Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bad News For Hillary, Poll Shows Joe Biden Would Fare Better In National Election

Bad News For Hillary, Poll Shows Joe Biden Would Fare Better In National Election

Speculation is mounting regarding a possible 2016 White House run by Vice President Joe Biden.

As discussed on Monday, a meeting between Biden and party heavyweight Elizabeth Warren in Washington represented "a pivot from potential to likely candidate," one Biden supporter told WSJ.

It's possible that Biden has been emboldened by Hillary Clinton's latest trials and travails which have seen an investigation into the former First Lady's home e-mail server turn quite serious, giving Democratic rival Bernie Sanders a boost in the polls. A series of rather unfortunate attempts on Clinton's part (see here and here) to make light of the issue on the campaign trail were met with sharp criticism in some circles.

Whatever the case, the latest poll from Quinnipiac University (released Thursday) shows that in the national elections, Biden would actually fare better than Clinton against both Trump and Jeb Bush.

More, from Politico:

Vice President Joe Biden has the best favorability rating among top 2016 contenders in either party, and he would run a little better than Hillary Clinton in the general election, according to a new Quinnipiac University national poll released Thursday that also shows Donald Trump increasing his lead in the GOP race.


Biden, who has not made his intentions known about a third bid for the White House, earned a net favorability of 77 points among Democrats. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio led Republicans with a net rating of 69. (Among all registered voters, regardless of party affiliation, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson led the field with a net positive rating of 20.)

Story Continued Below


Matched against Trump in a hypothetical general election matchup, the veep came out on top, 48 percent to 40 percent. Against Bush, he prevailed, 45 percent to 39 percent; and against Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, he got 44 percent to the senator's 41 percent.



Meanwhile, Clinton narrowly prevailed over Trump by 4 points, at 45 percent to 41 percent; she received 42 percent to Bush's 40 percent; and 44 percent to Rubio's 43 percent.

And from CNN:

Vice President Joe Biden fares better against top GOP candidates in hypothetical general election match-ups than Hillary Clinton, according to a new national survey.


The Quinnipiac University poll, released Thursday, also shows Donald Trump smashing the GOP presidential competition garnering 28% support from registered Republican voters in the 17-member field. The real estate mogul's closest competitor is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, who tallies 12%.


Just 7% said they would vote for former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, a record low since November 2013.

Perhaps Trump was right after all when the brazen billionaire said he believes that ultimately, America's choice will be between himself and Joe Biden.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Support Rand Paul for president!

Support Rand Paul for president!

Seen on a Toyota parked at Carnegie Mellon University

Donald Trump calls out Mark Zuckerberg on immigration

Donald Trump calls out Mark Zuckerberg on immigration

Donald Trump has a new target for his criticism of the nation's immigration policies - Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg.

Zuckerberg is one of the leading tech executives who has called for a more open immigration policy. Specifically, he wants to make more H-1B visas available to tech employers so they can hire foreign skilled workers.

Trump said he wants to require employers to pay H-1B workers much more money, which he said would discourage companies from hiring them and boost job prospects for Americans. He also wants to have tech jobs offered to unemployed Americans before they can be filled by workers with H-1B visas.

"This will improve the number of black, Hispanic and female workers in Silicon Valley who have been passed over in favor of the H-1B program.

Mark Zuckerberg's personal Senator, Marco Rubio, has a bill to triple H-1Bs that would decimate women and minorities," Trump wrote in his immigration plan. Rubio is also seeking the Republican nomination for president.

Zuckerberg started a public interest group called to push for immigration and lobbying reform along with Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. Neither Facebook (FB, Tech30) nor had an immediate comment on Trump's criticism of Zuckerberg.
Trump says that there are plenty of graduates with degrees in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM, to fill tech jobs. That means that employers don't need H-1B visas to fill jobs, and are using them instead to keep wages low.

Employers are supposed to pay a typical wage to anyone hired under a H-1B visa. But in reality, employees on these visas are typically paid 20 to 45% less than U.S. workers who they are are often replacing, said Ron Hira, a Howard University public policy professor who has studied the visa's pay scale.

"I don't think you should eliminate the H1-B program. The problem is it's being abused and it's a source of very cheap labor," said Hira.

Friday, August 07, 2015

1.4 Million Manufacturing Jobs Lost; 1.4 Million Waiter/Bartender Jobs Gained

Crack up job 0bama!

Since 2007: 1.4 Million Manufacturing Jobs Lost; 1.4 Million Waiter/Bartender Jobs Gained

Who says America has a jobs problem? As the chart below shows, the "New Economy" may pay abysmally, but at least it promises a little to everyone (or to paraphrase a famous phrase "From each according to his ability, to each according to his need"). Nowhere is that more obvious than in the chart showing the monthly change in waiter and bartender jobs.

Here is the bottom line: in the past 65 months, or nearly five and a half years starting with March 2010, or when the jobs "recovery" really kicked in, jobs for waiters and bartenders (aka food service and drinking places) have declined just once.

This is a statistically abnormal hit rate of nearly 99%, and one which we assume has everything to do with the BLS' charge of not so much reporting reality as finding loopholes in the goalseeked model to report that the US keeps adding over 200,000 jobs every month or bust.

Putting this number in context, the US has allegedly added 376K bartenders in the past year, and 3 million since March 2010.

And here is another, even more disturbing way of showing the "New Economy" - since December 2014, the US has lost 1.4 million manufacturing workers. These have been replaced almost one to one, with new waiters and bartenders. Win, win for everyone, especially the welfare state and of course, China.

Trump to Megyn Kelly: I Don't Have Time For Political Correctness and Neither Does This Country

I think Trump is going to win!

Trump to Megyn Kelly: I Don't Have Time For Political Correctness and Neither Does This Country

Megyn Kelly calls out Donald Trump for sexist remarks from his Twitter history. "You've called women you don't like 'fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals.'"

"Only Rosie O'Donnell," laughs Trump, before turning serious. "I've been challenged by so many people and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble."

MEGYN KELLY, FOX NEWS CHANNEL: Mr. Trump, one of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don't use a politician's filter. However that is not without its downsides, in particular when it comes to women. You've called women you don't like fat pigs, dogs, slobs and disgusting animals. Your twitter account--

DONALD TRUMP: Only Rosie O'Donnell.

KELLY: For the record, it was well beyond Rosie O'Donnell.

TRUMP: I'm sure it was.

KELLY: Your Twitter account has several disparaging comments about women's looks. You once told a contesttent that it would be a pretty picture to see her on her knees.

Does that sound like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?

And how do you answer the charge from Hillary Clinton, who is likely to be the Democratic nominee, that you are part of the war on women?

TRUMP: The big problem this country has is being politically correct. I've been challenged by so many people and I don't frankly have time for total political correctness. And to be honest with you, this country doesn't have time either. This country is in big trouble. We don't win anymore. We lose to China, we lose to Mexico both in trade and at the border. We lose to everybody. Frankly what I say and oftentimes it's fun, it's kidding, we have a good time. What I say is what I say. And honestly, Megyn if you don't like it, I'm sorry. I've been very nice to you although I could probably not be based on the way you have treated me, but I wouldn't do that. But you know what? We, we need strength, we need energy, we need quickness and we need brain in this country to turn it around. That I can tell you right now.
Related Videos:
Trump Turns Around Question About Casino Bankruptcy, Blames Chris Christie's Atlantic City Collapse
Trump on Obamacare: "Insurance Companies Are Making A Fortune Because They Have Control Of Politicians"
Trump: I Will Not Pledge To Endorse Republican Nominee, Not Run As Independent
Krauthammer: Carly Fiorina Won The Debate, "Classic Reaganite Position"
Trump: "Super PACs Are Total Phony Deal," "If Anybody Believes That They Never Talk, It's A Joke" read more

Prime Aged Workers Tumble In July, Workers 55 And Over Surge To New All Time High

An even clearer way of showing this dramatic convergence: young vs old workers. But don't blame your father or grandfather for taking a job that you would like: they are simply unable to retire due to nearly a decade of idiotic Fed policies.

Prime Aged Workers Tumble In July, Workers 55 And Over Surge To New All Time High

Tyler Durden's picture


By now what we first, heretically, said back in 2010: that the US is becoming a part-time economy, is common knowledge only the politically correct way of phrasing it, one which supposedly gives it a bullish spin, is "the sharing economy", as if that makes it better for millions of millennials that they will never again have any career security whatsoever.

But one other, even more damaging trend has yet to be noticed: the fact that elderly workers, still unable to retire due to ZIRP's crushing of their trillions in savings which have a "high yield" of under 1% at best, remain in the workforce, and the result is that there is no opportunity for young workers to enter the labor pipeline on the other end.

July confirmed as much, when in a month in which the Establishment survey reported that 215K jobs were added, the Household survey was far less sanguine, estimating only 101K job gains in June after a drop of 56K in May. But the punchline emerged when looking at the age composition of the job winners... and losers.

As we expected, more than all job gains, or 211,000 of the total, came in the 55 and over job category. Workers 16-24 lost a total of 8,000 jobs. And the worst hit were, who else, those in their prime, as the number of workers aged 25-54 dropped by another 131K.


Putting this in perspective, while the elderly workers in the US have risen by a whopping 7.4 million since the start of the Depression in December 2007, workers aged 25-54 are down 4 million!

And an even clearer way of showing this dramatic convergence: young vs old workers. But don't blame your father or grandfather for taking a job that you would like: they are simply unable to retire due to nearly a decade of idiotic Fed policies.


Wednesday, August 05, 2015

have your cheesecake and eat it too

"Happy birthday, @POTUS! Hopefully when @FLOTUS isn't looking you can have some cake. #44turns54″ — Former President Bill Clinton.

ha ha ha! I suppose by 'cake' he means cheesecake

President Obama Explains How His "Clean Power Plan" Does Not Make Him "Nation's Greatest Destroyer" - Live Feed

Ironically on the day when another coal company collapses into bankruptcy, President Obama begins the pitch for his "Clean Power Plan" which Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray described as "bizarre", blames for the collapse in the coal industry, and has now filed five federal lawsuits against the president who Murray believes is "the nation's greatest destroyer."
Live Feed.. (due to speak at 1415ET)

Monday, August 03, 2015

2-to-1 lead over closest contender...

2-to-1 lead over closest contender...

2-to-1 lead over closest contender...

(Top headline, 2nd story, link)Related stories:

Sunday, August 02, 2015

Trump builds his political machine | TheHill

I liked this comment in particular. ..


It's called the 'Pendulum Swing' -- from the Lying Marxist to the truth-telling Trump.

Having choked down the nothing but acrid LIES for SEVEN long years(!) - we will clamor for truth above all other considerations.

P.S. * Note to 2016 candidates: If you LIE to us, you don't stand a chance of winning the nomination. We are sick and tired of all of the deception - and unlike Lib voters, we_are_not_stupid .. we are more iintelligent and more informed than ever

Trump builds his political machine | TheHill

read more

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Kerry's disrespectful mocking stance on Israel, and Congress

It is to Kerry's credit that he pressed the Iranian government to stop calling for the destruction of Israel, and, in somewhat restrained language, informed it that chants of "Death to America" are not helpful.

Apparently he was unsuccessful. One wonders if Kerry was chagrined that on the very day the deal was signed, the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called publicly for death to America.

Kerry's disrespectful mocking stance on Israel, and Congress - The Commentator

read more

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Iran Deal Gives Ayatollahs More Money Than USA Has Given to Israel Since 1948

Iran Deal Gives Ayatollahs More Money Than USA Has Given to Israel Since 1948
Dave BlountJul 28, 2015
Some complain about the massive amount of aid the USA has given to Israel over the decades. No worries; Barack Hussein has made up for all of it:

The Iran deal will provide Iran with a cash windfall as sanctions are eased and assets are unfrozen. The total amount is estimated to be as high as $150 billion. If so, the Iran deal would give more cash to Iran than the $124.3 billion U.S. has given in total aid to Israel since 1948.

US aid has allowed Israel to survive as a tiny island of civilization surrounded by vociferously hostile Muslims who want to destroy it. We'll see what even more money allows the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism to do.

It's amazing how a single president can undo all the works of all previous presidents, and still have so much time for golf.

... read more

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Who's out of touch?

Isn't it ironic that the two leaders in the polls are also the two richest in the contest...?
Trump and Clinton both have more money than Romney, who it was said was out of touch with the middle class because of his money.
Ha! Irony indeed.

If you want candidates with a middle class tally of assets, go with Sanders and Rubio

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recession Warning: Durable Goods New Orders falling 5 months in a row

Durable Goods new orders has now fallen 5 months in a row (after revisions) flashing a orangey/red recession warning.


After 2 weak months, Durable Goods bounced more than expected in June (+3.4% vs +3.2% exp) - though non-seasonally-adjusted dropped 3.1% MoM. But ex-Transports remain deeply in recession territory.

EPA Said Global Warming Unproven To Obtain A Legal Ruling For Their Climate Regulations

Scalia is right: CO2 is not a polutant!

EPA Said Global Warming Unproven To Obtain A Legal Ruling For Their Climate Regulations |l

Dr. Tim Ball

Courts will not sit in judgment of scientific disputes. A lawyer told me it becomes "your paper" against "my paper" and courts argue they're not qualified to make the required scientific judgments. This is a reasonable position and causes some to advocate for "scientific" courts, but that is not normally necessary. Application of the scientific method of hypothesis, skeptical analysis, publication, and peer review, do the job. It is precisely the failure of these applications that cause false climate science to exist. Because of the court's position, including the US Supreme Court, they are vulnerable to exploitation. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) used the vulnerability to achieve a political goal. It seems that proof they did it deliberately is in the position they took about global warming. In the EPA machinations to establish regulatory and bureaucratic control over CO2 they had to argue that global warming was unproven.

Here is the orchestrated scenario, based on a form of argument proposed by White House Science Advisor John Holdren, in the book EcoScience, Population, Resources, Environment. Writing about action on the false claim of overpopulation he said,

Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

He says, "it has been concluded", but who reached the conclusion? He did. Who decides when the crisis is "sufficiently severe"? He does. Not only do you build the straw man, but you also control the fire.

It is possible the EPA arranged for Massachusetts and a few other states to file a petition against them for failing to regulate CO2 as a harmful substance. Of course, it was the EPA who determined it was a harmful substance. The EPA rejected the responsibility, and that led to a series of legal actions. The EPA wanted the case to end up before the US Supreme Court. Here are the Facts of the Case. (You can listen to the oral arguments at the web site).

Massachusetts and several other states petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asking EPA to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that contribute to global warming from new motor vehicles. Massachusetts argued that EPA was required to regulate these "greenhouse gases" by the Clean Air Act – which states that Congress must regulate "any air pollutant" that can "reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare."

EPA denied the petition, claiming that the Clean Air Act does not authorize the Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. Even if it did, EPA argued, the Agency had discretion to defer a decision until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it." Massachusetts appealed the denial of the petition to the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, and a divided panel ruled in favor of EPA.

The EPA argued the Clean Air Act does not authorize them to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. It is here they had to argue that the information is insufficient about global warming to reach a conclusion and requires more research. They said they had the authority not to act.

…the Agency had discretion to defer a decision until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it."

This contradicts the certainties of the IPCC. Their Summary For Policymakers (SPM) written specifically for agencies like the EPA, states.

Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions have increased since the pre-industrial era, driven largely by economic and population growth, and are now higher than ever. This has led to atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide that are unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. Their effects, together with those of other anthropogenic drivers, have been detected throughout the climate system and are extremely likely to have been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.

IPCC defines Extremely Likely as 95-100%. It appears either the EPA believes their statement to the Court is true or the IPCC is wrong, or they misled the Court.

Analysis of the Supreme Court conclusion provides some evidence.


By a 5-4 vote the Court reversed the D.C. Circuit and ruled in favor of Massachusetts. The opinion by Justice John Paul Stevens held that Massachusetts, due to its "stake in protecting its quasi-sovereign interests" as a state, had standing to sue the EPA over potential damage caused to its territory by global warming.

This argument uses the IPCC bias that warming is only a cost – there are no benefits. It was the argument Patrick Michaels made well recently before the Committee of Natural Resources.

The Court rejected the EPA's argument that the Clean Air Act was not meant to refer to carbon emissions in the section giving the EPA authority to regulate "air pollution agent[s]". The Act's definition of air pollutant was written with "sweeping," "capacious" language so that it would not become obsolete.

This outcome is precisely what the EPA wanted. They acted to lose and thus have the power of the US Supreme Court to justify their action.

Finally, the majority ruled that the EPA was unjustified in delaying its decision on the basis of prudential and policy considerations. The Court held that if the EPA wishes to continue its inaction on carbon regulation, it is required by the Act to base the decision on a consideration of "whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change."

Now the Court provided the second leg the EPA sought. They must act because CO2 is both a pollutant and is causing climate change.

The dissenting opinions are revealing.

Chief Justice Roberts's dissenting opinion argued that Massachusetts should not have had standing to sue, because the potential injuries from global warming were not concrete or particularized (individual and personal).


Justice Roberts apparently knows enough about global warming to realize the impact on Massachusetts is not easy to determine and speculative.

Justice Scalia's dissent argued that the Clean Air Act was intended to combat conventional lower-atmosphere pollutants and not global climate change.


Justice Scalia correctly identified the difference between pollution and climate change. This indicates he knows CO2 is not a pollutant.

It was not difficult for the EPA to mislead the Justices because they avoid sciences cases. Also, the Justices were hampered because the public didn't know that the case was primarily a decision of Administrative Law.

Federal administrative law primarily concerns the powers and procedures of Federal administering agencies in relation to the public (but usually not in criminal matters).

Consider these comments by the Justices in their conclusion. They manifest the confusion exploited by the EPA.

Although we have neither the expertise nor the authority to evaluate these policy judgments, it is evidence that they have nothing whatever to do with whether greenhouse gas emissions contribute to climate change.


Despite that the Justices wrote,

On the merits of contrary to EPA's position, we hold that the Clean Air Act's sweeping definition of air pollutant unambiguously covers greenhouse gases.

It doesn't matter how "sweeping" the definition, no greenhouse gas is a pollutant. Then the Justices apply Administrative Law.


We need not and do not reach the question whether on remand, EPA must make an endangerment finding, or whether policy concerns can inform EPA's actions in the event that it make such a finding.

We hold only that EPA must ground its reasons for action or inaction in the statute.


So there it is. In future court cases and in the public forum we can cite the EPA argument to delay any action,

until more research could be done on "the causes, extent and significance of climate change and the potential options for addressing it."

The courts are correct not to involve themselves in scientific disputes when it is a legitimate scientific issue. The difference, as I pointed out to the lawyer, is that in climate science, it is "our paper" against "their paper", but "their paper" is created with falsified, corrupted and manipulated data. The case becomes one of illegalities, not science, and that is in the jurisdiction of the court and easy for anyone to understand and judge.

Ready for Oligarchy

The choice is clear. There is none.

Virginia and Florida have both been overrun with immigrants, virtually guaranteeing the next president will be a Democrat.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rodham at the Lemonade Stand

Do you have a permit? Do you pay them $15/hour? How about workman's comp?

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Technology today

"All this technology today is making us antisocial." Photo source (1946, NYC):

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

You should join Caitlin Jenner, become a single mom, and reap the federal benefits...

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

Jul 22, 2015

Who could have possibly seen this coming? Almost three years we first detailed how America has become an entitlement nation where "work is punished." It appears President Obama is about to discover this first hand as his populist 'raise the minimum wage' strategy is showing yet another major unintended consequence. On the same day as New York acts to mandate a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers, Seattle's $15 minimum wage law - which is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and off public assistance - has hit a snag. As Fox News reports, evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don't lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent. So not only is work 'punished' it is now 'disinentivized by mandate' as part-time America toils amid ever-rising costs of living.


As we previously explained,

This isthe painful reality in America: for increasingly more it is now more lucrative - in the form of actual disposable income - to sit, do nothing, and collect various welfare entitlements, than to work.


This is graphically, and very painfully confirmed, in the below chart from Gary Alexander, Secretary of Public Welfare, Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (a state best known for its broke capital Harrisburg). As quantitied, and explained by Alexander, "the single mom is better off earnings gross income of $29,000 with $57,327 in net income & benefits than to earn gross income of $69,000 with net income and benefits of $57,045."



We realize that this is a painful topic in a country in which the issue of welfare benefits, and cutting (or not) the spending side of the fiscal cliff, have become the two most sensitive social topics. Alas, none of that changes the matrix of incentives for most Americans who find themselves in a comparable situation: either being on the left side of minimum US wage, and relying on benefits, or move to the right side at far greater personal investment of work, and energy, and... have the same disposable income at the end of the day.

And so, as Fox News reports, it is no surprise that the sudden gains in income from a government-mandated $15 minimum wage would tip some over the edge of their handouts entitlement... and thus dicincentize work altogether...

Seattle's $15 minimum wage law is supposed to lift workers out of poverty and move them off public assistance. But there may be a hitch in the plan.


Evidence is surfacing that some workers are asking their bosses for fewer hours as their wages rise – in a bid to keep overall income down so they don't lose public subsidies for things like food, child care and rent.


Full Life Care, a home nursing nonprofit, told KIRO-TV in Seattle that several workers want to work less.


"If they cut down their hours to stay on those subsidies because the $15 per hour minimum wage didn't actually help get them out of poverty, all you've done is put a burden on the business and given false hope to a lot of people," said Jason Rantz, host of the Jason Rantz show on 97.3 KIRO-FM.


The twist is just one apparent side effect of the controversial -- yet trendsetting -- minimum wage law in Seattle, which is being copied in several other cities despite concerns over prices rising and businesses struggling to keep up.


The notion that employees are intentionally working less to preserve their welfare has been a hot topic on talk radio. While the claims are difficult to track, state stats indeed suggest few are moving off welfare programs under the new wage.


Despite a booming economy throughout western Washington, the state's welfare caseload has dropped very little since the higher wage phase began in Seattle in April. In March 130,851 people were enrolled in the Basic Food program. In April, the caseload dropped to 130,376.


At the same time, prices appear to be going up on just about everything.


Some restaurants have tacked on a 15 percent surcharge to cover the higher wages. And some managers are no longer encouraging customers to tip, leading to a redistribution of income. Workers in the back of the kitchen, such as dishwashers and cooks, are getting paid more, but servers who rely on tips are seeing a pay cut.


Some long-time Seattle restaurants have closed altogether, though none of the owners publicly blamed the minimum wage law.


"It's what happens when the government imposes a restriction on the labor market that normally wouldn't be there, and marginal businesses get hit the hardest, and usually those are small, neighborhood businesses," said Paul Guppy, of the Washington Policy Center.

*  *  *

As we previously concluded, with more than half of welfare spending going to working families...

The irony here seems to be that because companies would rather spend their money on raises for "supervisors" and on stock buybacks which benefit the very same supervisory employees who are likey to own stocks (and which artificially inflate the bottom line), everyday taxpayers just like the ones who can't get a raise end up footing the bill via public assistance programs. The companies meanwhile, get to utilize nice little tricks like corporate tax inversions in order to avoid paying their share of the assistance handed out to the very same employees they underpay.

Obama's Minimum Wage Utopia Just Hit A Brick Wall

Who could have possibly seen this coming? Almost three years we first detailed how America has become an entitlement nation ... read more

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Chidren Live In Poverty Now Than During Crisis

As USA Today reports,

About 22% of children in the U.S. lived below the poverty line in 2013, compared with 18% in 2008, the foundation's 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Human and Health Service's official poverty line was $23,624 for a family with two adults and two children.

For all the back-patting exuberance over manipulated record high stock prices and record periods of illusory job gains, it appears the administration and its Obamanomics forgot one important thing - the children! As USA Today reports, a higher percentage of children live in poverty now than did during the Great Recession, according to a new report from the Annie E. Casey Foundation released Tuesday.

"Where you grew up is similar to where you end up when you're an adult," Bloome said. "That helps perpetuate racial segregation."

Obamanomics? More Chidren Live In Poverty Now Than During Crisis
read more

Monday, July 20, 2015

Re: That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

I was there! And I had my camera.

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 11:07 AM, <dude> wrote:
I watched it on tv!

On Mon, Jul 20, 2015 at 10:17 AM, <I> wrote:

46 years ago today!

Iowa poll: Scott Walker cracks 20 percent, leads nearest contender by almost 10 points

Iowa poll: Scott Walker cracks 20 percent, leads nearest contender by almost 10 points

That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind

46 years ago today!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Hillary Clinton Made More than Bernie Sanders’ Net Worth in One Speech


Hillary Clinton Made More than Bernie Sanders' Net Worth in One Speech


Hillary Clinton is trying to make history by becoming one of the oldest and richest Americans to be elected president in the modern era. Bernie Sanders, despite being embarrassingly poor by comparison, is also running for the Democratic nomination.

How rich is Hillary Clinton? Well, in addition to earning (along with Bill) more than $30 million since 2014, Hillary earned more than Sanders' entire net worth in one speech sponsored by telecom giant Qualcomm.

Sanders reported a net worth of $330,507 in 2013. In October of 2014, Hillary earned $335,000 to speak at a Qualcomm event in San Diego. The tech company, which has donated generously to the Clinton Foundation, has also lobbied the federal government to approve the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. Sanders is firmly opposed to the agreement; so are labor unions and liberal heartthrob Elizabeth Warren. Hillary, meanwhile, has repeatedly failed to take a position, despite having praised the agreement on numerous occasion during her time as secretary of state.

Several months after the Qualcomm speech, Clinton was paid $150,000 to address the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, an institution that has been the subject of multiple U.S. investigations, and has been accused of helping Enron commit fraud by misleading investors. Clinton's total haul for those two speeches alone ($485,000) is greater than Marco Rubio's reported net worth ($443,509 in 2013).



0bama-lain secures peace for our time. #Iran

Chamberlain-esq, haha

jon gabriel (@exjon) tweeted at 2:41 AM on Tue, Jul 14, 2015:
Obama secures peace for our time. #Iran

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Bernie Sanders: Real Unemployment Rate is 10.5%

Bernie 2016!  He's right you know.

Bernie Sanders: Real Unemployment Rate is 10.5%

Sanders says rate ignores those who have dropped out of the labor force
Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders / AP

July 8, 2015 3:14 pm

Presidential candidate and self-identified socialist Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.) expressed his concern over Americans who have dropped out of the labor force, saying "real unemployment is 10.5 percent," at a presidential campaign rally in Portland, Maine, the Daily Caller reported.

"When you talk about the economy, we also have to have an honest assessment of unemployment in America," said the senator. "Once a month the government publishes a set of figures, and the last figures they published said that official unemployment was 5.4 percent."

"But there is another set of government statistics and that says that real unemployment, if you include those people who have given up looking for work and the millions of others who are working part-time 20, 25 hours a week when they want to work full-time, if you add all of that together, real unemployment is 10.5 percent," said Sanders.

Sanders also focused his remarks on youth unemployment, citing unemployment rates for 17 to 20 year olds.

"But let me tell you something that is even more frightening and is an issue that we don't talk about at all," he said. "That is the tragedy in this country of youth unemployment."

"And I don't care if no one else talks about this issue, we will talk about this issue and here's why," Sanders continued. "For young people, who have graduated high school or dropped out of high school who are between the ages of 17 and 20 if they happen to be white, unemployment rate is 33 percent. If they are Hispanic—unemployment rate is 36 percent. If they are African-American—real unemployment rate for young people is 51 percent."

"In other words what we are doing is turning our backs on an entire generation of young people who want to get a job, they want to earn some income, they want get out of their homes—they want to become independent and we are not allowing them to do that," he said.

The Obama administration often touts the nation's official unemployment rate, which measures the percentage of those in the labor force that does not have a job but has actively looked for one in the past four weeks.

On July 2, 2015, when the latest unemployment numbers were released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), President Obama praised the economy in his remarks to the University of Wisconsin.

"Now, this morning, we learned that our businesses created another 223,000 jobs this month," said Obama. "And the unemployment rate is now down to 5.3 percent. Keep in mind, when I came into office it was hovering around 10 percent. All told, we've now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record."

Many, like Sanders, disagree that the unemployment rate tells the whole story, as the measure doesn't account for those who have dropped out of the labor force.

Gallup CEO Jim Clifton has called the unemployment rate a "lie" and said it is misleading.

"There's no other way to say this," said Clifton. "The official unemployment rate, which cruelly overlooks the suffering of the long-term and often permanently unemployed as well as the depressingly underemployed amounts to a big lie."

Watch the cyber war in realtime...

Is This What The First World Cyber War Looks Like: Global Real Time Cyber Attack Map

Tyler Durden's picture
Submitted by Tyler Durden on 07/08/2015 12:42 -0400

After a series of cyber failures involving first UAL, then this website, then the NYSE which is still halted, then the WSJ, some have suggested that this could be a concerted cyber attack (perhaps by retaliatory China unhappy its stocks are plunging) focusing on the US. So we decided to look at a real-time cyber attack map courtesy of Norsecorp which provides real time visibility into global cyber attacks.

What clearly stands out is that for some reason Chinese DDOS attacks/hackers seem to be focusing on St. Louis this morning.

Whether this is related to the series of suspicious cyber failures today, is so far unclear, although if there is a connection at least there is a way to keep track of the first global cyberwar in real-time.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Athens on the Potomac | Ricochet

Link below for the whole article. ..

It's an imperfect analogy, but imagine the green is your salary, the yellow is the amount you're spending over your salary, and the red is your MasterCard statement.

The chart is brutally bipartisan. Debt increased under Republican presidents and Democrat presidents. It increased under Democrat congresses and Republican congresses. In war and in peace, in boom times and in busts, after tax hikes and tax cuts, the Potomac flowed ever deeper with red ink.

Our leaders like to talk about sustainability. Forget sustainable — how is this sane?

Yet when a conservative hesitates before increasing spending, he's portrayed as a madman. When a Republican offers a thoughtful plan to reduce the debt over decades, he's pushing grannies into the Grand Canyon and pantsing park rangers on the way out. While the press occasionally griped about spending under Bush, they implore Obama to spend even more.

When I posted the earlier version of this chart, the online reaction was intense. A few on the right thought I was too tough on the GOP while those on the left claimed it didn't matter or it's all a big lie. Others told me that I should have weighted for this variable or added lines for that trend. They are free to create their own charts to better fit their narrative and I'm sure they will. But the numbers shown above can't be spun by either side.

All of the figures come from the U.S. Treasury and math doesn't care about fairness or good intentions. Spending vastly more than you have, decade after decade, is foolish when done by a Republican or a Democrat. Two plus two doesn't equal 33.2317 after you factor in a secret "Social Justice" multiplier.

If our current president accumulates debt at the rate of his first six-plus years, the national debt will be nearly $20 trillion by the time leaves office. That is almost double what it was when he was first inaugurated.

Like many Americans, I haven't had the privilege of visiting Greece. Unfortunately, Greece will be visiting us unless we change things and fast.

Athens on the Potomac | Ricochet

read more

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive

It's good to be rich! She and Bill have 4 mansions worth a combined $40 million, and way more that Mitt Romney in combined assets.

Meanwhile Marco Rubio has maybe twice what I have in assets, hardly rich - assuridly middle class

Who's out of touch?

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive
BY: Andrew Stiles

The Hillary Clinton campaign likes to brag about its frugal ways, but this austere philosophy is not applied consistently. Campaign manager John Podesta may take the bus every now and then, but the Clinton campaign is more than happy to pick up the rent tab for Hillary's personal office in Manhattan and to shell out for a private jet to make sure Hillary doesn't have to interact with any commoners before giving a speech on social inequality.

Meanwhile, the campaign has developed a fondness for unpaid interns, and is increasingly hesitant to pay even experienced employees who have previously held paid positions on Democratic campaigns. Some have dared to speak out, demanding to be paid, to be saved from squalor. The campaign's refusal to value its employees is causing problems for the flock of young staffers who are trying to find living quarters near the campaign headquarters in Brooklyn, where rent prices are so high that even their wealthy parents are reluctant to foot the bill. The New York Times reports [emphasis added]:

For decades, idealistic twenty-somethings have shunned higher-paying and more permanent jobs for the altruism and adrenaline rush of working to get a candidate to the White House. But the staffers who have signed up for the Clinton campaign face a daunting obstacle: the New York City real estate market…

The wealthy donors who contribute to Mrs. Clinton's campaign have proved more comfortable cutting a check than opening their TriBeCa lofts and Upper East Side townhouses to strangers. And Mrs. Clinton's campaign prides itself on living on the cheap and keeping salaries low, which is good for its own bottom line, but difficult for those who need to pay New York City rents.

The lack of affordable housing has put an added burden on the Clinton campaign to play a Craigslist-like role in finding staffers a place to sleep, whether it's pairing them with roommates or pleading with supporters for a spare room.

The tidbit about the donors stands out, because it's so unlike elite liberals to prefer "helping the cause" in ways that confer social status as Right Thinking People (e.g., writing a check) without the personal inconvenience (e.g., hosting an intern). Some of them apparently declined out of concern that letting campaign staffers stay in their luxury Manhattan residences would violate campaign finance laws. (It wouldn't.) Others have been more generous, sort of [emphasis added]:

Scott Murphy, a former congressman representing the area outside Albany, hosted Josh Schwerin, 29, a press aide on the campaign who previously worked for Mr. Murphy, in his Upper West Side co-op before the campaign started.

Mr. Schwerin got what used to serve as a maid's room. "You could touch both walls if you were on the air mattress, and the bathroom was through the kitchen, so he didn't have a lot of privacy," Mr. Murphy said. "But," he added, "it was in line with what he paid for it." (Which was, of course, nothing.) 

Per the Times, the unpaid staffers who are fortunate enough to find their own housing end up shelling out $1,700 a month for a room with no windows. The campaign has turned to the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce for guidance on housing opportunities, the most affordable of which happen to be in less fashionable neighborhoods. Alas, the chamber "has not made much progress in convincing staffers to consider these less gentrified neighborhoods."

Suffering such indignities might make sense for these youngsters if they were working (unpaid) for a principled liberal candidate such as Bernie Sanders, who actually agrees with President Obama's admonition that "at a certain point, you've made enough money." But they're not.

©2015 All Rights Reserved

Hillary Clinton Lives the High Life While Unpaid Staffers Struggle to Survive | Washington Free Beacon

read more

Friday, June 26, 2015



At least one American Senator is willing to speak truth to power.

Republican presidential contender Ted Cruz attacked Chief Justice John Roberts and other members of the Supreme Court in unusually harsh terms Thursday, referring to them as "rogue justices" and "robed Houdinis" after a 6-3 decision to uphold President Barack Obama's health care law.

Cruz, a Texas senator, did not mention any current high court members by name in remarks on the Senate floor. But his speech included a thinly veiled reference to Roberts, part of the court majority that upheld tax credits that defray the cost of coverage for lower-income individuals nationwide.

"These justices are not behaving as umpires calling balls and strikes. They have joined a team," the Texas lawmaker said.

At his Senate confirmation hearing a decade ago, Roberts said, "I will remember that it's my job to call balls and strikes and not to pitch or bat."

Cruz also said the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist — whom Roberts succeeded — "would be filled with sorrow at what has become of the Supreme Court of the United States."

...He said the decision was "judicial activism, plain and simple," and said the court spoke for "nakedly political reasons ... They are lawless, and they hide their prevarication in legalese."

While Cruz did not explain his reference to "robed Houdinis," Harry Houdini was an early 20th-century magician who specialized in escaping from jails, straitjackets, coffins and other seemingly inescapable surroundings...

During its original framing, the Constitution was intended to represent a straitjacket on the federal government.

The bounds have been slipped. The American Republic is no more.


... read more

Thursday, June 25, 2015

#SCOTUScare is scary -- glad 0bamacare is gone though

A guy walks into the doctor's office, says: Doc, I've got this terrible pain, it's eating away my wallet, the doctor says: yeah, I know, mine too, it's a condition called #SCOTUScare, pretty scary, huh?

The most amusing part of the SCOTUS decision is Justice Scalia's dissenting opinion. Here are some of the highlights:

* * * Worst of all for the repute of today's decision, the Court's reasoning is largely self-defeating. The Court predicts that making tax credits unavailable in States that do not set up their own Exchanges would cause disastrous economic consequences there. If that is so, however, wouldn't one expect States to react by setting up their own Exchanges? And wouldn't that outcome satisfy two of the Act's goals rather than just one: enabling the Act's reforms to work and promoting state involvement in the Act's implementation? The Court protests that the very existence of a federal fallback shows that Congress expected that some States might fail to set up their own Exchanges. So it does. It does not show, however, that Congress expected the number of recalcitrant States to be particularly large.

* * * Faced with overwhelming confirmation that "Exchange established by the State" means what it looks like it means, the Court comes up with argument after feeble argument to support its contrary interpretation. None of its tries comes close to establishing the implausible conclusion that Congress used "by the State" to mean "by the State or not by the State."

* * * Today's opinion changes the usual rules of statutory interpretation for the sake of the Affordable Care Act.That, alas, is not a novelty. In National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, 567 U. S. ___, this Court revised major components of the statute in order to save them from unconstitutionality. The Act that Congresspassed provides that every individual "shall" maintain insurance or else pay a "penalty." This Court, however, saw that the Commerce Clause does not authorize a federal mandate to buy health insurance. So it rewrote the mandate-cum-penalty as a tax. The Act that Congress passed also requires every State to losing all Medicaid funding. This Court, however, saw that the  Spending Clause does not authorize this coercive condition. So it rewrote the law to withhold only the incremental funds associated with the Medicaid expansion. Having transformed twomajor parts of the law, the Court today has turned its attention to a third. The Act that Congress passed makes tax credits available only on an "Exchange established bythe State." This Court, however, concludes that this limitation would prevent the rest of the Act from working as well as hoped. So it rewrites the law to make tax credits available everywhere. We should start calling this law SCOTUScare.

* * * Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will attain the enduring status of the Social Security Act or the Taft-Hartley Act; perhaps not. But this Court's two decisions on the Act will surely be remembered through the years. The somersaults of statutory interpretation they have performed ("penalty" means tax, "further [Medicaid] payments to the State" means only incremental Medicaid payments to the State, "established by the State"means not established by the State) will be cited by litigants endlessly, to the confusion of honest jurisprudence. And the cases will publish forever the discouraging truth that the Supreme Court of the United States favors some laws over others, and is prepared to do whatever it takes to uphold and assist its favorites.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Abbott & Costello Explain The Unemployment Situation

Sometimes you just have to laugh!!

h/t Feral Irishman via Jim Quinn's Burning Platform blog,

COSTELLO:  I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America  .
ABBOTT: Good Subject.  Terrible Times.  It's 5.6%.
COSTELLO:  That many people are out of work?
ABBOTT: No, that's 23%.  
COSTELLO: You just said 5.6%.
ABBOTT:  5.6% Unemployed.
COSTELLO:  Right 5.6% out of work. 
ABBOTT: No, that's 23%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it's  23% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that's 5.6%. 
COSTELLOWAIT A MINUTE. Is it 5.6% or 23%? 
ABBOTT: 5.6% are unemployed.  23% are out of work. 
COSTELLO: If you are out of work you are unemployed. 
ABBOTTNo, Congress said you can't count the "Out of Work" as the unemployed.  You have to look for work to be unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you miss his point.
COSTELLO:  What point?
ABBOTTSomeone who doesn't look for work can't be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn't be fair. 
COSTELLO: To whom?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.  
COSTELLO: But ALL of them are out of work.  
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work gave up looking and if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed. 
COSTELLO: So if you're off the unemployment roles that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don't look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes  down. That's how it gets to 5.6%. Otherwise it would be 23%.

COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?  
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.  
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to have people stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like an Economist. 
COSTELLO:  I don't even know what the hell I just said!  
ABBOTT: Now you're thinking like a Politician.

Now it’s serious: No more “Dukes of Hazzard” toys with the Confederate flag on the General Lee [feedly]


"Bo." "Yeah, Luke?" "Y'ever wonder why we don't have any black friends?" This is "progress," I suppose, but not until the Duke boys are finally caught will we truly be able to declare victory over the Confederacy. One of the most iconic pop-cultural images of the Confederate flag — atop the famous "General Lee" car […]

Read this post »

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Corporations Win Again: Senate Passes Obamatrade Fast-Track Bill

Corporations Win Again: Senate Passes Obamatrade Fast-Track Bill

Fast-track authority is being sought in the Senate this week for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), along with the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and any other such trade agreements coming down the pike in the next six years. The terms of the TPP and the TiSA are so secret that drafts of the negotiations are to remain classified for four years or five years, respectively, after the deals have been passed into law. How can laws be enforced against people and governments who are not allowed to know what was negotiated?

The TPP, TiSA and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (or TTIP, which covers Europe) will collectively encompass three-fourths of the world's GDP; and they ultimately seek to encompass nearly 90 percent of GDP. Despite this enormous global impact, fast-track authority would allow the President to sign the deals before their terms have been made public, and send implementing legislation to Congress that cannot be amended or filibustered and is not subject to the constitutional requirement of a two-thirds treaty vote.

While the deals are being negotiated, lawmakers can see their terms only under the strictest secrecy, and they can be subjected to criminal prosecution for revealing those terms. What we know of them comes only through WikiLeaks. The agreements are being treated as if they were a matter of grave national security, yet they are not about troop movements or military strategy. Something else is obviously going on.

The bizarre, unconstitutional, blatantly illegal nature of this enforced secrecy was highlighted in a May 15th article by Jon Rappoport, titled "What Law Says the Text of the TPP Must Remain Secret?" He wrote:

It seems like a case of mass hypnosis. . . .


Members of Congress are scuttling around like weasels, claiming they can't disclose what's in this far-reaching, 12-nation trade treaty.


They can go into a sealed room and read a draft, but they can't copy pages, and they can't tell the public what they just read.


Why not?


If there is a US law forbidding disclosure, name the law.


Can you recall anything in the Constitution that establishes secret treaties?


Is there a prior treaty that states the text of all treaties can be hidden from the people?

To Congressmen who say they cannot reveal what is in a treaty that will adversely affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people, Rappoport says:

Wrong. You're lying. You can reveal secret text. In fact, it's your duty. Otherwise, you're guilty of cooperating in a RICO criminal conspiracy.

A Corporate Coup d'État

What is going on was predicted by David Korten in his 1995 blockbuster, When Corporations Rule The World. Catherine Austin Fitts calls it a "corporate coup d'état."

This corporate coup includes the privatization and offshoring of the judicial function delegated to the US court system in the Constitution, through Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions that strengthen existing ISDS  procedures.

As explained in The Economist, ISDS gives foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever the government passes a law to do things that hurt corporate profits — such things as discouraging smoking, protecting the environment or preventing a nuclear catastrophe. Arbitrators are paid $600-700 an hour, giving them little incentive to dismiss cases. The secretive nature of the arbitration process and the lack of any requirement to consider precedent give wide scope for creative judgments – the sort of arbitrary edicts satirized by Lewis Carroll in Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

To date, the highest ISDS award has been for $2.3 billion to Occidental Oil Company against the government of Ecuador over its termination of an oil-concession contract, although the termination was apparently legal. Under the TPP, however, even larger and more unpredictable judgments can be anticipated, since the sort of "investment" it protects includes not just "the commitment of capital or other resources" but "the expectation of gain or profit." That means the rights of corporations extend not merely to their factories and other "capital" but to the profits they expect to receive. Just the threat of a massive damage award for impairing "expected corporate profits" could be enough to discourage prospective legislation by lawmakers.

The Trade in Services Agreement adds additional barriers to proposed legislation.  TiSA involves 51 countries, including every advanced economy except the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa). The deal would liberalize global trade in services covering close to 80% of the US economy, including financial services, healthcare, education, engineering, telecommunications, and many more. It would restrict how governments can manage their public laws, and it could dismantle and privatize state-owned enterprises, turning those services over to the private sector. It would also block the emerging trend to return privatized services to the public sector, by limiting or prohibiting governments from creating or reestablishing public utilities and other "uncompetitive" forms of service delivery.

It seems that the TPP, TTIP and TiSA are not about the sort of "free trade" that would free local businesses to sell abroad. They are about freeing international corporations from the government regulation necessary to protect the economy, the people, and the environment. They are about preserving privatized monopolies and preventing competition from the public sector. And they are about moving litigation offshore into private arbitrary tribunals – the sort of tribunal that might have lost Alice her head, if she had not awakened from her bizarre dream.

Monday, June 22, 2015

AP photographer pretending a gun’s pointed at Ted Cruz’s head

What if the AP or Fox News did this kind of positioning with 0bama?
Can you imagine the outrage from the left - cries of RACISM.
This proves the Mainstream Media bias!

"The images were not intended to portray Sen. Cruz in a negative light." - yeah right.

This is bias — a similar shot involving Hillary Clinton or, god forbid, Barack Obama is unthinkable — but I wonder which strain of bias it is. .@AP photo lines pistol up with Senator, 2016 candidate @tedcruz's brain

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Great economics lesson!

 Hurricanomics: Keynesian Stimulus Or Captain Facepalm
by Jared "The 10th Man" Dillian via Mauldin Economics,

An old friend from the Coast Guard visited me over the weekend. He is retired and now works as an emergency planner.

If there's one thing government folks do, it is plan. But many times I've seen plans go out the window when emergency strikes and people start to improvise. Or maybe the planned-for emergency never materializes. Maybe you get a different emergency you didn't plan for. The anarchist in me says that plans are useless. But I agree that it's good to think about these things ahead of time.

So my friend and I got to talking about hurricanes, which is a specialty of his. He told me that no hurricane has ever scored a direct hit on my piece of the South Carolina coast (I live just a few yards away from the beach). Hurricanes have hit north of me and south of me, but in the recorded history of hurricanes, none have ever hit here, at least, not a direct hit by one of the big ones.

I'm not sure if that makes me feel good or not. If my house did sustain a direct hit, smell you later.

But it got me thinking about when I was working at Lehman Brothers in 2004, when Hurricane Katrina hit. Were you active in the markets back then? If so, you probably remember that stocks ripped to the upside, particularly energy and construction companies that would have to repair all the damage. Of course, the insurance stocks got killed.

I was 30 years old back then and not really steeped in economic thought. None of us were. We were traders, not philosophers. But we were all sitting around wondering why the stock market was ripping when the hurricane was clearly going to wipe out a huge city. Made no sense.

My answer was that the winners from Katrina were probably publicly traded, while the losers weren't.

But does anybody win from a hurricane in the first place?

The Parable of the Broken Window

You may have heard of the "Broken Window Fallacy," where a boy throws a rock through a storefront window, breaking it. The shopkeeper must hire the glazier to come fix the window. He pays him 50 bucks, thereby stimulating business in town.

Everyone sees this and says, "Gee whiz, a kid breaks a window and suddenly there's 50 bucks in circulation. Hey kid, why don't you run around town and break the rest of the windows?"

If this sounds familiar, it's because you've heard it before—from an economist named Frédéric Bastiat.

Bastiat basically comes up with the ideas of opportunity cost and unintended consequences simultaneously, when he observes that if the shopkeeper did not spend 50 bucks to fix his window, he might have spent it on something else more productive. What, we don't know. But we can assume that he knows best how to spend the 50 bucks, at least better than the kid who broke his window.

Bastiat is one of the forefathers of libertarian/Austrian economics, and he often talked about the things that are unseen in finance. A good example is the minimum wage debate, which we talked about briefly in last month's issue of Bull's Eye Investor.

The layman thinks if you raise the price of labor to $15/hour by fiat—yay, people are making $15! But generally what happens is that some people will see their wages drop to $0/hour, because the bossman had $150 to spend on labor to begin with, and he can either hire 20 people at $7.50/hour or 10 people at $15/hour.

If you think the bossman should somehow operate at a loss to accommodate everyone at the higher wage, then we can have a nice discussion on the role of profit in society.

Bastiat is the reason I come to work every day, because there are so many people who have believed, and will always believe, that you can fix the price of something at x just because 51% of the voters said so.

Keynesian Stimulus

One of the great tragedies of the financial crisis was the $780 billion we shelled out for the giant stimulus package. Wow, was that bad, for a lot of reasons.

I remember driving around and getting stuck in construction and seeing these stupid signs everywhere:

So back to Bastiat, why was the stimulus bad? We spent $780 billion basically paving the same roads over and over again. It was one step up from digging holes and filling them back in. And just like in the broken window example, sure, some people got rich off it.

But what would the taxpayers have done with $780 billion, aside from paving roads? Probably some pretty interesting stuff. Possibly they could have thought of better things to do with it than paving roads.  Even if they had saved it, that's $780 billion less the government would have had to borrow, which would have lowered interest rates and increased credit availability for private borrowers.

The counterargument is that if you go back to the 1930s when we did all this Keynesian stimulus (the Hoover Dam, etc.), that it worked in getting us out of the Great Depression. Did it? Maybe it made the depression worse. You can't go back in time and not have the Keynesian stimulus and see what happens.

In US history classes over the years, FDR has generally gotten credit for ending the depression, but more and more scholars are beginning to challenge that idea.

Captain Facepalm

I think these things are pretty obvious. I can't figure out why people have such a difficult time seeing them. I can't figure out why Nobel Prize winners can't see them.

Any economic intervention, no matter how slight, causes unintended consequences. There are things that you cannot see, that the planner cannot anticipate. There are also easy ones. If you cap the price of a good, there will be a shortage. If you put a floor on it, there will be a surplus.

If you make it hard for people to trade swaps, you might reduce liquidity and push people into other, potentially more risky products.