 52%, 42 - 51%, and 44 - 46%.  It has leaned slightly Republican in these presidential races, but it has a Democrat Governor and 2 Democrat Senators.  It is represented in the House of Representatives by 4 Republicans and 3 Democrats.  The state senate is controlled by Democrats and the state house is controlled by Republicans.  State houses tend to indicate the direction of the party affiliation or philosophy is taking in a state.  For example, whether the people want more government (Democrat) or they want little change or even reductions (Republican).  State senate members and representatives to the U.S. Congress tend to be held onto due to their accumulated power, connections, and name recognition well after their philosophy has come to be out of touch with the people.  Environmentalism has long been a major theme of many of Colorado's people, but many people now know its claims that anything man does results in catastrophe are much exaggerated.  The May government unemployment rate was 8.1%, so unemployment is probably about equal to the national average.  Unless that rate falls, Obama is likely doomed here.  Colorado is also the 11th largest coal-producing state in the union and it has federal lands with a potential for a lot of oil and gas production, so Obama is clearly retarding the economic outlook for this state.  67% of the electricity generated in Colorado was from coal-fired power plants using mostly Colorado coal.  As a result of this and the production of oil in the Bakken Shale Oil Formation, only 10% of the after tax income of Colorado residents is spent on energy.  Considerable coal was exported to other states.  Coal production has been dropping despite extensive reserves.  Only 4.0% of the population is black, but 20.7% is Hispanic and Obama has to hope he retains as many of their votes as he received in 2008.  This is unlikely, despite his recent attempt to direct that young illegal aliens brought to the U.S. by their parents when they were young not be deported.  Colorado is more likely to vote for Romney than Obama.

Florida, 29 votes, has voted in the last four presidential elections with Democrat - Republican splits of 51 - 48, 47 - 52, 49 - 49, and 48 - 42%.  The Governor is a Republican, there is one Democrat and one Republican U.S. Senator, and there are 19 Republicans and 6 Democrats in their U.S. House of Representatives delegation.  They will add two Representatives in this 2012 election.  Both the Senate and the House of the state legislature are controlled by the Republicans.  This is basically a Republican state now, despite its past presidential election voting history.  In the past, the Democrats often used scare tactics about Medicare and Social Security to convince older voters to vote for them in national elections.  Now many of Florida's older population have seen cutbacks in the coverage of Medicare already under Obama and are having trouble finding physicians who will take them on as patients.  Many of them are paying much higher costs for their prescription drugs.  Many can only attribute this to the changes that have come with ObamaCare.  Romney was leading Obama as early as the 11 April to 16 May Gallup daily poll released on 18 May by 53% to 39% among those 70 and over.  The increasing effects of ObamaCare are not helping him with older voters as more and more of them feel those effects and attribute them to him and his party.  This is boding ill for Obama in the elderly state of Florida.  The state BLS unemployment rate in May was a very high 8.6%.  The population is 16.0% black and 22.5% Hispanic, but many of the Hispanics are long-time immigrants from Cuba or their children who were born here in the U.S.  This group of Hispanic voters has a voting record which is much more Republican than that for Hispanics outside of Florida.  Florida can ill afford to have its energy costs go up, since 12% of the average after tax income goes to energy costs and this rises to 22% for those with incomes below $50,000 a year.  Florida is unlikely to vote again for Obama and it is actually the only state Romney needs of these toss-up states.

Iowa, 6 votes, voted 54% Democrat to 44% Republican in the last election.  In the two Bush elections it voted 49 - 50% and 49% - 48%, and in Clinton's re-election it voted 50 - 40% in Clinton's favor.  The Governor is a Republican, the state Senate is Democrat, and the state House is Republican.  The two U.S. Senators have been around forever and one is a Republican and one a Democrat.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, it has 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans.  This state is truly split down the middle, but there is evidence of a slight re-direction toward Republicans.  The state is ranked 16th in coal-fired electric generation with 67% of its electricity produced by coal.  It has extensive coal deposits, but little coal mining.  12% of average after-tax income goes to energy costs, but this rises to 20% for those with incomes below $50,000 a year.  Its population is an aging one, with 14.9% of it 2010 population 65 or older, compared to the national average of 13.0%.  Its population growth has lagged the national average considerably, so it is in need of new industries and business growth, an unsurprising result of ranking 45th in business tax climate according to the Tax Foundation in 2011.  BLS unemployment is much lower than the national average at 5.1%.  Only 50.3% are women, compared to a national average of 50.8% women.  This is significant, since women are more likely than men to vote Democrat.  It is 91.3% white, 2.9% black, and 5.0% Hispanic.  The Midwest region has been trending Republican and Iowa is somewhat more likely to vote for Romney in the Fall.

New Hampshire, 4 votes, has voted 54-45, 50-49, 47-48, and 49-39% Democrat - Republican in the last four presidential elections.  The governor is a Democrat, but he is very busy vetoing bills passed by the Republican House and Senate of the New Hampshire legislature, called the General Court.  Both houses of the General Court switched from Democrat to Republican control in the 2010 election.  New Hampshire is represented by one Republican (elected in 2010) and one Democrat in the U.S. Senate, but by 2 Republicans in the U.S. House.  The state seems to want to trend Republican, despite considerable in-migration of people from Democrat Massachusetts over the years to the more business-friendly climate in New Hampshire.  The BLS state unemployment rate is only 5.0%.  The state has somewhat more people 65 and older than the national average with 13.5% compared to 13.0% nationally.  The state has the 5th highest electricity costs in the nation!  Coal provides only 11% of its electric power, while renewable energy sources provide 14%.  New Hampshire is ranked 7th in the nation in business tax friendliness by the Tax Foundation.  I believe as the election campaign continues, the people of New Hampshire will decide that Romney is a better match for them than is the failed Obama, whose anti-business rhetoric will not play well on them.

Nevada, 6 votes, has voted 55-43, 48-51, 46-50, and 44-43% in the last four presidential elections.  It has a Republican Governor, but both the state Senate and the Assembly are controlled by the Democrats.  Both of its U.S. Senators are Democrats and 2 of its 3 Congressmen are Democrats.  Nevada is a Democrat state with strong union organization of the principal industry, tourism.  The state has a business tax climate that makes it #4 in the nation according to the Tax Foundation in 2011.  One would think it would not be very susceptible to Obama's anti-business rhetoric, especially since its main industry is highly dependent upon the nation's economy.  The state land is 84.5% owned by the federal government.  This is the highest percentage federal ownership of any state and it keeps the people of the state from developing many of its resources and has caused land prices around Las Vegas to become very expensive.  This played a role in the extra severe real estate bust in the Las Vegas area.  Obama's refusal to allow commercial uses of federal land has hurt the state economy.  The BLS state unemployment rate is the highest in the nation at 11.6%, so Obama's policies have failed them worse than anyone else.  The state has few people 65 and older than the national average with only 12.0%.  The female population percentage is also lower at 49.5% compared to 50.8%.  Coal provides only 17% of its electricity, while renewables provide 16%, so it is the 25th least expensive electricity cost state.  Nevada should be pressuring the federal government to sell some of its land to reduce the national debt and to open up avenues for employment in other industries than tourism in Nevada, but the population of gamblers and entertainers in Las Vegas so overwhelms the rest of the state population now that they are perhaps just not the kind of people who will be interested in other opportunities.  I suspect this state is just not up to seeing its opportunities and as such, I consider it likely to be a toss-up come November, but very slightly leaning to the party whose policies has delivered them into BLS 11.6% unemployment.

Ohio, 18 votes:  Voted 52-47, 49-51, 47-50, and 47-41% Democrat to Republican in the last four presidential elections.  Ohio has taken a recent turn toward Republicans.  The Governor and both houses of the state legislature are Republican.  Ohio has one each U.S. Senator, but 13 Republican Representatives to 5 Democrats.  BLS unemployment is below the national average now at 7.3%.  Many of the manufacturing companies of Ohio had recent good income based on exports fueled by the strong growth of China, India, Brazil, and much of the rest of the world.  Strong growth in natural gas production in the eastern part of the state has helped the state economy considerably, no thanks to Obama.  Ohio is #10 in coal production and 78% of its electricity is generated by coal-fired power plants that Obama and his wild-eyed EPA want out of business.  Ohio has only 1% of electricity production by renewables, so the Democrats pressure the state to force an increase in that expensive and unreliable form of power generation.  Its electricity costs are already the 24th highest in the nation.  For those earning less than $50,000 a year, energy costs are taking about 22% of their after-tax income.  From 2000 to 2010, the population grew by only 1.6% compared to the national average of 9.7%.  The population is aging faster than that of the nation as a whole, 14.1% are 65 or older.  The female portion of the population is 51.2%, a bit higher than the average 50.8%.  I believe enough Ohioans (#46 rank for business taxes by the Tax Foundation) have come to see the need to develop a better business climate that it will not be deceived by Obama for another four years.  The recent trend has been strongly toward the Republicans and this state alone is sufficient for Romney to win.

Pennsylvania, 20 votes:  The last four presidential elections went 55-44, 51-49, 51-46, and 49-40 Democrat-Republican.  The state has recently swung strongly Republican.  The Governor is Republican, as are the state Senate and House.  Pennsylvania is represented by one Republican (strong Tea Party man elected in 2010) and one Democrat in the U.S. Senate.  Its Representatives in the U.S. House are 12 Republicans and 7 Democrats.  The BLS unemployment is 7.4%.  Pennsylvania is #4 in coal production and 44% of its electricity is generated by coal-fired electric power plants.  The development of the Marcellus Shale Oil Formation has brought a lot of money into the state.  Households with incomes less than $50,000 a year are spending 19% of their after-tax income on energy.  This will be going up due to the EPA shutting down some refineries in the Philadelphia area.  Pennsylvania was ranked 26th by the Tax Foundation for business taxes, which is much better than any of the states on its borders, except Delaware at #8.  The population is a very old one with 15.4% 65 or older.  It is also a bit heavy on females at 51.3%.  The population is 81.9% white, 10.8% black, and 5.7% Hispanic.  It is to be expected that many of the dead will rise up and vote for Obama in Philadelphia, but this state has recently swung strongly Republican, perhaps finally becoming largely aware of the they cling to their guns and religion attitude of the Democrat Party.  I believe Romney will win in Pennsylvania and it is enough by itself to give him the Presidency.

Virginia, 13 votes:  The last four presidential votes were 53-46, 46-54, 44-53, and 45-47 Democrat-Republican.  The Governor, state Senate, and state House of Delegates are all Republican.  The two U.S. Senators are Democrats, but the Congressmen are 8 Republicans and 3 Democrats.  The state has moved strongly Republican recently.  The BLS unemployment is only 6.9% and the Governor has told Governor Perry of Texas repeatedly that he intends to have the state ranked higher than Texas for its business climate.  In some rankings he has achieved that.  The Tax Foundation ranks Virginia #12 and Texas #13 on business tax favorability.  The military vote is very important in Virginia and Obama has become very unpopular with the military.  The state is #12 in coal production and large amounts of coal are shipped by railroad to its port at Newport News for export.  Only 30% of its electricity is generated by coal and only 3% by renewables.  Its energy costs are the 23rd lowest.  Virginia's population grew by 13.0% from 2000 to 2010 compared to the national growth of 9.7%.  Only 12.2% is 65 or over and 50.9% is female.  The state is 68.6% white, 19.4% black, and 7.9% Hispanic.  Many federal employees live in Northern Virginia.  These demographics would seem very favorable to Obama, but these same demographics produced an very predominantly Republican state government and representation in the House of Representatives.  Blacks will turn out to vote in smaller numbers and federal employees will not see Romney as a threat.  Indeed, they will see him as a relief from many Mickey Mouse policies and Czars that are bugging many of them.  Virginia will vote for Romney in November and it and any other toss-up state is enough to make Romney President.

Wisconsin, 10 votes: The last presidential elections went 56-42, 49-45, 48-48, and 49-39% Democrat to Republican.  Yet, Wisconsin has been part of the sweeping change over the Midwest toward the Republican Party.  The Governor is Republican and the Senate was Republican after the 2010 elections, but the recall of several Republicans succeeded in replacing one of them.  The Senate is now split 16-16.  The Assembly is 59 Republicans to 39 Democrats.  From 2000 to 2010, the population grew by 6.0%.  It is 86.2% white, 6.3% black, and 5.9% Hispanic.  13.7% is 65 or over and 50.4% is female.  The demographics are pretty favorable to Romney.  Coal-powered generating plants produce 63% of the state electricity, with 8% renewable power.  It has the 17th highest cost by state ranking.  Unemployment is 6.8%.  Wisconsin will vote for Romney in November and it and any other toss-up state except New Hampshire is enough for him to become President.

Of these swing states, Florida, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin are presently basically Republican states, with a total of 94 electoral votes.  I believe they will all vote for Romney rather than to continue the failed Obama presidency.  Colorado and Iowa will likely do the same.  So, my prediction on how the 2012 presidential election will turn out is this:

As it turns out, it still looks to me that Romney will get 315 electoral votes and he may even pick up Michigan and Nevada, though I suspect they may be a bit more likely to wind up in the Obama losers column.  Michigan may soon join Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Missouri in the new midwest state alignment with the Republican Party, but perhaps not in time for this election.

17 June 2012

Self-Employment Accounts for All Added Jobs

Yes, all of those new jobs that Obama says he created are due to a large increase in the numbers of the self-employed.  Many of these newly self-employed have become self-employed because they could not find jobs otherwise in the never-ending Great Socialist Recession.  The self-employed have kept Obama from looking like the total job-destroyer he is.  I seriously doubt that many of these newly self-employed believe Obama created their job, though many may think he necessitated their job.

Let us look at the numbers in the working age population, the labor force, and those employed who are covered by unemployment benefits from an important and fascinating article by Mike Shedlock called 100% of U.S. Jobs Added Since 2010 Have Been Self-Employment, Contractor, or Other Jobs Without Unemployment Insurance Benefits.  Note that the self-employed pay unemployment taxes, but are not eligible to collect benefits if their business fails or if they are unable to pay themselves a paycheck.  As Shedlock reported in another article, 23% of the self-employed have gone a full year during this recession without a paycheck.  This is 6.21 million working Americans who have worked a year without pay.  69% of small business owners have loaned their companies their own money to keep their companies going through the recession.

The gap between the labor force, which is those employed plus those known to be seeking employment, and the population has been increasing since the depths of the recession.  The number of employed people who are eligible to draw unemployment benefits if they lose their job is still below the number who were employed and covered at the end of 2008 by 3.2 million people!  Now we need to examine the number of self-employed and contractors who are not covered by unemployment insurance to find out where the jobs come from that Obama is claiming he has created.

The red line is the BLS total employment number by year, while the blue line is the number of employed people covered by unemployment insurance.  Both of these are plotted against the number on the left axis.  The difference between these numbers is the number of uncovered employees, or those without unemployment insurance coverage.  The uncovered employee numbers are on the right axis and plotted in green.  This number is mostly equal to those who are self-employed, though in some states some may be people who are periodically employed with long gaps in their employment.

Since 2009, self-reliant Americans have become self-employed in growing numbers each year.  But covered employees, those working for an employer, decreased from 2009 to 2010 and then again in 2011.  There was finally a small increase in covered employees so far in 2012, though the number is still slightly below the number in 2010!  The important thing to note is that whether we measure the increase in the total number employed from 2009 or from 2010, the entire net increase is due to an increase in the number of self-employed Americans!

Total employment dropped sharply in 2009 and hit its low point in 2010.  The number of self-employed had been slowly dropping since 2005, but dropped sharply in 2009.  Then it rose sharply in 2010 and again smartly in 2011.  It was the self-employed entirely who gave some temporary credence to the false jobs recoveries of 2010 and 2011.  The increase in 2012 has been more modest and was matched for the first time by an increase in the covered employed.

In 2009, the self-employed or uncovered employed were a low 9.1% of the employed.  Now, they are 13.1% of the employed.  Many of these employed are tenuously employed since even in normal times about half of all small business start-ups fail within 5 years.  According to a survey by Citigroup, 54% of small business owners say they have gone without a paycheck to stay in business.  38% say their employees worked overtime without pay.  18% of the small business owners say employees had delayed paychecks.  Life for small businesses can be very tough in decent times, but when the federal government is determined to be anti-business and even promises to put whole industries into bankruptcy while tossing money madly at businesses with no possible market, the life of small businesses can become truly nightmarish.  The withdrawal of wealth from the private sector, whether by taxes, by deficit spending, or by regulatory mandates, is particularly tough on small businesses.

This is the thanks Obama has given to the self-employed who have single-handedly provided him with his only possible rationale for being re-elected.  Obama keeps talking about some 4 million jobs he has created.  Apparently, these jobs are the jobs these 5.91 million newly self-employed Americans really created.  I suspect few of them will vote for Obama.

16 June 2012

The Objectivist Oasis Blog by Maggie Van Aken

Maggie Van Aken is an Objectivist who has left a career as an educator to care for her two daughters and to write.  She recently started a blog called Objectivist Oasis.  She has been a regular reader of my blog and asked me to take a look at her blog.  I read several of her posts and found that she has many good ideas.  I plan to read more of her posts.

An example of a particularly interesting post was
She makes a number of good points in this post.  One of her particularly good points pushed me into thinking about the trade of values that she discusses between teacher and student.  My own formulation of this important idea is given below, and it owes much to her insights:

Education properly requires a number of complex trades. Properly, parents would pay teachers to teach their children, who would also reward teachers by developing their knowledge and critical thinking skills. The government-run schools (note I do not call them public schools because that suggests that the schools serve the People, rather than the government) dilute the control and the investment of parents in the education of their children by transferring their funding role to the electorate and taxpayers at large. The teachers then have a much lessened relationship with the parents of the children they teach. The teacher's responsibility to the parents to teach their children is much reduced and the parents lose control of the education of their child. The child has a responsibility to his parents in a proper education system to make sure that their family money is well-spent, but in the government-run school this responsibility is replaced with a very vague one to the taxpayer, which will mean little to a child and not much more to even most adults.

If the teacher belongs to a union and the union leadership says that they do not care about the education of the child, then some teachers are likely to adopt the same attitude. But it is also true that some teachers will make a genuine effort to teach children and they should be rewarded by students who learn. The students in government-run schools will often learn that "free" education means that they are owed an education and that those who pay for it are not deserving of any gratitude. But, if the payers are not worthy of gratitude, why would the teacher be worthy of gratitude either? The payers do not get anything in return, so why should the able teacher get anything in return? As a result, the government-run schools destroy the entire hierarchy of value exchanges upon which education depends.

13 June 2012

John Galt on Happiness

In the John Galt broadcast speech from Ayn Rand's great novel Atlas Shrugged, he says:

Happiness is the successful state of life, pain is an agent of death.  Happiness is that state of consciousness that proceeds from the achievement of one's values.  A morality that dares to tell you to find happiness in the renunciation of your happiness -- to value the failure of your values -- is an insolent negation of morality.  A doctrine that gives you, as an ideal, the role of a sacrificial animal seeking slaughter on the altars of others, is giving you death as your standard.  By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man -- every man -- is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose.
It is only when we understand that happiness is our personal conscious awareness of the achievement of our own values, that we achieve an ability to manage our lives so that we might be happy.  One has to rationally identify and choose one's own values.  One has to act to achieve them.  The goal-directed thought and action we take to do this becomes a basis for our respect and appreciation for other living beings who do the same.  As we claim our own right to life in this manner, so do we generate a basis for recognizing the right of other rational beings to do the same.  Those we see striving to use their minds to choose values suitable for promoting their survival and providing them the possibility of happiness gain value to us.  We can identify with the effort they make to manage their own lives and we appreciate it.

While each human being is incredibly complex and highly differentiated, we also share a high regard for rationality, purposeful effort, and the self-esteem that comes from success in these endeavors.  We enjoy seeing others in a state of happiness.  In a society of such people, there are innumerable ways to co-operate so that we may each more readily achieve our goals.  By doing so, we make it easier for each of us to achieve a state of happiness.  We do this in a way that minimizes instances in which one of us blocks or interferes with another achieving his goals.  We do this in a way that bans the use of force as a means take the values of others from them.  This society is one in which people trade values for values, each value appraised somewhat differently by the traders in commercial markets, but perhaps valued equivalently in our rich, non-commercial lives.

In contrast, there is the society in which mankind claims that happiness is achieved by selfless acts.  In such a society, each man is separated from the means to achieve his happiness in many ways.  First, it is surely not the case that each and every selfless act will lead to his happiness or to anyone elses happiness.  How can he identify which selfless act will provide anyone's happiness?  For man, the process of identification requires that he use his mind and a successful identification will only occur consistently if he uses his mind rationally.  But the rational use of one's mind is a very personal action.  The process of identifying life-promoting personal values is tough, but how much tougher must this be to try to identify those of numerous others without the ability to even introspect within their minds.  Introspection is a key requirement to identify good values for oneself, but it has little utility for choosing values for others, unless we make the obviously false assumptions that others think very much as we do, have a past history of decisions and choices just like our own, have had the same experiences, and now have the same environment including the same personal relationships with others.

A state of happiness comes from achieving a complex hierarchy of values.  Personal experience and observation of many others tells me that our unachieved values which are our goals are important to us.  They are important to us, even though not achieved, because we have chosen them with recognition of the value we will have when we have achieved them.  Being free to act on our choice itself becomes a great and essential value to us.  But if we cannot identify the hierarchy of values of another complex and highly differentiated individual, how can we know how to act to achieve their happiness?  We do not even have the tools.  We do not have access to the valuing mechanism.

The closest thing to a practical answer seems to be that the other person will tell us what he values and then it will be our responsibility to provide those values to him.  This clearly puts me in a position of slavery to the value demander.  Perhaps it is mutual slavery, since he is required to provide me with my values, if there is any equity in this system at all.  But, if this is the best this system aims to achieve, then why is this better than me pursuing my values and consequent happiness and he pursuing his?

Apparently, throwing more people into the society, each with his or her own set of demands that others will provide them with the requirements for their happiness changes everything.  But, this is ridiculous, even if each of us knew the entire hierarchy of values of every other person and were able to do our pro-rated share to see that each received his list of values.  The result could be no better than if each person pursued his own happiness without initiating the use of force against others.  In reality, the situation is much worse than this.  We each could spend a lifetime just trying to learn what the value hierarchy of each of a relatively small number of people was and then other lifetimes trying to figure out how to divide the effort among us to see that we each did our share to provide the others with their values when they needed or wanted them.

Advocating selfless action as the means to provide oneself or others with happiness is perfect nonsense.  The problem of knowledge of each of our hierarchies of values and of assigning the effort to produce values for others is usually turned over to a government.  That government, to the extent it even tries to do the job, deals with the problem by greatly over-simplifying it.  Lowest common denominator values are chosen by and delivered by some gross political mechanism.  Government adds its inefficiency and its ignorance to the process.  Every effort is botched.  The government becomes huge in the process.  The politicians managing the government lose control of it.  Special interests learn to take advantage of the unwieldy mechanism to find ways to inference and control those parts of the apparatus that will allow them to take advantage of the People.

This result is inevitable.  There is no fix, except that of removing the government from the effort to provide the People with the values they want, with the exception of the value to be free to chose their own values and to manage their own lives.  This is the limited government provided by our Constitution.  This is the legitimate government dedicated only to protecting our equal, sovereign right to life, liberty, property, the ownership of our own minds, bodies, and labor, and the pursuit of our happiness.

Now this is not to say that doing something to provide someone else with a value they want is wrong.  Within each of our self-chosen hierarchy of values will generally be the values we wish to give to those who have value to us.  In recognition of the value that a lover or a friend may have, I may find that giving them a value I have earned is well worth the smile they may give me in return.  Or, it may be a return of an act of generosity on their part.  I may also be happy to give a value to someone I believe to be a deserving person, though I may not have much of a personal relationship with them.  I may choose to do this because it may pain me to see a person I presume or know to be good suffering.  But, in all this, if it is going to contribute to my happiness to act to help make another person happy, it is important that I am acting on my choice and my judgment.  The values I trade or give to others must have the proper position in my personal hierarchy of values, as must the other person.

06 June 2012

President, VP and Their Wives Absolutely Dependent on Government

Joe Biden claims that he and the President would have had no chance but for government assistance.  The same was true for their wives, each of whom is smarter than her husband, according to Joe.  He may be right about that one.

Government assistance is not for the poor or the handicapped alone in this new Democrat Socialist dogma.  It is not for only badly abused minorities.  No, it is for the entire middle class as well.  Indeed, the myth they are trying to establish is that it is for everyone, except the 1%ers.  Of course they wish us not to notice that the middle class is paying a big price in unemployment and a loss of improvement in our standard of living.  They want us to fail to notice that a good fraction of the 1%ers have been the beneficiaries of crony mercantilism as well.

Go see Biden and his comments that everyone is a dependent on government here.  What could promote big government better than propagating the belief that we are all helped by government?  As a small business owner and a forever freedom-loving American, it sure is obvious to me that Biden and Obama have mighty mushy brains.  Who in their right minds chooses dependency to a government over the self-management of one's own life?  Why can they not see that dependency is slavery?

Wait?  Are not Joe and Bar-ick (the phonetic pronunciation according to Barack Sr.) 1%ers?  Well of course they are.  Apparently, government made them 1%ers in its great wisdom.

May is the 5th Month of 2012 Showing No Employment Recovery

Once again, a rational evaluation of the employment situation adding the Bureau of Labor Statistics data for May to those of each earlier month this year shows that no employment recovery has or is occurring.  The January, February, and March employment numbers were not as good as the media made them out to be.  The April and May numbers are not as bad as the media has made them out to be.  Yet, the overall picture is that no recovery has occurred in the more than two years going back to the beginning of 2010.  Here are the unadjusted numbers of the household survey:

The number of employed persons increased by 732,000 in May compared to April.  The civilian working age population grew by 212,000 and the number actively looking for work in ways visible to the government increased by 361,000.  The new lookers greatly exceeded the increase in those of employable age.  But May is usually a month in which many more people are hired, so seasonally adjusted data makes the increase in the number employed look puny for this month.  But because many more people started looking for work since April, the raw unemployment percentage increased from 7.74% to 7.92%.  The percentage of people employed went up slightly, as did the percentage of people in the workforce.  Both numbers are low, however.

When we calculate how many jobs would be needed in order to have the same percentage of people in the workforce as we did in January 2000, we find that we are missing 21,251,000 jobs in May 2012, which is down by 233,000 jobs compared to May 2011, but up by 460,000 missing jobs compared to May 2010.  The percentage of missing jobs in May 2012 was 12.96%, compared to 13.30% in May 2011 and 12.97% in May 2010.  Thus, comparing the month of May in 2012 with May in 2011 and 2010, there is essentially no change.  This is the same result we have seen this year for each month January through May.  Not a single month has shown improvement over the last two years.  The graph below will allow you to compare each of these months with earlier months during and before this recession.  It is clear that for the third year in a row, the claims of a jobs recovery have proven false.

There are other problems revealed in the BLS numbers for May as well. The average workweek for all non-farm private employees fell by 0.1 hour to a mere 34.4 hours in May.  There are many part-time workers.  The BLS says there are 8.1 million people who are working part-time, but want to work full-time.  The number of long-term unemployed increased from 5.1 million to 5.4 million in May.  They have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more.  Teenage unemployment is 24.6%, black unemployment is 13.6%, and Hispanic unemployment is 11.0%.  The Obama economy is definitely not working for them.

So, despite all of the bailouts, the huge deficit spending, the trillions of dollars printed by the Federal Reserve, and the billions handed to green energy companies, Obama's promised jobs recovery is still a mythical vapor.  But, we do have something to show for his efforts:
  • Federal revenues are down by an average of $264.5 billion a year since 2007.
  • Federal spending is up by an average of $875 billion a year since 2007.
  • The interest payments on the federal debt now take 20% of federal revenues and payments are likely to skyrocket down the road as interest rates rise from historic lows.
  • We face the trial of the beginning of the Baby Boomer retirements with almost every economic indicator against us.  This of all times is when we need to have the economy booming.
  • The GDP grew by only 1.8% in all of 2011 and by only 1.9% in the first quarter of 2012.  Per capita growth rates are about 1% less than those numbers and there are many reasons to believe that the government is not making large enough corrections for price increases due to a weakened dollar.

04 June 2012

Obama and his Advisers Have a History Problem

It is always dangerous when our country's top political leader is a man with a profound lack of knowledge of history.  It is very difficult for a leader to exercise wise judgment when his judgment is not informed by knowledge of the past.  It is also helpful if a President knows such things as how Americans earn a living and basic American geography, such as how many states there are.

We have an usurping President, who would be King, who early on informed us that we have 57 states, seven of which only he in his unique universe knows anything about.  Given that the federal government provides for the defense of the states and is to prevent these states from interfering with interstate commerce, it is rather important that the President should be aware of how many states there are and as much about the people in them and how they make a living as possible.  It does not bode well when a presidential candidate thinks that the states are synonymous with the number of Heinz brands.  No, Mr. President, we did not admit states to the union until they just matched the number of brands that made John Kerry's wife a rich woman.  [The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and five U.S. territories mean there are 50 states and 7 other territorial entities.  Apparently Obama had been told that 57 entities sent delegates to the Democratic National Convention and he needed to win the votes of enough of them to win the Democrat Party nomination.  Somewhere along the line, he probably became confused.]

We come to a dilemma.  When Obama claims to be a jobs-creating President, is he just ignorant of how many coal miners, railroad workers, port workers, and power plant workers he has put out of jobs and is about to put out of jobs with his insane anti-coal policies mostly implemented by his out-of-control EPA?  Is it the case that he has no concept of how many families he is throwing into poverty because he does not know what coal production means for families trying to earn a living in America?  Similarly for the impact of preventing the development of new oil and gas fields on federal lands and off-shore.  Is he wicked and evil or is he just incredibly ignorant?  I admit to going back and forth on this.

His comment this last week about the "Polish Death Camps" sways me once again in the direction of mind-boggling ignorance.  The death camps his teleprompter called Polish Death Camps were Polish only in that they were primarily on Polish soil for the purpose of killing Polish people.  The Poles were slaughtered by the Nazis who killed about 3 million Polish Jews and about 3 million Polish Catholics.  Poland was prime land for the expansion of the German people eastward under Hitler's leadership.  This was Hitler's long held dream.  While he hated the Jews, he had nothing but contempt for the Slavs who were in his way.  As a result of the Nazis and the Communists of the USSR, Poland was devastated and did not recover its pre-war population until the 1970s.  The Polish people did more than any other Eastern European nation to finally make the dominion of the USSR over Eastern Europe impossible.  Yet, Obama, apparently with help from his speech writers, callously called these Nazi death camps, Polish death camps.  The Poles were outraged and Obama refused to acknowledge himself that he should never have described the Nazi death camps as Polish death camps.

This ignorant man is not one who should be in charge of the defense and foreign policy of the United States of America.  This is especially the case since he combines this ignorance with a wrongheaded allegiance to socialism.  Perhaps the fact that the Poles have chosen to walk away from socialism is part of the reason he would not apologize to them.  Poland is one of the few European countries that has a reasonable growth rate.  It is a clear example of how much socialism cripples a country and it has created a very graphic picture of why Capitalism is superior to socialism.  This is not a picture that Obama wants Americans to examine.