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

29 September 2012

Obama: Women, I will give you $18,000 of birth control to vote for me.

Obama is implying that ObamaCare will provide young women with $18,000 of birth control pills and since Romney wants to repeal ObamaCare, women should vote for him.  Here is the link to his Obama-Biden election site page with the bribe.

The government most certainly has no constitutional power authorizing it to be the supplier of birth control.  For it to do so also creates a clear freedom of conscience or freedom of religion violation.  Now, I have no objection at all to women using birth control, but this is not a cost that should be transferred to the general taxpayer.

It is also quite dishonest of Obama to imply that the value of this ObamaCare service is $18,000.  A woman on birth control from age 15 to age 50 would in many locales be able to procure generic birth control pills for as little as $9 a month.  Almost anywhere in the US the cost can be less than $20/month.  This makes the lifetime cost wind up in the range from $3,800 to $8,400.  To be sure, one can spend more like $90 a month on some of the newer types of birth control pills, but any effort on the part of ObamaCare to control costs would seem unlikely to provide that option to many women.  But, if you are going to offer a bribe for a vote, you might as well try to inflate its value.

28 September 2012

Obama: The American Government Respects All Religions

In his United Nations speech a few days ago, Obama said that the American government respected all religions.  Apparently, Obama has had a team of moral, theological, and epistemological experts evaluating the many religions in the world and they have decided that all of these religions are worthy of respect.  Or has he had this evaluation made?  Perhaps the only evaluation made was his own.  If he has had it made, under what power granted to the government under the Constitution did he have this evaluation made?

Was this issue put before the American people for a vote?  NO.  But if it had been put up for a vote and the majority had confirmed that it was their opinion that every religion was worthy of respect, what could be the result?  Government decrees that therefore every American shall respect every religion will surely not result in every American actually respecting every religion.  The only acts the government might take to enforce such a decree would be to suppress our freedoms of speech and press as protected in the First Amendment to the Constitution and to ignore all murders and other acts of violence or threats of violence issued in the name of a religion by whoever claimed religious freedom protection.

Obama's statement is nonsense, of course.  First, it is not at all true that every religion is worthy of respect.  I would argue that none are actually worthy of respect.  Many others believe their own is worthy of respect, but none or few others are.  Even very generous individuals toward the claims of the benefits of religion are likely to see some religions, which can be very inimical to living humans on Earth, as unworthy of respect.  In my own opinion, Islam is one religion with particularly few redeeming qualities and there are still worse religions out there.

No, the American government does not respect all religions.  What it does do is allow individual freedom of conscience, to include religious freedom.  To allow individuals their freedoms and their right to exercise the judgments of their own mind and conscience is not to actually approve of or respect their judgments.

It is critical to understand this.  If we do not understand it, then when we judge someone else' judgment to be bad, we have a tendency to want to interfere with their freedom to act on their judgment.  For instance, Mayor Bloomberg does not approve of super-sized soda drinks and wants them outlawed.  By right, he is free to be of the opinion that super-sized sodas are bad, but what he does not have the right to do is to outlaw them.  While the super-sized soda issue is obvious to many Americans, we do as a democratic mass of voters have a tendency toward outlawing many actions we do not like, simply because we would not do them personally or because we are ashamed that we do them.  Sometimes we outlaw acts which if done by most people might cause some problems, but which are actually done by few and cause no real problems at all.  For instance, it would harm the Republic if everyone became a physicist and therefore no one became a farmer.  Strangely, we never worry that everyone will become a physicist, but we do apparently worry that everyone will become gay.

Laws and the actions of government generally need to be based upon sound principles of governance, not just any conforming interests of a large bloc of voters.  The one legitimate function of government, as rightly stated in our Declaration of Independence, is the protection of individual rights.  When the American government announces that it respects all religions, it is violating the rights of Americans to decide for themselves what they think of religions.  There is no way in which the pronouncement that the American government respects all religions is a requirement of its protection of individual religious freedom.  Indeed, it is actually a violation of our religious freedom, which includes our being personally free to accept or reject whatever religious notions we want.  Our government should have no opinion of the various religions, except insofar as it must to protect the right-based freedoms of individuals.

What then does constitute a case in which the American government must form an opinion about a religion?  When people acting upon a religious idea initiate the use of force upon others and prevent others from exercising their sovereign individual rights, then legitimate government has to step in and provide the protection of individual rights which it is its function to do.  The only protected religious beliefs are those which do not result in followers using force to violate the rights of others.  Freedom of conscience is a most fundamental and critical right.  Government should take action against a religious group or a religion only when their violations of the rights of others are well-demonstrated and clearly cause substantial harm.  Yet, there are cases when government in proper fulfillment of its function must act against a religion or some subset of its adherents.

One major religion in recent times has had many believers who assert a right in the name of Allah to use force to strip non-believers of many of their individual rights.  I do not believe that every or even most believers in Islam should be treated as violators of the rights of others, but it is very clear that numerous believers in Islam are such rights violators.  Some are strong proponents even of death to non-believers.

This is a fact which the American government must recognize if it is to fulfill its legitimate function as the protector of the individual rights of Americans.  While it is not the case that the American government should disrespect Islam, it is the case that it should disrespect those branches of Islam and those groups within it who advocate the use of force to restrict and violate the rights of non-believers.  It is interesting that the non-believers whose rights are most commonly violated are people who themselves believe they are believers in Islam.  There are branches of Islam which are not worthy of respect from this limited perspective of legitimate government.

So, in summary, the American government does not have the power to make a judgment that all religions are worthy of respect.  The judgment that all religions are worthy of respect is itself ludicrous.  If it made such a judgment, it would not be able to carry out its legitimate function of protecting the rights of Americans.  In fact, it would be violating the very freedom of conscience, of which religious freedom is a subset, which it must protect.  Such a judgment belongs only to individuals, not to our government.  But, as usually is the case, Obama believes we must all have a collective judgment and that judgment will be rendered by big government, preferably with the Great Socialist Leader making the call.

It is apparently not a long-standing principle of the Democrat Party that all religions are respected.  Under the previous Democrat President, Bill Clinton, many Americans believed that the religious freedom of the Branch Davidians was violated.  I wonder what Obama had to say about that back then or whether he is now prepared to criticize Bill Clinton for the massacre at Waco.  Or, we might examine Obama's claim in light of his lack of respect for normal religious freedom when a Catholic-owned company or institution other than a church deems it a violation of their beliefs when they are forced to provide health insurance to employees that covers the cost of birth control or abortions.  Apparently, Obama just thinks it sounds rhetorically good to be claiming to respect all religions.

26 September 2012

Obama Transforms Health Insurance Costs by Skyrocketing Them

It is not only the costs of gasoline and the use of coal to generate electricity that Obama is determined to launch through the roof.  No, that many times promised $2500 reduction in family health insurance has already been replaced with a $3065 per year increase so far in 2012.  Much worse is yet to come in 2014 when many more provisions of ObamaCare, more appropriately designated ObamaUncaringTax after the Supreme Court decision, take a death grip upon our throats.  According to the Kaiser Family Foundation and as reported by John Merline of Investor's Business Daily, the damage so far is seen in this graph:

Yes, take a careful look at that $5,565 difference in cost for family health insurance compared to what Obama promised in 2008.  Family health insurance now costs 55% more than what he promised it would cost.  Do you suppose that even enough Democrat Senators could have been persuaded to vote for ObamaUncaringTax had this been public information at the time that monster, unread, unconstitutional, misrepresented bill was passed?

Given the 8.2% decrease in median household income since January 2009, this 55% increase already in health insurance premium cost has been incredibly hard on American families.  Well, of course most Americans did not actually believe Obama claims of cost reductions.  Only the very, very gullible believed that.  So, not many of us actually see the increase as one of 55%, but we all see it as being at least the $15,745/($10,180 + $2,500) = 1.242 times cost relative to 2008 costs.  This is still a hefty 24.2% increase in costs.

For all the commotion about controlling health insurance costs under Obama, those costs rose more under Obama in less than four years than they did in the last four years under Bush.  Since ObamaCare was passed in March 2010, costs went up 9.5% in 2011 and another 4.5% as of August of 2012.  These increases are partly due to covering children into their adult years on their parent's policies, the ban on lifetime coverage limits, 100% coverage for preventive care, and severe restrictions on administrative cost percentages which actually require insurance companies to spend more on payments so they can achieve the 85% payouts relative to fixed costs of operation.  Yes, they actually have to find ways to spend more on medical costs, rather than controlling them.

Many more cost increases lie ahead.  The government central planners will be announcing their required additional benefit requirements.  Experience with state benefit requirements shows that they inevitably add requirements over time and costs go up.  The Council for Affordable Health Insurance has documented 2,200 state insurance mandates and estimates that they have raised the insurance costs in the states from a low of about 10% in the less mandating states to a high of 50% in the more mandate-happy states.

Eight states have implemented an end to pre-existing condition requirements and guaranteed issuance of insurance to anyone wanting it.  ObamaCare pretends that the insurance purchase mandate will prevent this, but it is fully expected that many people will pay the lower penalty, really tax according to the erroneous Supreme Court, and only purchase the ever more expensive required insurance when they are quite sick.  This will result in dramatic cost increases for those who do buy health insurance, as has been seen in the eight states with guaranteed issuance.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates that ObamaCare will drive health insurance premiums up between 10 and 13% in 2016.  With costs such as that, businesses will have to stop offering their employees health insurance.  The many millions of self-employed will largely be unable to afford it.  My expectation is that if ObamaCare is not repealed, we will soon have a much higher fraction of uninsured Americans than we did prior to ObamaCare.

Of course, this will put pressure on the government to expand the subsidies to many more people and that will make the already unsustainable ObamaCare and Medicaid programs ever more unstable and unsustainable.  No doubt many will then come forward eagerly with a claim that a single-payer nationalized health care system is the answer.  We will then totally be owned by the government, body and soul.  Of course, ObamaCare does not leave us much self-ownership in itself.

23 September 2012

Obama: I will go through the budget line by line

Do you recall when Obama said he would go through the budget line by line and cut wasteful programs?  Do we call this a failed promise?

On the one hand, perhaps he could not keep this promise because his Democrat Senate has never produced the budget they are required by law to produce.  Not one single budget in the entire Obama presidency has ever emerged from the Democrat Senate.

On the other hand, what kind of President cannot show even enough leadership to get the Senate well-controlled by his own party to produce a budget as required by law.  Recall that the President is supposed to execute the laws, which among other things means he should surely be putting unrelenting pressure on the Senate to produce a budget.  Besides, he should be eager to keep his promise to go through that budget line by line to eliminate wasteful spending.  But not this man.  He is more a celebrity than a leader.

22 September 2012

The Disappearance of the Arctic Ice Coverage

We are hearing many claims that the arctic ice has melted, retreated to historic low coverage, and that this is due to global warming.  Actually the big drivers of arctic ice coverage are usually wind and sometimes precipitation.  The main reason for the present low arctic ice coverage is an August cyclone that broke up the arctic ice coverage.  See the NASA video of the cyclone winds here.

Meanwhile, and little remarked, the ice coverage in Antarctica is near a record high.  At Real Science it is noted that:
Day 256 Antarctic ice is the highest ever for the date, and the eighth highest daily reading ever recorded. All seven higher readings occurred during the third week of September, 2007 – the week of the previous Arctic record minimum.
 See the Day 256 Antarctic ice coverage data below:

There is no evidence here for the often claimed global warming.  Perhaps we can find some evidence by looking at sea level data.  Well, here is the NOAA sea level data, which you must remember is the result of the sea level and the level of the land.  Just as the sea level may actually rise or fall, so does the land at these various coastal areas.  If you adjust the world map to examine North America and Europe, you will see that mostly the sea level is rising in the 0 to 3 mm/yr range indicated by upward green arrows.  In these areas, the land is relatively static and this is indicative of the range in which the real sea level rise is to be found.  But, you will observe that the Mississippi delta is sinking, as is the Texas coast at a more moderate rate.  Similarly to the Texas coast sinking, there is sinking land in South Carolina and in the Chesapeake and Delaware Bay areas.  On the other hand, there is rising land on the Canadian and Alaskan Pacific coasts and in parts of the St. Lawrence River area.  In Europe, most of Norway, Sweden, and Finland have rising land.  There are a few areas in the Aegean Sea that are sinking, but most of Europe has a sea level rise in the 0 to 3 mm/year range.

So, even at the top of this range, 100 years of rising at 3 mm/year is 0.3 meters, which is at the bottom end of the range of the 2007 4th IPCC report prediction for the next 100 years.  The NOAA data actually looks more consistent with a rate of 0.15 meters over the next 100 years, but even that may be too high given the indications of an on-coming global cooling.  Given that through most of the last 10,000 years sea level has been rising, though land levels in many areas have also as the weight of glaciers was removed from the land, there is no looming catastrophe here.

Scott Rasmussen on the GOP

There is a very important difference between the GOP and the Democrat Socialist Party which Scott Rasmussen understands.  He notes that this difference is obscured by the politicians:
Establishment Republicans in Washington broadly share the Democrats' view that the government should manage the economy. They may favor a somewhat more pro-business set of policies than their Democratic colleagues, but they still act as if government policy is the starting point for all economic activity.
He observed that Democrat Party members are comfortable with the idea that Washington is the "starting point for all economic activity."  However, the membership of the Republican Party thinks very differently and therefore believes that its Washington leadership is wrongheaded with its comfort in control of the economy by Washington.  He says:
The GOP base sees government as a burden that weighs the private sector down rather than a tool that can generate growth if used properly. Ninety-six percent of Republican voters believe that the best thing the government can do to help the economy is to cut spending and free up more money for the private sector.
To the degree that Romney's plan for economic recovery involves the government getting off the back of businessmen, with lower taxes, fewer regulations, and more opportunities to develop our resources, the Democrats and the media mostly complain that this is no plan at all.  For them, all economic planning must involve a government action managed intimately by a horde of central planners.

But, 96% of Republicans understand that business and economic activity are very capable of taking care of themselves in the private sector, if only the government will get off of their backs and allow them to earn a living and hire Americans.  Unfortunately for the Republic and for Republicans, Romney seems to understand this, but is largely unwilling to state it clearly for fear of leaving the comfort zone with the Republican Establishment, Washington politicians, and the media.  If Romney loses this election or just squeaks in as the next President, it will be because he failed to state emphatically enough what most Republican Party members understand.  Government is the Problem.

17 Countries Now Have More Economic Freedom than the USA

The Economic Freedom of the World: 2012 Annual Report published by the Fraser Institute measured the economic freedom of countries using the data of 2010.  The principal authors of the report are James Gwartney of  Florida State University, Robert Lawson of Southern Methodist University, and Joshua Hall of Beloit College with contributions from eight other academics.

The economic freedom evaluation of the USA continued its nearly monotonic decline since the year 2000.  In 2000 we had a rating of 8.65 on a scale of 10.00, but we have sunk to a rating of 7.70 now.  Since the year 2000, the rest of the world has seen a small increase in rating from 6.71 to 6.83.  In 2010, our 8.65 rating of the year 2000 would have made the USA a close third to Singapore, with Hong Kong number one.  But in our state of degradation as of 2010, the USA is now disgracefully 18th in the world in economic freedom.  When the evaluation is made for 2012, we will find that we have slid much further down the list.

Here is what the world looks like color coded by quartile in economic freedom:

You can see why Mexicans have been coming across the border illegally to work in the USA from this map.  I was not surprised to see Venezuela and maybe even Argentina in the least free quartile, but I was surprised to see India there.

Here are the ratings and the rankings of the upper two quartiles:

These economic freedom ratings are made based on the following criteria with the individual USA ratings and rankings following each:

1) Size of government (6.43, 73rd, our worst major category ranking)

2) Legal system and property rights (7.14, 28th)

3) Sound money (9.68, 7th)

4) Freedom to trade internationally (7.46, 57th)

5) Regulation (7.76, 31st)

Regulation is further broken down into the following subcategories:

a) Credit market regulations (6.95, 121st, our worst regulatory ranking)

b) Labor market regulations (9.06, 3rd)

c) Business regulations (7.26, 30th)

If we evaluate which areas of economic freedom are most pulling our ranking down in order, they are:

Size of government, 73rd
Freedom to trade internationally, 57th
Regulation, 31st
Legal system and property rights, 28th

in which areas our ranking was worse than our overall ranking. Note that our size of government ranking of 73rd puts us at the top of the list of nations in the third quartile.  That is in the lower half of the 144 nations evaluated.  Does that hurt your pride?  It should.  It should be excruciating pain.  Personally, I find each of these rankings to be disgraceful and a source of great anger.

Our economic freedoms are as basic as any other freedoms.  To sustain our lives, we need to be free to earn a living.  We also need to be free to enjoy earning our living without having burdens constantly loaded on our backs such as heavy taxes and unnecessary regulations and paperwork requirements.  The American businessman sees his business drained by excessive taxes, is forced to be an unpaid tax collector, is forced to divulge much too much private information, is forced to assume responsibilities and risks that are properly either those of his employees or his customers, is kept from doing things according to his own judgment by laws that are often irrational, and is forced to comply with unintelligible and excessively voluminous rules and regulations.

The American businessman is treated like a slave of the state and generally forced into being a criminal by laws and regulations he cannot even read, cannot understand, and in many cases could not abide by if he understood them.  This is exactly what a great many politicians want.  They want to extort tax money, favors, and campaign contributions at will from businessmen.  They use the overly complex and voluminous law and the threat of still more laws and regulations to make most businessmen cower before them.

There are very practical consequences for our economy.  As our economic freedoms are lost, our ability to grow our real per capita GDP decreases.  See the graph I have prepared from World Bank data for the years from 1980 to 2011:

Note that the post-2000 performance is clearly much worse than that of 2000 and earlier.  A loss of economic freedom is a loss of opportunity and an increase in uncertainty.  With less opportunity and more uncertainty, fewer people will start start-up companies and fewer people will be hired by such companies:

George W. Bush grew government and added many regulations, but Obama has grown government even more and added slightly more regulations and many more very expensive regulations.  With many more regulations awaiting a second term and hopes for many tax increases, Obama intends to further degrade our economic freedoms in the name of redistribution and a wrongheaded claim that catastrophic man-made global warming will result if he does not drastically cut our fossil fuel energy use.  If he is re-elected, he will attempt to greatly further decrease our economic freedoms.

15 September 2012

Family Destruction by Zoning Law

Alexander Cohen of the Business Rights Center of the Atlas Society tells the story of a young man in Michigan who set up a business to support his sick mother and step-father.  He received the necessary permit for his street hot dog vender operation at the location he was to operate from only to have his business shutdown immediately because he was said to be in violation of a zoning law.  The zoning law was a crony protection scheme for restaurants in the zone which violates the right of the young man to earn a living and of the actual property owner who had allowed him the use of his land.  The result of the city shutting down his business is that both he and his mother are now homeless and his step-father cannot join them in a shelter because medication he needs is not allowed there.

Malevolent, rights-violating laws cause real harm to our fellow man.  Crony mercantilism is a serious problem.

11 September 2012

Examining the 11 September Washington Post/ABC Poll

The Washington Post/ABC presidential poll of 11 September 2012 says that Obama leads Romney by 50% to 44% among registered voters and by 49% to 48% among likely voters.  This is not really the correct result of this poll.  In their poll, the respondents broke down by party affiliation as follows:

Democrats, 33%
Republican, 23%
Independent, 37%
Other, 4%
Don't Know, 3%

So the poll result among registered voters is that for which Democrat affiliation exceeds Republican affiliation by 10%!  According to a Rasmussen Report of polling in August 2012, the breakdown by party affiliation is actually:

Democrats, 33.3%
Republican, 37.6%
Other, 29.2%

The Republicans have a 4.3% advantage in party affiliation, not the 10% disadvantage of the WP/ABC poll.  Consequently, the poll claim that Obama leads Romney by 50% to 44% among registered voters is nonsense.  Let us assume that we can at least use the poll results for the percentage of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents who will vote for either Obama or Romney and recalculate the results with a proper weighting by party affiliation.  The poll says that:

Democrats will vote 91% for Obama and 5% for Romney.
Republicans will vote 6% for Obama and 89% for Romney.
Independents will vote 46% for Obama and 48% for Romney.

Now, I have a suspicion that just as the poll over-samples both Democrats and Independents, it also over-samples middle roader Republicans, given the higher vote percentage among Democrats for Obama than Romney gets among Republicans.  But, let us use these percentages anyway and combine them with the Rasmussen party affiliation results.  In addition, let us assume that among the Rasmussen others, about 4% are going to vote for the Libertarian, Green, Socialist Workers, or whatever other micro-party candidates are running.  I am taking the Independents to be 25.1% of the voters.  The registered voter result is then:

Obama:  (0.91)(33.3%) + (0.06)(37.6%) + (0.46)(25.1%) = 44.1%

Romney:   (0.05)(33.3%) + (0.89)(37.6%) + (0.48)(25.1%) = 47.2%

Thus by declared party affiliation, Romney leads Obama by 47.2% to 44.1%.  This is a Romney advantage of 3.1%.  When the WP/ABC poll made likely voter corrections, the big change was due to their assumption that Romney's advantage among Independent voters would increase from 2% to 11%.  Applying their expected likely voter percentages to the party affiliation percentages of Rasmussen, one gets the likely voter result:

Obama:    (0.94)(33.3%) + (0.06)(37.6%) + (0.43)(25.1%) = 44.4%

Romney:   (0.05)(33.3%) + (0.91)(37.6%) + (0.54)(25.1%) = 49.4%

So the likely voter advantage for Romney over Obama is 5.0%!  Now, I am not highly confident in the adjustments the WP/ABC poll makes for likely voters, but the Romney advantage in registered voter results of 3.1% will likely grow at the polls due to the likely higher turn-out of Republicans and those Independents favoring Romney.

Of course, if Romney does win the popular vote by 5%, it is extremely unlikely that he will not also win the electoral vote.

10 September 2012

Dr. Bellar: A Succinct, Humorous Explanation of ObamaCare Folly

Dr. Barbara Bellar, a Candidate for Illinois State Senate, summed up in one sentence much of the sheer folly of the Obamacare operation.  Of course, we now know from the Supreme Court decision that the Unaffordable Care Act is better called the ObamaUncaringTax.  Dr. Bellar is not only succinct, but also quite the comedienne.  Please take the time to enjoy her video:

Obama Still Killing Jobs, Atlas is not Hiring

The employment statistics released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for August 2012 show that Obama is still killing jobs and causing Americans to lose hope and drop out of the labor force.  The household survey employment statistics without seasonal adjustments with comparisons to various months going back to January 2000 are shown in the following table:

As usual, the number of missing jobs is calculated assuming that as many people now would want jobs as did in January 2000, when good jobs were plentiful, if government policies were not reducing employment.  The population of 16 and older non-institutionalized people grew by 212,000 people in August.  It is expected that 67.49% of these new potential workers would want jobs if good jobs were available.  This means to keep up with the population growth, 143,079 new jobs needed to be added in August compared to July.  Instead, 568,000 fewer people were employed in August.  This is a disaster, yet the normal unemployment rate went down!  As I have pointed out over the last two and a half years, this number is virtually meaningless when the jobs situation has long been awful.  What we should do to look for any possible progress in creating jobs is compare the same month employment and better yet missing jobs numbers for the same month a year ago and two years ago, since these numbers are not seasonally adjusted.  Much like the unemployment percentage, long recessions/depressions cause the seasonal adjustments to become dubious.  The missing jobs numbers are plotted below.

We find that in August 2012, there are 270,000 more missing jobs now than there were one year ago in August 2011.  Comparing to August 2010, the missing jobs number has increased even more to 1,050,000 more missing jobs.  According to Obama and Biden this is turning the corner on job creation.  Strangely, they portray this as a good thing justifying their being re-elected.  I suspect they live in an alternative universe in which everything bad is thought to be good.  That would explain why they are such committed socialists.

So, the Obama/Democrat jobs policies increased the actual number of missing jobs by more than 1 million over the last two years of what they call jobs recovery.  The real unemployment rate is 13.3%, rather than the misleading 8.1% they are claiming.  They love to claim that they have created jobs every month for many months, but do not point out that with a growing population, jobs have to be created simply to tread water.  As we see in comparing the new August data with the prior two year August data sets, they are not treading water, but drowning.

In August 2011, white people had an unemployment rate of 7.9%, which has now dropped to 7.2%.  But, this is because the labor force participation rate for whites fell from 64.8% to 64.0%, not because relatively more whites are employed.  The Hispanic labor force participation rate is higher than that for whites and fell by less from August 2011 to August 2012, from 66.7% to 66.1%.  Their unemployment rate fell from 11.1% to 10.1%, again substantially because the participation rate fell.  Black unemployment fell in the year from 17.0% to 14.5% and their low participation rate fell the least from 62.0% to 61.7%.  Blacks are the only group that is better off now than they were in August 2011, though their unemployment rates are still much the higher compared to those of Hispanics and whites.

The following employment to population ratio chart is another way to see the essential stagnation of the jobs recovery over the last couple of years despite the claims by this most deception administration of a jobs recovery.  This shows that this ratio has been flat at a very low rate since at least October of 2009.  The otherworldly claims of a job recovery by the Obama administration are completely and utterly false and maliciously misleading.  We see that the recession led to a decrease in the jobs to population ratio which continued until mid-2003, followed by a slow and partial recovery that ended at the start of 2007.  The government fueled and even required sub-prime mortgage collapse was finally arrested about October 2009, but there has been jobs stagnation since.  We are now very close to a three-year period of jobs stagnation under Obama on the heels of a deep recession.

This is hardly surprising given Obama's determined efforts to make business less profitable and more risky, not to mention his efforts to make businessmen look dishonorable.  Well, businessmen decided they would not take this nonsense and they have been on a serious slowdown strike since.  Atlas has at least removed the weighty world from his shoulders and ceased to carry it up the hill of progress.  Atlas has Shrugged, even if he was too responsible to simply drop the world.   For now, he is biding his time in hopes that Obama will be given his walking papers in the November election.  If Obama is removed, Atlas will put the world back on his shoulder and move our economy forward again, as the American Atlas has for decades and even centuries.  If Obama is re-elected, stagnation will continue and our economy will soon be unable to support the growing weight of Medicare, Medicaid, ObamaUncaringTax, Social Security, and the payment of interest on the debt.  Big government will be doomed to collapse.

07 September 2012

Democrat Party -- The Party of the Welcoming Big Pre-Tents

Jon Stewart and his crew at the Daily Show actually did some interesting journalism while at the Democratic National Convention (DNC).  See the segment he did on Tolerance here.  DNC delegates and attendees were interviewed and each said that the Democratic Party was the party of the big tent with room for everyone, until they were asked for exceptions.

One young white man at the DNC says that everyone is welcome, "Except unless you own a corporation, or if you’re a hunter, a gun owner, white males."  Yes, though he seemed to feel at home in the Party, he actually excluded white males, with no exceptions.

So let us examine how many Americans are unwelcome in the Democrat Party by his prescription:

  • Corporation Owners:  Corporations are owned by their shareholders.  How many Americans own shares in corporations?  A study in 2005 reported that about half of all American households owned stock due to the growth of 401(k) retirement plans.  This is about 57 million households in America.  Of course, many university endowments and union pension funds are also heavily invested in stocks, so university faculty and staff and union members are all very dependent upon the institution they belong to making money on their stock ownership.  In addition, many churches have investments in stock, as do many charitable foundations.  Now even if we exclude all those who are dependent in some way on stock ownership and only count those who actually own a stock or an investment vehicle that owns a stock, the young man has excluded at least half of all Americans, including many millions of women.  In truth, he has just expressed a desire to ex-communicate many millions of women who actually are Democrats.
  • Hunters and Gun Owners:  It is estimated that about 52 million households in America have at least one gun.  Gallup reported a poll in October 2011 that found that 47% of American households had a gun on their property.  55% of Republican households had a gun according to this poll, while a sharp recent increase brought the percentage of Democrat households with guns up to 40%.  The young man wants again to make many Democrats unwelcome in his party.  There may be additional bow hunters or trappers who do not own a gun, who are excluded, but I am sure the number is relatively small.
  • White Males:  This is a small minority of voting eligible Americans.  According to the 2010 Census, males are 49.2% of the population.  The white population is 63.7% of the population, though the separately grouped Hispanic/Latino population of 16.3% includes many who also think of themselves as white.  If we take the more restrictive 63.7% as white and assume that 49.2% of them are male, then the white male population to be excluded from the Democrat Party is 31.3% of the population.  I expect the Republicans would not be too upset if that complete block of 31.3% of the population voted for them.
While there is very considerable overlap in these three excluded groups, it is also clear that the set of voters who fall into these three excluded groups is much more than half the voting population.  This is especially true since the voting turnout among whites is considerably higher than it is for Black Americans or for Hispanic/Latino Americans.

Virtually every other person interviewed mentioned that they excluded gun owners.  Many of them, who were mostly females, made disparaging remarks about males.  Comments about the owners of businesses were less common.  But even if the Democrat Party delegates were only to exclude gun owners and white males, the party would become a consistent out-of-power party.  The party that likes to claim inclusion and to be the Big Tent party, is really the party of Big Pretense.  In a punning mode, we might call them the party of the Big Pre-Tents.

In a discussion with my oldest daughter recently, I pointed out that it is becoming alarming that the population of college students is approaching 60% female.  I claimed that a good part of the reason for this is that males have been made to feel less than welcome by the education system.  She scoffed at this idea, saying that males just make poor students.  But in the context of the many male-negative comments made by the Democrat Party stalwarts and given the fact that educators are predominantly Democrats, it is entirely unlikely that male students are finding themselves in a welcoming environment when they are in the formal education system.  In the government-run and socialist union-dominated public schools through high school, they are in an unfriendly leftist environment.  Then those who do go off to college often drop out as they find the radical left wing beliefs there incompatible with their interests and with their understanding of the practical and real world.

The attitudes of the committed leftists in control of our education system on the education of American males, particularly white males, are certainly deleterious.  Males want to believe that they are the heroic protectors of women and children and this greatly motivates them to try to work and learn so that they can fill this role.  When the Democrat-dominated education system portrays them, especially white males, as brutes, unfeeling cads, and privileged evil-doing masters at every turn, this is destructive.  Many are fleeing the education battlefield for more peaceful and nurturing pastures where they are less often the victims of discrimination.

06 September 2012

The Backfiring Democrat Santa Analogy

Former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland when speaking at the Democrat National Convention (DNC) in Charlotte said that if Romney were Santa he would "fire the reindeer and outsource the elves."  Since Romney is a candidate for the presidency, it appears that Strickland thinks the President has a job analogous to that of Santa.  This does seem to be very compatible with the Welfare State mentality of the Democrats.

According to the Democrats and their DNC promotional video, we all belong to the Government.  The head of the Government is the President, who is supposed to be Santa.  This is clearly Government for Children, not for adults who believe their General Welfare is only served when the Government protects their equal, sovereign individual rights.  Santa, or the President, is supposed to have many, many reindeer employees, which is code for many government workers who are supposed to be no brighter than reindeer and only work a small portion of the year.  Ideally, one night each year.  Government is not supposed to be efficient.

The elves are the private sector producers who are heavily taxed and assigned brutal mandated hours of unpaid work for the government, or Santa, to produce the gifts to be given to the Children on Christmas Day.  The gift receivers are deceptively called children to earn our unqualified love, but they are really disguised special interests such as the labor unions, government employee reindeer, green energy companies, trial lawyers, tax lawyers and accountants, and radical anti-human environmentalists, and the like.  Santa Obama redistributes the wealth created by the elves to these special interests so fast that he has just sent the national debt soaring past $16 trillion dollars.  When interest rates on the national debt return to long-term averages, the interest on the debt will exceed the cost of Medicare!  No matter how much a future Santa may want to take from the elves in taxes, he will not be able to take enough to pay the interest, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security costs even if he spends nothing on any other Government program.

The elves are not actually outsourced.  It is their jobs that are outsourced.  Because Santa, really the President and the Democrats, has expanded Government gift-giving, or spending, from 18% of the economy to 25% of the economy, the elves who are in the private sector have been deprived of the means to grow the economy at a rate to match that of the 39% growth of Government spending.  As a result, many are unable to compete with foreign elves whose productive organizations pay lower taxes and may have fewer and less expensive regulatory mandates.  Other private sector elves are not able to consume as much as they used to, so fewer elves are needed in jobs. Elves have become unemployed in droves.  There are fewer elves with jobs now than when the present Santa became Santa.

What is worse, the population of elves and reindeer has been growing and there are about 3 million more elves and reindeer a year.  This means that the sum of elves and reindeer need about 2 million new jobs each year so that those who want to have jobs will have them.  Over a three year period they need 6 million jobs just to keep up with the population growth of elves and reindeer.  Of course, many of the out-of-work elves of three years ago also want to have jobs again.

Meanwhile, Santa is boasting that he has created 4.5 million new jobs since the depths of a recession reached three years ago.  He counts all the reindeer jobs and all the elf jobs as jobs he has created.  Some of the elves say that they created their businesses, but the Santa President says that they did not.  He did, because he creates all jobs, even the jobs of self-employed elves.  Many of the 4.5 million jobs, actually all of them in net, are due to increased self-employment by elves.

The Santa President is a very arrogant man.  He has a horde of black shirt special interest comrades who want his rules strictly enforced, which are too complicated for the reindeer and the elves to understand.  His rules also change very quickly.  He only likes those who vote for him and give him big presents in tribute for his ruling over them.  This Santa gives reindeer favors and agrees to favor or not to hurt certain elves if they give him tribute.

Most of the elves are given a lump of coal at Christmas time and no other gifts.  Because the President Santa is not allowing coal to be used for energy, coal is an even worse Christmas present than it used to be.  President Santa also hogs huge areas of land and all offshore areas and will not allow elves to get oil and gas in his private reserves.  The cost of gasoline has more than doubled under this Santa, so the elves are having trouble driving to work, if they have any work.  Santa forces the elves to turn their food corn into ethanol and mix it with gasoline, despite knowing that this makes food more expensive, creates no energy, and increases pollution.  The elves are finding energy to be more and more expensive and more and more unreliable, so their productivity in the private sector is suffering and the 5% growth they used to have has been replaced with 1% growth.

The elves' homes are colder in the winter and warmer in the summer.  Their homes are also worth about 40% less than they used to be.  Many elves owe more on their mortgages for their homes than their homes are worth.  Many of the elves were supposed to retire soon, but can no longer afford to retire.  Elves have less income now than they did when the Santa became Santa.  More and more elves are angry at Santa.  Santa has violated Christmas and the entrepreneurial spirit of plenty that the industrious elves of our land once created.

Santa Obama is about to be replaced by President Romney, who the elves hope will be less a Santa and more of a protector of individual rights so that the elves will be able to choose their own values more in the private sector and can work to create very big pies and other goodies.  They do not want to have to give so many of their pies and goodies to the Santa President so they can improve their own lives.  Santa Obama was a rabble-rouser and a special interest lawyer before he became Santa.  The future President Romney was a elf who made many pies and goodies himself and claims to like busy elves.  It is highly unlikely he will be as bad a Scrooge as the present pretend Santa has proven to be.

02 September 2012

Celebrate Atlas Shrugged!

Atlas Shrugged continues to be one of the most important books ever written.  It is definitely the most important book I ever read, especially in terms of its effects upon my life.  When I read Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead before it, I had the feeling that for once some of the most noble, heroic, and benevolent ideals that I held to be true and central to my character were held by someone else.

I began reading Ayn Rand as a senior in high school, beginning with The Fountainhead and then Atlas Shrugged.  That summer of 1965, while working out of Ardmore, OK and Enid, OK on oil exploration crews, I read all of Ayn Rand's non-fiction books to that time and her newsletter with all the back issues.  I thought this very good preparation for my next adventure as a freshman at Brown University.

I found a philosophy and a worldview which was similar to much of my own, but much more completely developed.  I had always thought man should be moral and heroic.  I had always thought that one should work very diligently to be rational and emotions were properly controlled by and educated by one's rational decisions.  I had understood that very limited government was the only government compatible with reason, the sovereign rights of the individual, and the ability of man to apply his rational faculty to improving life for man on Earth.  I had already understood that big government was essentially a denial of human individuality.

I had long understood that some principles were worth fighting for and, if necessary, dying for.  My father was a naval aviator and was always a heroic presence in my life.  So too were many of our nation's heroes of the French and Indian War, the American Revolution, the War with the Barbary Pirates, the Mexican War, the Civil War, some of the Indian Wars (sometimes the Indians too), WWI, WWII, and the Korean War.  Those principles worth fighting for were worthily found in our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, which were written by wise and good men.  So too we had many heroes who were inventors and scientists.  I had already understood that the businessman was usually honorably offering goods and services to others in voluntary trade to their mutual benefit.  As such, many businessmen were heroically making human life richer, more secure, and better day after day.  One of the most important things Ayn Rand and I had in common was the fact that we were both human mind and hero worshipers.

Finally, in the summer and fall of 1964, I had realized that many of the teachings of Christianity were simply wrong.  I was not yet at the point of concluding that there was no reason to believe in God, but I was sure that any existent God was better than the Christian God. After reading Rand's non-fiction work, I came to the conclusion that I had no evidence for the existence of any god and that I really had no need for a god.

Basically, when I read Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, I had found someone who thought along pathways similar enough to mine that her entire philosophy was useful to me in understanding my world.  She had thought about the issues important to me much longer than I had and she was capable of guiding me to other issues that I needed to think about.

It turns out that 2 September has a special significance for those of us who love Atlas Shrugged.  Let me repeat a post below that I wrote on 2 September 2010, while noting that it is now 66 years since she started writing it and 55 years since its publication:

On September 2, 1946, Ayn Rand began writing Atlas Shrugged and she finished her great novel in time for publication in 1957.  Throughout the novel, September 2 is the date of a number of events:
  • In the opening scene of the novel, a bum asking Eddie Willers for a handout, asks "Who is John Galt?"  This and the way it was asked bother Eddie.  As he walks through NYC, he is also bothered by the gigantic calendar hanging from a public tower and announcing the date as September 2.    
  • On that date, Hank Rearden and Dagny Taggart decide to take a vacation together.  On that vacation they discover an abandoned motor that should have revolutionized the use of energy in the world.
  • Francisco D'Anconia makes his speech on money on September 2.  He proclaims money to be the tool of free trade and the result of noble effort, not the root of evil.  Those who call money evil choose to replace its use with the force of the gun.
  • D'Anconia Copper is nationalized on 2 September, but the date on the calendar is replaced by "Brother, you asked for it!"
So, on this day of 2 September 2010, let us give thanks to Ayn Rand for her incredibly dedicated effort in writing this path-breaking novel we are finding so important in our lives 53 years after its publication date and 64 years after she started it on 2 September 1946.  This should be a day celebrated much as Thanksgiving Day is celebrated, but without any religious overtones, as a day to respect the creativity and productivity of all the heroic men and women that Ayn Rand's heroic novel commemorates.  At the top of our list of respected heroes and heroines, we should recognize Ayn Rand herself.