Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breaking News Is Broken

I think we reached some kind of new low for the 24hr news cycle today. As I got up at 8:30 am, every single channel was showing a flooded road in some city. There was somebody stuck in a car, and they all zoomed in to see the results of the rescue. CNN, MSNBC, CNN Headline News, and even stooped as low as FOX, but they all had this “nationally important story” breaking on the screen. Now call me cold if you want to, but there are 2 wars, millions loosing their jobs, an economic crash, millions without health care, the governor of a major city being brought down on corruption charges, billions in “bailout money” yet unaccounted for, a national debate over the merits of helping out the auto industry, a vocal VP admitting that he wanted to go to Iraq weather they were a national threat or not, and so on. These are things that they could report. But nooo, we are all forced to watch a car in the water. Like an hours later the water had died to a trickle and the lady who was stuck could have just opened up the door and tip toed to the curb.

I have to tell you, I am quite sick of seeing local stories on national news. I do not care about a car chase in LA. (As OJ proved sometimes you run even when you are innocent.) I don’t care about a foot bridge collapsing in NY. I don’t care about a house fire in Florida. I don’t care about some bad weather in Oklahoma. Now you are really going to think I am cold, but I don’t care about a missing and murdered child anywhere that the killer isn’t expected to be in my travel area. I don’t care about the family feuds of dead celebrities. I defiantly don’t care about their length of prison sentence. All of these stories could be delivered in a 5 min. news round up at the end of a major newscast if they really must be covered at all. However, the country and the world will be fine without such enlightenment.

I don’t think I have turned on any of the major news networks in the last 2 years where the words “BREAKING NEWS” isn’t splashed across the screen. It is like some drug that has long lost its affect, but they all feel they need it to survive. For the benefit of the major news producers reading this blog post, here are some suggestions of things I will never get sick of. I will never get sick of reporters hounding legislators about their bad vote decisions. I will watch tirelessly as you interview people who were convicted for obstruction of justice in a treason case. I will always find it interesting to hear debates between scientists on the topic of global warming. You can hold my attention with economist who debate the ways to strengthen the dollar. I will be mesmerized every single time with discussions of future costs of education. If you can get the CEO of CitiBank to cry on your TV show for ruining the lives of every hard working American and admit that credit is the cancer that has rotted this nation, then you have “Breaking News”. Other then that it is just drama. People have enough distractions in life with out the annoyances of Nancy Grace. And Lou Dobbs chases so many red herrings he should be forced to declare “fishing” as his actual occupation on his W-2.

So please, just one of you, step out and step up. Before you “run” a story, ask yourself, “If I lived 200 miles away from the scene, would I have a stake in the outcome of this event?” If the answer is “no” and you are running a national/ world news network, consider other options.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Why would somebody throw away perfectly good shoes?

There is so much on the economic front right now. Or at least there seems to be. In the end it is the same crap on a different flavor of toast. Nobody with any ability to change things seems to A) know what needs to be changed, and B) know how to use policy to influence that change. We have pressing issues that need addressed now, and a lame duck legislative process that seeks only to pass the responsibility buck to the incoming incompetents. If you want endless takes on why’s, who’s, and when’s this situation, turn into the 24 hour news cycle that seems to never stop having “breaking news”. For at least this post I am going to turn to something that was highly reported, but severely overlooked this week in the news media. The waste of good energy to throw good shoes in a country where that resource is scarce.

So George Bush attempts to take a victory lap around the Middle East. The problem is that is kind of like Abraham Lincoln taking a victory lap around the south. Hey, he “won” the war. He freed a bunch of people from their oppressive chains. I bet the locals are going to welcome him with open arms. My guess is that Abraham Lincoln couldn’t do a victory tour in the south even today. The same sensibility should have been observed by GW. But if he had that kind of sensibility, we wouldn’t have been in this situation to begin with.

However, the fact that George Bush is a moron is hardly a fresh new perspective. The question asked but never answered this week, or for that fact, since the beginning of time, is “why can’t we bring peace to the Middle East?” At the end of every president’s time they try to find something to make their legacy. The Middle East, and especially the Israeli/ Palestinian conflict has emerged as the elusive “Holy Grail” of presidential legacies. Yet all return only to ring their hands and say, “why can’t we figure this out!”

The answer is a matter of perspective. We in the west will never solve the Rubik’s Cube Middle Eastern peace because we don’t define it the same way they do. As a matter of fact, we don’t define anything the same way they do.

Some thought exercises? England, France , Germany , Spain , and even and especially the US , when you think of “what kind country is ‘X’ country?” your answer is bound to be different. When “X” is replaced with any of these countries, you might think, “modern”, “democratic”, “free”, “capitalist”, and a plethora of other words. One thing that would might show up, but low on that list is “Christian”. We just don’t identify ourselves with our spiritual leadership. THAT is where we loose the perspective on the Middle Eastern status. Another quick thought to emphasize that point. If some foreign country invaded the US, there wouldn’t be an “evangelical region”, a “catholic region”, or “the Baptist triangle”. They would meet Americans. It wouldn’t even matter if the invading force were fellow Christians; we would kill them without prejudice.

In the west our emphasis on having a separation of church and state is only rivaled and equaled by the Islamic countries’ (See that, an identity in their spirituality.) desire to regulate through their religion. We in the west value materials and tangible life. We believe in country over God, patriotism over religion, and we have more faith and allegiance in our political leaders then we do our rabbis, priests, and preachers. Weather and which is wrong or right is not the point of this article. It is just “the facts Jack.”

In the east, and many of the “3rd world” communities around the world, a completely different flow of order exists. Where in the west we have a top down system of rules, the rugged loose fitting communities of the areas we identify as the most “problematic” are made up of communities that enforce laws from the bottom up. Our federal laws supersede our state laws. Our state laws supersede our city laws. Our city laws supersede laws laid down by our parents and our family leaders. This is 180 degrees different then a place like Afghanistan where tribal leaders hold more weight then national icons. In places like these spiritual leaders set interpret and set rules for the “family”. The state and local governments negotiate with the tribal leaders to form coalitions. The federal government seems only able to perform such activities as provide aid and step in to solve disputes between clans. Their inherent allegiances to their own tribes and spiritual ideologies often form conflicts of interest.

In the 1920’s Great Britain forced 3 major regions to become one country and called it Iraq. In the late 40’s the west paved the way for Israel to become a festering splinter in the side of the whole Middle East. History, especially recent history, is littered with the horrendous result of the west trying to force its moral perspective on the east. Since they are not a very unified culture, they are usually easily divided and corrupted.

Because we are a stable, rooted, “here and now” driven individuals, there is now way we, our politicians, and certainly not our soldiers can understand a flexible, nomadic, afterlife driven mentality. This is why no president can or will ever achieving that most prized of legacies. They don’t understand the complexity of what they seek, let alone a realistic plan to attain it. In the end our concern for their peace is driven solely by our own selfish need to have a stable and rooted entity to buy oil from.

So if GW wants to know why he is dodging shoes from the people he “liberated” this is it. These people didn’t want “liberating”. At least not all of them. If you had given them the choice of living under the oppressive rule of Saddam Hussein or having their friends, family, and countrymen murdered on a daily basis, many would choose to love under the oppression. Which they really didn’t find all that oppressive to begin with. Besides, Saddam would have been able to oppress them if the US hadn’t given him money, weapons, and training to begin with.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Case For The Big 3 Producing Junk

While listening to a couple of colleagues that other day say that they didn't want to buy an American car, because they were unreliable. Like myself they scorn NAFTA and the WTO. But there is an inherent problem with the idea of not buying "American Junk". There are only so many drivers in the country. If the policies are going to allow people from outside the economy to flood the market with product, there is going to be a point when there are more cars then there are drivers.

I read that Toyota reached a 15% market share by selling 2.5 million cars in ’07. That means 16 million cars hit the road in the US in one year. I have had a hard time figuring out exactly how many drivers are on the road. By divers license is wrong headed. Since an ID is so important, lots of people who don’t have cars have drivers licenses. Lot of people who don’t have licenses drive cars. Anyway, let us apply a little logic.

There are 300 million people in the US . I would say that if we remove anybody too old to drive, everybody under 16, the legal driving age, Those too poor to drive, and those who live in densely populated urban areas where driving is more of a hassle you end up with about half of the people. Let us call it 175 million to error on the side of caution. 175 million drivers.

We know that a car now of days last easily 10 years. I am actually looking for a junker right now. Most cars on the list are 15 years or older. It is 2008 right now, but the ‘09’s have been out for 6 months. 10 years ago, was 1999. By today’ standards still isn’t that old. Many of the Korean companies are now offering 10 year warranties!! Just at this pace alone there would be 160 million cars on the road 10 years or newer. Can you see where I am going here? The reason that the auto industry is hurting, is because everybody who wants a car has one. Now does everybody have the car of their dreams? No, of course not. The junkyards would be filled with Escorts, Chevete, and Prisms if they did. But they have the car that they are “willing and able” to buy. So either their cars have catastrophically fail forcing them to be more willing to buy a new one, or the cost of one they want has to drop to the point they are able to buy a new one. We know that pricing profit margins are too tight for the later to happen with the US big three autos.

The problem is that everybody has a car. Most people trade in their cars and it becomes somebody else’s “new to them” car. When the US let foreign auto companies into the economy, they did exactly what free markets do. They drive product ingenuity and efficiency. The problem is that they have become too efficient, too durable. Ford has been in business for 100 years. The others almost as long. What do you do when you look at the market and you realize that you are producing your product at a rate that outpaces market demand? When entities like OPEC see that in petroleum production, they cut production. The problem is that there are no such unions in the auto industry. If one auto make cuts production, they will just loose revenue. Someone else will fill the market hole.

So how do you suggest that you make sure that your factory keeps people gainfully employed for 30 years? How do you pay form these employees to be paid and retired for another 20 years? Well, if the market isn’t flooded with outside competition, you will find that you can control the prices in a way that will allow you to experience slow downs and rejuvenations. Since the market for the product is symbiotic and local to the economy, it will remain self correcting. But if outside competition is allowed into the mix, ones that have a much larger profit margin, they can easily bleed the market dry. That is where we are at now.

If you are Ford, GM, or Chevy your bet is on an outside chance that you can build brand loyalty and inferior products in hopes that they will keep you employed. It is not a very good plan, but it was the best they had. As I mentioned in the earlier posts, there was no way for these companies that had to pay American wages, follow American safety and environmental standards, and pay the taxes that US companies have to pay. The sad part is that most of the parts from all auto companies comes from outside the economy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Economics from the CEO perspective

That bout with the foreign wage blog allowed me to create a couple of good analogies that are useful for explaining this current mess. The first one comes from courtesy of my buddy Pete who just returned to the sates from a little island in the South Pacific called Tonga.

Tonga, I am told, is an island of extremely content Polynesians. They have advanced medical facilities, some industry and a 99% literacy rate. Every Tongan male is guaranteed a plot of land. Most are self sufficient and self sustaining. It is the only South Pacific nation to never be conquered or colonized. It is ruled by a monarchy in which the king must approve every facet of the economy. Let us depart from what I am sure about to using “Tonga” to a more exemplary version. (Since it is a real place, I don’t want to hear from people saying things like, “I have been there, or I know people from there who say they don’t like it.” or what ever.) So our Tongans have existed for thousands of years on this island. They grow enough food to feed themselves. If someone wants to open a new shop in the nation, the King considers the affect on the surround economy.

Let us say that on one particularly small island, there are 25 fishermen. They supply all of the islands fish needs by traditional spearing methods during low tied. The average fisherman works about 30 hours a week which includes cleaning and processing the fish for market sale. The average fishermen spear a max of 10 fish an hour or/ but averages 250 fish a week. This results in a market price for fish of about $.25 a fish. The average fisherman makes about 62.50 a week or 2 bucks an hour. A major source of the fish are Skipjack tuna. It is a highly sought after breed of tuna in the US. The US market gets about $5 a fish. So a commercial fishing company approaches the king and says, “I would like to set up a commercial fishing operation in your kingdom.” The king says that if he allows that it will cause many of his native fishermen to become unemployed. The commercial company rep offers this deal. We will employ any Tongan that looses work to our operation. We will give them twice the average salary of a fisherman. As a matter of fact we will need twice the number of fisherman to work the fleet. With the increased supplies, we will ultimately result in a “per fish” price here in Tonga of $.125. that would be a 50% drop. This all sounding fine and good to the king, he allows it.

Well the first thing that happens is that the traditional fishermen resist. But soon the price of fish drops so low that they are finding themselves working 50 hours a week to get the same wage they had made prior to the commercial company showing up. They soon give up and join the fishing company and enjoy a new level of wealth. As the next couple of years tic by, the" trickle down" effect on the economy from the new wealthier citizens causes a rise on the cost of living. The Tongans that try to remain true to the traditional way and live off the land find it harder and harder to buy things that their farm doesn’t supply. Doctors stop taking 3 chickens and a bushel of corn as payment for an office visit. Meanwhile, the fishermen are being driven to work harder and longer for the same money. They could never quit because their bills are structured in a way that only the high paying commercial job will pay the bills. If they do, the commercial fishing company will just bring in others from other Polynesian surrounding cultures to do the job the Tongans wont do. That is right, they now have "bills". Soon Tongans realize that this "fair and beneficial" agreement is neither.

The kicker of the whole thing is that the CEO of the commercial fishing company can not figure out why everybody has spite towards him. From his point of view he has paved the way for the paying of twice the average wage to the Tongan fishermen and raised their standard of living. On top of that the cost of fish has been cut in half and more Tongan people can afford it more often. Meanwhile, back in the states, all of the unemployed Tuna fishermen that would have been unable to afford $5 a fish prices can now get the Tongan tuna for only $3 a fish. He is wondering why people don’t call him a hero.

The global point here is that two cultures and economies can not mix with positive impact. There are consequences when ethics, living standards, morals, and flat out economics don't mesh.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Economics 3.141592…..Whose to blame for the Big Three Failure?

If you are wondering, the number is a reference to the illusive solution to mathematical Pi. Because our lives and times and thought streams are not infinite, we eventually have to stop. However the “butterfly effect” of any economic policy change does not stop just because we do. Ever heard two people in an economic debate who have two completely different beliefs but you find they are both making agreeable valid points? First, you need new friends and a better life if you are listening to an economic debate. Secondly the reason is that they might both be right depending on where along the chain of events you would like to stop the reasoning.

Let us look at a few examples. Many Americans from both sides of the isle hold disdain for welfare recipients. What if the government just ended it. Money is no longer flowing into the hands of people who patronize small liquor stores to Wal-Marts around the country. Farmers and textile producers will no longer be receiving the revenue generated by these consumers. That will force these producers and distributors to cut staff. That means even more people who will no longer be able to buy goods. I mean, welfare is gone. Many of these newly unemployed actually made enough to buy cars, houses, and an occasional lap dance. Now you are starting to take a bite out of the consumer base of “hard working middle class Americans.” And the collapse will continue.

Now let us apply this ripple effect to how the Detroit Big Three ended up before congress begging for money. There are a few forces at work here and enough responsibility to go around. Overall, the encompassing problem is that American business decision makers and our legislators have made policy changes to the delicate economic system as if the effects were contained in a vacuum.

I remember in the 70’s and 80’s that Japanese auto reigned king in quality. Toyota, a company that introduced its first product into the world’s strongest economy in 1957. The fact that they were allowed to offer a fuel efficient, low priced auto into the system caused ripples. Until that point the big 3 had not competition. The winner of that local competition just hired more Americans and the accounting remained balanced. Their wage structure and benefit plans were based around wholly built American products. Even if the US had wanted to build the exact same car, it would have cost them at least 15 to 20% more. Some would argue if you look at the full impact of costs and lost opportunities it is closer to 50% more. The US allowing this product, not regulated by the same costs, into the market was irresponsible. Like letting an invasive species into to lake system.

Let us look at the pickle the big three were in at that time. If they manage to muscle the very powerful UAW into accepting a huge cut in wages and benefits in order to lower the cost of their current product and/ or retool to meet the new demand for Japanese type products, they are taking money way from the consumers who buy their product. The loss of capital of course being felt throughout the system as described in the welfare example. Not a problem for the Japanese manufactures to deal with. Wage cuts seemingly a bad idea for the Big Three, the other option is to cut quality. Spend less time on R&D and revamp the marketing strategy instead. "Buy American cause it is good for America." The problem was that many of the design flaws were not caught until after they reached the market. This developed a product image problem. The other option was to employ people outside the economy to lower costs and build new products. This was ultimately the medium that they settled on. There was no winning option for Ford, GM, and Chrysler.

Also in the 60’s instead of sending our crop of bright but maybe not financially endowed young men to college, the government was sending to die in the rice patties of Vietnam. Economically, this lead post high school entities with a smaller consumer pool. That required them to charge more to cover the expenses. High educational cost are certainly contribute to the high cost of health care today. And the ripple effect continues on infinitely and in all directions. I mean we haven’t even considered the global ramifications.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Response to Foreign Wage Blog

My regular readers know that wages and the way we are compensated is a platform issue for me. The root of all that is evil and wicked. So when I cam across an article titled, “Why Are Wages Low in Developing Countries?” http://mises.org/story/3218 I couldn’t resist. I have never read more delusional, greedy driven ignorant dribble in my life. This was my response. I was trying to be brief. But that was impossible. It is this kind of backasswards thinking that put us in the sinking boat we are in now.


Wow, I have no clue what you just said. I even read it 8 times. That is double of how many time I usually read things. I am slow reader with a high comprehension level. But I guess that is what you were talking about. My productivity level is low. If one wants to justify paying me a low wage, they can say, look how slow he is. That is until somebody points out that the results is 90% less dysfunctional products make it to the market. If it was the other way around, then people would seek to say, “yeah, but look how cheep and dysfunctional the product that reaches the market is.” In which case the business you are herofying would justify paying less. This is an old magician’s trick. Ask an audience member for the answer then show them the question it fits. What do you say to the 100,000 mile warrantee with sound quality KIA and Hundi that have flooded the market? They are made with cheap labor at an efficient pace and with many of the same manufacturing statistics.

The author’s assessment that “more sweat shops” are needed in developing countries dizzies me with irrational and inhumane rhetoric. That is the nicest way I could say it. (here on my blog I can say it. He is an asshole. A clueless one at that. Look the fact is that we would round up, prosecute, and perp. march a manufacturer in say Chicago who employed 8 yr old children, worked them 60 hours a week, for $.40 a month, while billowing pollutions into our waterways and national air space. However, we don’t think twice to stampede a poor Wal-Mart security guard to death in order to get our hands on a bicycle made in China under those exact same conditions. This is an unsustainable and narrow sighted thought stream. It is one that will not allow the human race to exist for more then 3 or 4 more generations. Not at least in the capacity as we know it.

The auto industry, being from the “auto belt”, is near and dear to me. What happened was that with out trade restrictions, it was cheaper to build a cheap structure in south America and China that didn’t require the billions of dollars in environmental and human safety regulations that required millions yearly in upkeep. With them went all the supporting manufactures and the jobs they offered. The big 3 would have no problem paying the pensions if they were the only game in town. People would have no problem paying the cost of the Big 3’s prices if they all had good paying jobs themselves. The problem is that the opportunity to go to less regulated markets cost the companies who tried to remain their “national pride” two ways. They couldn’t compete with the labor costs by the wholly foreign companies, and they lost the income that was once in the hands of the local economy.

Put in an analogy. Say you live on the border of Southern California and the thought that you might like a burrito comes into your head. You have two favorites. They are your favorites because they both taste about the same. You know about the one up north because you did a plumbing repair for the owner last year. The border crossing is something you do a couple of times a week and it is no big deal. The only difference is that the restaurant in Mexico will cost you about $.40 for the dinner and a margarita. The one equally north in California will coast you about $10 for the same. So you say, “What the heck, I’ll go to Mexico and even give the guy a $1 tip and make his day.” Then one day you (Jose de fontanero) notice that your northern customer is closing his restaurant. You stop in and ask why? It turns out most people decided to make that trip down south. You just ate yourself out of a job. Take that job and multiply it time a few million, add about 10 layers of bureaucracy, and you get the impact of globalization on the auto industry. The big 3’s failures were not a result of not being able to pay pensions. Sure that is the way it looks now. They are the result of developing a business on the wrong side of the industrial development curve. All of their hard work has ended up benefiting the spoiled hands of the children who feel they deserve it. The truth is that the only thing that kept our tiny towns from being devastated by poverty earlier is that the auto industry as well as the steel industry had to pay decent wages.

The numbers you are making up are not even close. I can tell you stories that have been told by steel industry execs. That talk about the insane productivity and efficiency of Asian labor markets. One of my favorites is about a plant manager who went to see the plants in Japan. A coil came off the mill with a scratch down the side. The guy who caused it stayed after on his own time to polish it out. The next morning he apologized in person to everybody on the line for wasting their time.

What we have are two distinctly separate economies that have been raped and pillaged by people of this caliber of ignorant greed. In reality what counts is not the amount of money brought home from work to help meet basic needs, but how much time is spent away from work while still making those ends meet. If you want to equalize wages, We need to stop viewing them as hard currencies and instead as the result of labor hours. What is fair? What is the average cost of housing, groceries, and wardrobe for a year? How many labor hours does it take in the foreign markets to purchase these same necessities? That is how you judge equality.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Self Inflicted Problems. The Finger Trap Of Production Technology

When I was younger I was hired to work in a lighting factory. They had a split “shipping” and “receiving” departments. I was hired to help out in the shipping side. Eventually the orders fell a little flat. No worries, I was sent to the “receiving” side. I had been there before and always looked around in horrified amazement at how in disarray things were. There were 3 and a half people working there. (part time, not an actual half of a person.) The only way anybody knew where anything was is if you were the one who took it off the truck yourself. So bored at the lack of orders coming from the floor, I set to work on laying out an organizational floor plan. Little by little over the course of two weeks, myself and another aggressive individual got the thing in ship shape. It really took the need too have so many people in the receiving department away. So one day me and the other guy are sitting on the doc yappin’ away when in came the plant manager and asked what we were doing. He said something that sounded funny at the time. “We are receivers, we are waiting to receive.” The following week I found myself on the production floor while they waited to see if the trend was going to change. A month later, they sent me packing. For years that receiving doc had been a mess. Had I left it that way, I could have continued being a gainfully employed tax payer for another year or two at least.

Last week the CEOs of the auto industry met with congress and complained one of their flaws was that legacy costs were overwhelming. GM said that they pay 2.5 inactive workers for every active worker. I lived in a town almost entirely populated with Ford, GM, and steel mill employees. Of course there were the doctors, lawyers, teachers gas station attendants, truck drivers and parts manufactures that support the central business.

The problem is that capitalism and free enterprise eventually started to cannibalize itself as the industry advanced. I remember my father raging every time they brought a new robot into the plant to do the job of 10 men. That was 10 men who were no longer consuming. (of course that meant they were no longer buying houses, landscaping, cars, gas, paying taxes, or generally contributing to the economy in a positive manor.) Add in competition for the opening of globalization and ease of moving labor to lower cost areas, and you have a bad economic stew brewing. This problem replicated across the economy. From engineering drawings done in half the time by less people on computers and sent across the ether to the automation of gas pumps. We have capitalism and ingenuity efficiency that is developing ways for less of us to do more work in the same time while we are increasing exponentially in population. What you end up with is 2.5 retired for every one active. My father has been retired from ford for 12 years. He just turned 65 last year.

Have you ever bought an updated version of a product and asked, “That was perfect the way it was. Why did they have to change it?” The reason, engineers are paid to engineer. If they come up with the perfect version of a product, next year they still have to do something to keep their job.

I like to offer solutions. This one is about picking a point in the cycle that you want jump in on and address it. As I have posted before, we have to stop allowing products that the US could make here to be made half way around the world. Also, we need to stand up to the public and say we are no longer going to encourage population growth. In fact the government is going to discourage it.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The U.S. Economy And It’s “Quack” Doctors

So let us say that you went to the doctor’s because you were tired lately. You had experience a fainting spell or two. He runs some test on you and says, “well we have found some blockage. That is stopping the blood from getting to your brain. But rather then clear the blockage, we are going to instead just infuse more blood into your system. We will do it just on the other side of the blockage. What I need you to do is eat more Bacon and trans fat laden food. We are hoping the pressure behind the blockage will get so great, that it will blow the blockage open.”

He would probably not even finish his suggestion before you were on the phone talking to your lawyer to get the malpractice suit in the works. However, this is exactly what our fearless leaders in Washington want us to do in order to solve the blockage problems with out economic system.

I have shown my illustration of the economic system on other post. If you haven’t seen it you can see it here. Circulation diagram. Basically it resembles any fluid controlled enclosed system. Picture a cars transmission system, the hydraulic lift, or your own circulatory system. Each one of these systems uses the fluids to achieve a desired result. The fluid is just a tool. Money is the fluid in the system. You don’t desire just build up a bunch of transmission fluid in your auto but rather the forward motion generated by it flowing through the drive train. You don’t desire money (really if a genie offered you a choice all the money in the world but you were stuck on a deserted island or being completely broke in NYC but everything you wished for you got, which would you choose?), but the things you can buy with it. Until policy makers start looking at money that way, the answers to our current crisis will remain illusive. Currently these "doctors" are just treating the itchy crotch with anesthetic powder.

The problem is that as 80% of our wealth has been pooled into the top 3% or so of our population, the governments answer to it has been to introduce this false wealth in the form of loans, stimulus, and reduced regulation. Since that blockage only seems to let a “trickle” back into the circuit once it reaches the pressurized side of the clot. More and more cash infusions have had to be put back into the system. The “blockage” occurs at the market places and housing developments around the country. It is most prevalent in the “big ticket”, durable goods. The amount of people able to afford these items with out going in debt is shrinking in number.

Let us face it. When somebody wants to buy a house, what do they think of first? How much money they have in the bank or what is their credit rating? Buying stuff in this way is kind of like having blood not getting the needed oxygen to your brain. The answer is not piling on more debt by using credit (infusing blood) and paying more then it is worth (increasing the blockage) and causing the next guy to do the same. That is going to result in an aneurism, heart attack, and probably irritable bowls. Or as the economist like to call it “bubble bursts”, “unemployment”, and “recession”.

None of the solutions to this problem will look very “American” on the surface. It will mean taking from the rich, giving to the poor, and setting up rules and regulations that reflect the economy as it does today and not as it did in 1776. At least that is how the conservatives will spin it. The truth is that the rich got that way by stepping on the backs of the poor and uneducated without actually paying them for the ride. It was easy since they were hungry, desperate, and not enlightened on the impact of their decisions. (imagine your 90 yr old grandmother talking to an Internet pyramid scammer.) Justice is also an American virtue. It is time for a check-up. We are not 16 anymore and we can not consume as if we were. We are in the midst of a full blown heart attack. If these quack medics can get us stabilized, a life alteration is in order. That is a big if.

One last thought that came out while writing this that didn’t seem to fit exactly. So many Americans are so afraid of activities that get marketed as “un-American” that they will do some pretty derogatively foreign things just to keep up their self appearance. They are so afraid of being stabbed that they will throw themselves on the sword to avoid it. I might use this later, but it is here for now.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Credit In The Simplest Terms Possible. I Think

Hello all. A couple of times this week I have been asked to explain why a bank is different then an automaker when it comes to government regulation and intervention. I have said time and again that I believe that credit is equivalent to legalized counterfeit money. But even that seems to not be clear enough. “So what is wrong with counterfeit money.”

Let me ask a few questions. You can think to yourself or shout the answers out loud. Do you have a credit card debt? Do you know anybody who doesn’t have a credit card debt? You know, you are out at the bar or to eat with them do they always pay in cash? Do you know anybody over 20 that has none of the following. Home loan, car loan, school loan, or credit debt? Do you know people who work hard, make a decent wage, do the right things financially, but are still struggling? Do you have a years worth of savings accumulated in case joblessness or illness occurs? So how can it be that so many of us are working our butts off, making an alright living, not living lavish lives, and still could not make it a year with out income. Now, under that guise let us talk about the affect of credit on the US economy.

Let us say that there are two consumers. Consumer A (conA) and consumer B (conB). A little background. Both work blue collar jobs making about the same amount of money. Both are looking to marry their current sweethearts (a mistake that we will deal with on a different day) buy a nice moderate home near where they work, have a couple of children and live out the American Dream. For ease we are going to suspend some disbelief for a time and removed elements of time, market size, and realistic values. These two have happened upon an article that says, “Home for sale. Am selling Sunday to best offer, by 5 PM, no matter what.”

Come Sunday our two consumers show up at 3 PM. They bring the full amount that they have amassed to make a home purchase to date. ConA has $4500 in hand. ConB has $5000. They both really like the house, and it is everything they are looking for. Neither of them have debt, credit, or other obligations currently. They have other money, but this is what they have saved up to buy their dream home with. Since basic economics (and auction sales) tells us that a product is worth the highest amount consumers are “willing and able” to pay for it. In this case, ConB has set the market price with his ability to offer 5 grand. However, the bankers circling like vultures across the street see what is going on. So they swoop in and make an offer to ConA. The banker says, “If you give me $1200 in two months I will give you $1000 right now.” Now ConA doesn’t have the extra $1000 let alone $1200. It will take him the whole 2 months just to save up the extra cash. ConA really wanted the house though. Not to mention his wife to be is there making eyes at him and nagging him to “just do it.” So he does. The house has just artificially been increased to $5500, well ConA would actually have to get $5700 out of it in order to get his “investment” back.

ConB likes the house equally. But, he is able to resist the pressure from his fiancé. He decides to do the right thing and not go into debt. But guess what. Everybody in the neighborhood found out that the house went for $5500. They all feel their houses are worth more than the dive that ConB bought. So they all immediately ask for at least $5500 out of their house. Also, As a matter of fact, it seems that these financial loan sharks have been busy and stationed all about the place offering people the ability to outbid other potential buyers for the homes they want now.  Each banker trying to walk that line that will keep the home buyer in the  house long enough to make their investment back.  What ConA learns is that the only way he will ever get a decent house is to take the loan, buy into the madness. Well he could wait another 15 years saving up while at the same time housing prices balloon. By then his sweetheart will have whooed ConB into dumping that bitch that talked him into going in debt and letting her move into the house of her dreams. The problem is that over the 15 years he was saving, the market is now asking a quarter million dollars for homes that cost $5000 only 20 years ago.

With the advent of a credit card, this phenomenon has occurred in every product consumed in the US. Whether it be cars, homes, education, clothing, food, or sex wax (the stuff they put on surf boards), the price they can get for it is artificially propped up by the availability of credit. The fact that everybody else can afford to by everything with money they haven’t earned yet, allows the price of everything to rise to unreasonable prices.

Look, there is no reason a reasonable house should take you 30 years to pay off. There is no reason you should leave college with a 30 year that you have to pay off. A car should not be something you are paying on long after you are getting repair bills for it. Your wife should not be at the store spending money you are at work making at the very moment you are making it. (That reminds me. I got to call my wife.)

The government has a responsibility to controlling the amount of buying power in the system. Money was designed as a tool.  It was supposed to represent hours of labor and supliment and add function to the barter system.  Instead it has iteslf become something people feel they have a right to possess. They (the government) go through great strain to control the amount of money and wealth in circulation but neglect the giant leaking hole in their theory by the way of credit. Morons one and all they are.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

If You Are bailing Out Your Automobile…

….Then you have taken a wrong turn somewhere. That said, I still believe bailing out the auto industry is way smarter then bailing out any financial industry. Now, that is not to be confused with the fact that I don’t really think that anybody should be bailed out, especially when they make short sighted selfish decisions. However, it seems that our government is dead se upon taking this path, so prioritization has to occur or the impact will be next to nil. If your building is crumbling, it does no good to patch the walls on the 6th floor while ignoring the foundation.

Here is what we know about financial institutions. Generally they were created to allow more free exchange of money between businesses. You didn’t have to walk into the tanners shop with a pouch full of gold to buy materials to make your boots. People knowing that wouldn’t be so inclined to wait outside the tanners residence and roll the business men as they approached. So banks supplied and cashed checks and protected the gold. Then they got the idea that they might hold your money (the everyday consumer) when your loving homestead was a little too unsecured to guarantee its safety. Basically at that point, they sold checks. Sure this is a very generalist view of the beginning of banks. So the bankers were sitting around their meeting table asking, “How can we make more money?” One guys brings up this idea getting people to pay more for products then the market price. He had to explain that it could be accomplished by giving people money immediately in exchange for them giving the bank more money back, but over the course of time. With that came the birth of credit. “Financial institutions” (or “money changers” as the Bible calls them) are organizations that make their livelihood by getting people to pay more for products then they are worth. Business, people, heck even show animals can buy stuff with money they haven’t earned yet, and might not earn.

Real quick quiz. Can you name the one thing in the paragraph above that has to exist in order for this to a fruitful economy to exist? Hint #1, it wasn’t credit. Credit wasn’t around for thousands of years while economies emerged. Hint#2, it wasn’t money. Money too came late. One could still live today on the barter system. Oh, I see you jump up with your hand ion the air shouting, “PRODUCTS!! We have to have products.” Right, a bootmaker could trade a family’s worth of boots to a farmer for a years supply worth of vegetables. He can then trade some of those vegetables to the tanner for more leather. See, no money, no credit. A functional economy without “financial institutions”. Try having a functional US economy without cars. Here we are talking about “energy independence” while we slip into transportation dependence?

The Auto industry supplies “products”. Something solid that the community as a whole needs. The credit industry only makes everything cost more. If a bank won’t give a loan for a new car? Good! Eventually that car will cost its real market value and people will pay for them with the money they already have. If there are no cars for transportation in this country, it can be a much more dire situation.

So bail out the auto industry but put stipulations on it. No more screwing the American people by selling them cars that intentionally do not last that long. Quit scamming with the oil companies to produce only inefficient engines. Last, we expect to see a reduction in large unnecessary vehicles. I don’t care what the demand is. People are dumb, stop catering to it.

That is why it makes more sense to bail out the auto industry then it does the credit industry.

As Much About “Good-Byes” As “Welcomes”

There is still this euphoria in the air almost two weeks after Barack Hussein Obama (lol, now I just love saying his whole name. It really twists the dagger in the belly of the paranoids) was elected. There are many reasons for this group hysteria. But two can sum up most of the rhetoric.

A couple of varieties belong to the first group. First there are the “minority”, especially African-Americans, who woke up on November 5th with the reality that a glass ceiling had been drilled through for them. When listing successful role models for their children, they could now include Obama and the office of the leader of the free world as a possibility when they grow up. It was the kicking of the dirt in the face of, and the result of, slavery and Jim Crow era mentalities. These attitudes still exist, but they are being buried generation by generation. People around the country and around the world have to see and respect the US in a new light. At least that is the hope. I am not so far from the era when I asked, “what could be worse the Bill Clinton” that is am willing to accept the coming of a new messiah. I am however, aware of the magnitude of the results that have already occurred before he even sets foot in the oval office.

Another group are the liberals that really understood what Obama was about and his political agenda. They have pinned their hopes for the future on a man that they believe will shape the country to their own ideals. The two demographics make up the “welcoming committee” for the president elect.

Then there is the other gathering of people. Standing along the perp walk out the back door is probably most of the world. These are the people waiting to cheer the departure of the Bush administration. These are the people who came to the “Anybody But Bush” party. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough Americans at the party in 2004. Many of them voted for this asshole in 2000. Many of them that wanted to know what was so “conservative” about two chosen wars, a giant trade deficit, and an economy that is in the shitter. This group come from a wide variety of personal constitutions. The only constant is that the Bush administration walked all over their beliefs, and they can’t wait for him to clear out.

So long Mr. Bush. History will remember you are the worse president in US history. You are truly an idiot among retards.

The Piling on of Palin

No this post is not a review of the new Larry Flynt movie. I was going to let the election go and get back to thought exercises in politics, economics, psychology, war, and peace. However, many issues have been generated and brought to light, since the election that seems to go unanswered. One I keep hearing on my new favorite comedy channel, FOX, is why doesn’t the media “just leave Sarah alone!!”

Most common are statements like, “the election is over. Let it go.” Well there are two reasons that this “pile on” has occurred. One is to ensure that such dangerous and destructive behavior never happens again. This ignorant, self serving, mental midget should never get that close to the White House. Kind of like when you’re a kid and your parents catch you smoking and ground you for a month after beating your ass and screaming at you for an hour and an eternity. The kid is thinking, “Great, I got it. Don’t smoke.” By the sounds of the sediment on these conservative venues, they still don’t get it. So we are going to keep reminding them.

Look, because the conservative side of the spectrum that is NOT beating Ms. Congeniality down and telling her to be happy with the post in Alaska that the punishment continues. Not only are they not checking her, the Republican extremists are trumpeting her and many calling her “the face of the future Republican Party.” That is OK. She can be the “face”, but don’t let her be the “brains”. It would be a pleasure to watch her in 2012 try though. Oh my. The aggressive and angry republican debates would be a source for great entertainment. It would be good for her young children, her daughter’s young children, as well as her daughter’s 3rd baby daddy who is living with them to see Ms. “I can see Alaska from my house” tore into mental shreds by the Republican grinding wheel. Not to mention, Tina Fey is hot and I would love to see her return to SNL. They are going to need to run another sacrificial lamb in four years.

The second reason the media will layoff is because Sarah doesn’t know when to shut up. (As I am writing this, is a montage of Sarah on last nights media playing in the background.) She is talking about things like “open doors”, “God’s hands”, and “don’t know what the future holds”. HERE IS A CLUE HONEY. As a leader, it is your job to plan for the future! Plans most often don’t work as written out on paper. If we were just going to react to whatever comes our way, we wouldn’t need a leader. But a plan, well they are guidelines and help keep the team in focus.

Sarah is also complaining about not getting to give a “shout out” at the defeat speech. It is because you wanted to make a “shout out” that they didn’t let you speak. In my history, I have been in the room with people who wield a great amount of power and deserve a great amount of respect. I have been in rooms with people who hold my future comfort level in their hands. I have been in these positions with people who were less then socially aware of that fact. Nothing like trying to present a business proposal with an associate who thinks farting in the middle of the meeting is humorous.

Friday, November 7, 2008

The Wealthy Pay Most Of The Taxes

So looking at the understanding that we work to gain the resources to buy goods and services as Highlighted in the post, below titled “Employment And The Work To Time Ratio”. Through a series of thought exercises I think I adequately established that desire to work for those things are tempered by the time we are asked to spend earning it. That leads me to one of my economic pet peeves.

Back to economics. Do you know what I am about sick to death of hearing. “The top 10% pay 80% of the taxes.” Or something along that lines. Alright, this is about logic here, right? Yep I looked up and sure enough right at the top of the page I make reference to the posts being about taking “logical approaches”. So let us apply it to this Irrational claim. In one of those stupid long posts about “wage reform” I covered this basic idea. I hope to make it clearer here.

If every capitalistic read blooded American is really working for time, then isn’t time the factor by which we make that tax assessment on. Why pick the dollar value. Like I pointed out before. There are two factors that form a ratio there. They are equally weighted. Money over time or dollars/ hour. Why do we have to pay the government in dollars. Why isn’t the 1040 filled in with hours. Probably because most of us would understand how little we deserve that guilt place on us by the “10% pay all the taxes” statement. It would aslo make us sad to see how many hours we have to put in before we start making money.

What if I told you that, Richard S Fuld Jr (CEO of Lehman Brothers who is currently receiving bailout money from the government.) paid $24,600,000 in taxes for the year of 2006. He made $123 million that year. What if I told you that Joe Smith (He is a janitor the cleans the toilets at Lehman’s main office.) paid $5,200. He made $20,800 that year. Who would you say paid more in taxes? For those of you who think Joe, you are dismissed for the day. I will see you at the bar in a few min. Those of you who say, “well obviously Richard paid more”, dope slap yourself and pay attention. Like I said before, we work for time as well as money. CEO “Rich” worked only 416 hours to pay off his tax obligation. He needs the extra time to spend all of that cash. His accountant somehow got him down into the 20% bracket. Joe “the janitor” used Turbo Tax to pay 25%. He has to work 520 hours to pay off his tax obligation. Good thing he was at work that extra time, or he might have been tempted to spend money he didn't have. Don’t think that happens? Warren Buffet recently condemned the system that allowed him to pay less taxes then his secretary.

So the next time somebody spouts on about the fact that the rich pay more in taxes, look at them, shake your head and say, “You voted for Palin didn’t you?” This is code for you are a giant idiot. You can try to explain this to them, but they won’t get it.

Employment And The Work To Time Ratio

Alright, I think I got most of my disgust with the American voters out of my system. Back to the work of whipping our foreign and domestic world back into shape. I am planning on getting back to writing the book now that the distraction of current events via the election is over. So to the three people who read this, you might find longer periods between posts here. You may also notice some rehashed ideas as I try to make them more read worthy.

Do you go to work to make money? No, you don’t go to work to make money! What good is money? It is a piece of paper with a dead guy’s picture on it. You can’t eat it. Most of us don’t make enough to make clothing out of it. And none of us make enough to form it into a suitable housing environment. Not to mention that it is illegal to use money in this fashion. So money will not even serve to help with the three basic needs. A giveaway might be that now a days we don’t even see the money we earn. It just goes to a bank, and then on to a vendor. As a final test, would you go to work if you weren’t paid? I hear a resounding “NO!” How about if the offer was that you didn’t get paid, but you were given a card that you could use to buy whatever you wanted, no restrictions? I think I just changed the “No” into a “hell yeah!”

So we are getting somewhere. You are going to work so you can obtain goods or services that you might enjoy. So when might you enjoy most of these goods and services? I think I can safely assume that you are not wanting to drive your brand new Mustang around the parking lot at work while answering business phone calls or flipping whoppers. Not to mention, getting a “happy ending” while trying to slaughter a chicken might be distracting and frowned upon by the FDA. However, secretaries, fast food preparations, and slaughterhouse employees are all members of the “workforce”. So are CEO’s. As we have already established people don’t go to work to earn money, they go to work to earn things. But, things can be considered useless with out the other factor in our equation. CEO's, Whopper Floppers, and strippers all make different amounts. While the amount of money is different, one constant in the US is the amount of hours. The magic number is 40 for most US employees.

Next proposition. We have given you a card that you can go buy anything you want with, but here is the catch. Your job is basically a prison. You must work 365/24/7. Sure you can order stuff online and have it sent to your house. But, you are contracted until age 65, and if you break it, we take all of your stuff back, and then some in penalty. Until that day of retirement, you must keep giving those lap dances non-stop. Still interested? I am going to say most of you will say two things. First, who wants a lap dance from a 60 yr old stripper, and second “no deal!” How about we let you work 160 hours a week and let you go enjoy yourself 8 full hours a week. I am going to assume that I am not getting many people responding to my employment ad. How many hours are you willing to work per week for that magic card? Let me tell you something, whatever number you give me now will steadily decline as you acquire more things. I think I have sufficiently proven that we go to work for the resultant of two issues. We are employed to buy things and time to enjoy them. It is a ratio that varies from person to person. In the US it is a ratio of 40 hours per week at a rate of about $18.50 is the average.

This is an important concept to grasp when trying to achieve many of the goals of our politics. fairness, justice, and quality of life for Americans can only be obtained as long as this concept is understood. Remember, of those two elements, only one is finite. Time is something the government can not create more of.

This was supposed to be a post about fair taxation, but I have held your attention span way too long. So I will break it into another post.

48%, Sarah Palin, and the Most Dangerous People In America

I said to a co-worker that it didn’t amaze me that Obama won, it was more amazing that 48% of the country voted for him. I am going to pretty safely assume that nobody who voted for the McCain/ (ehhm) Palin ticket is reading a “blog” called Logic And Politics. The very name inherently a turn off to people of that mental capacity. So, let’s talk about them.

First, a little more about John McCain. I don’t know who the guy is that ran, I voted for a John McCain in the 200o primaries. The guy who voted against the “Bush Tax Cuts” that has lead to the skyrocketing unemployment and trade deficit turned into it’s biggest cheerleader. His foreign policies made real sense back then. Today they are the chest thumping of war apes that has lead us into the disrespect of the world. He s an idiot.

Now 48% of you still found it acceptable top vote for him after his major swing in ideologies, and after his pick of the dumbest woman on Earth, you are morons. Your threat and right to vote is actually the biggest security flaw in America. (As I explained in earlier posts about this woman, I am unusually bitter about this issue because I felt it jeopardizes my family, friends, and own life.) You people should find a brick wall, hang a nut from a string, and then run your heads into the nut and try to crack it. Don’t worry about your brain, because you weren’t using them anyway. At least you can use your head as a nut cracker.

I don’t care if you are pro-gun, Pro-Life, Anti-gay marriage. If this woman was running the country you wouldn’t have to worry about any of that. We would be over run with financial and hostile breaches. Saying that she could, “hold the most complex job in the world and choose people who can make the right and rational decisions” is a huge suspension of disbelief.

My only hope is now that just how fucking stupid she was, is coming out of the McCain inner camp members is a lesson to the extreme right and its supporters. But somehow I doubt it. Because they were that blissful to begin with.

To you Ms. Palin, I do not know if you were so ignorant that you didn’t realize how dangerous you were, or if you realized that your stupidity was a bigger threat to US national security then al Qaeda and greed drove you to pursue this dangerous path anyway. But in either case it makes me think maybe Obama should invade the country of Alaska and take its oil resources for its own.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Go Home And Good Riddens John McCain

You had billed yourself as an “American Hero”, but in the end your divisive and irrational campaign placed America in wore danger then al Qaeda could have ever imagined. I do not know what happened to that guy I voted for back in the 2000 primary campaign. I suppose he went off to the same place as the liberal democratic vice president that almost won the job in 2000, Joe Lieberman. But the dirty conniving underhanded fool that has had the American political spotlight for the past 8 months is not the same John McCain.

I wish only the worst for you and your shallow family. I hope your cheap beer pedaling wife relapses into her addiction and dies groveling on a street corner poor and destitute. I hope you leave this world slightly senile, in pain and destitute from the health care system that you so boldly feel can regulate itself. You are a wasted and reached old man. Your “anything to win” policy of the last few months are despicable and reflective of all the negative things that your generation has imposed upon us younger generation that has lead to our economic and foreign respect demise.

Your pick of Sarah Palin to be your replacement should your 72 year old cancer ridden, war abused health give out is the most dangerous, greed driven, and irrational decision made by any politician any time in the U.S. short history. Osama Bin Laden makes more considerate decisions to the US population then you displayed with her selection. She is somebody you never met, didn’t know, wasn’t properly vetted, and was completely unqualified to take your notes, let alone be VP. She was an ex beauty queen at the professional level. I guess that is in line with your shallow decision making in the past. From leaving your disabled wife and children for a 20 year younger wealthy bar fly, to the causes and adopting of children who had appearance afflictions your shallowness shines through. Ms Palin was based on your belief that the rest of America was as depthless and thin as you. Come on she went to 5 schools just to become a weather forecaster. She believes the world is only 6000 years old. And she has been pregnant as long as she has been in public office. It would only take a 10 min. conversation to figure out she is dumber then a box of painted rocks. This is what you would leave the children of America to be championed by if your number should get called? Reckless.

“A hero who will fight for America?” First you have to define the qualities that make up America and being American. To most of us, fairness, honesty, sacrifice, courage, bravery, and truth are the qualities our founders meant to define us. You have practiced none of them in this past election. You might have fought for America, been imprisoned for America, and even served America your whole life, but you were given the chance to exemplify what it means to be one. Through all of this, you are no American John McCain. You are a disgrace. You are spit on the flag, and effigy of an America. Go now home in disgrace knowing you had a chance to be an American and failed. Go Home.

Barack Wins!! Congrats, No Time For Disneyland

This is truly a great day for America . If for no other reason, then it shows that the marketing of name recognition and fear has been overcome. A guy with the same name of the US “enemy #1” in 2003 was elected. Great America, enough of you have risen above your prejudices and shallow thought stream. There is no doubt you elected the better of the two contenders.

Barack, to you I have to say that you have inherited this office at a time that will allow no rest. You do have great support form the legislative branch to get things done. Your mission is three fold. First, you are the Commander in Chief. Get out troops out of the Middle East. I know you have been thumping your chest on Afghanistan. But now it is time to get real. You are never going to get an area made up of religious tribal clans that put more merit in the local cleric then they do state government to cooperate as a unified people. You have a better chance of getting every member of congress to agree on a healthcare bill. Send in intelligence agents and leave a small strike force behind to take out training camps as they rise up. Too many families are without crucial members and too much money has been spent chasing a ghost. When the people you are fighting and the people you are protecting are the same people, you have a futile mission.

The second issue at hand is the economy. It is time to start weaning the country off the addiction. No not the “addiction to foreign oil” that you have been stumping about. The addiction to credit. Shack that addiction and the rest of them will find their own solutions. It is going to require heavy decision that will lead to people suffering for awhile. But like an addict going through a dangerous withdraw; healthy and full lives await those who make it to the other side.

The last part of this commission will be to set a good example for faithful and doubters alike. You have an even more critical role then previous democrats have played. You have to be an exemplary display for your perceived race, party, and age bracket. People will be watching your every step. This doesn’t mean to make decisions based upon what people are expecting or wanting you to do. It means, don’t act in a hypocritical manor. Don’t say you are an honest committed family man and then get caught in a compromising position. On this day, black and other minority children who could aspire to be many things in America, have a new aspiration. They see a face that they recognize as the leader of their great nation. Don't let them down. Try not to give the ignorant critics any reason to say, "See I told you so."

With that I wish you a fine career. I will be watching and criticizing every decision you make. It is my nature. But, don't assume it’s a sign of disrespect. As of this day you have my utmost respect. It is up to you to keep or loose it. Now, get to work. You are already slacking.

Friday, October 31, 2008

The “Turning Out” Of America

So when you go to buy a new car, what is the first thing the salesman asks you? It is not, “what price are you looking to buy at?” It is, “What do you want your monthly payment to be?” We will let you sign and drive today. It resembles a crack dealer giving away the first rocks. We have stopped structuring our finances around what we earn weekly, and instead started structuring it around what minimum payments we can make monthly. Making monthly payments on “happiness” is fine. That is as long as you have a job that will let you make them. The problem is what happens if you no longer have a job? I don’t care how you renegotiate that house loan. If you have no job, you aren’t going to be able to pay anything.

McCain: Those Jobs Aren’t Coming Back. “I’ve got to give you some straight
talk—I can’t turn that around,” McCain said. “I can’t look you in the eye and
tell you I believe those jobs are coming back.” (Grand Rapids Press, 4/23/08)

Well with that attitude we won’t. What he is essentially saying is that we are destined to be a third world country cleaning the toilet bowls of the emerging economies. This is the kind of talk a pimp might use to groom his latest project. “look, I love you so I am going to tell you the truth. Your future is hopeless, but IF you do a few things for me, listen to me, I can make it at least profitable. I love you.”

On one side we are given credit. We get hooked on it like a drug. We believe we need it to survive. To get the same fix we keep “needing more”. On the other side we have our own government beating us down with their “trickle down economics” that keeps us just rich enough to satisfy our fix. In the mean time we don’t notice that our good paying jobs are going over seas. The next thing we know, we are doing whatever it takes to get that American dream. Financing education, housing, transportation, food, clothing, and even insurance for the whole thing. (Insurance with is really building credit for a mishap that might happen.) This is burning the candle at both ends and in the middle. Less job s for lower income with money that we already have spent.

The credit concept works great until the time comes that we have domestic policy leaders that lead us from our upper middle class paying unskilled jobs at the Ford Plant to the unemployment line and/ or to the stocking shelves of Wal-Mart. When policies are made to allow good paying jobs to leave the US economy and enrich a poorer economy, we are then doomed to the crisis we are in now. With monthly obligations to pay for the stuff we already “bought” we “owe” our keepers. John McCain has said time and time again, he doesn’t believe that “good industrial jobs are coming back.”

Not all of us are smart enough to be doctors, lawyers, or beauty pageant queens from Alaska. Not all of us are built for high paying secure educational jobs. Some of us are fantastic at using our backs, blood, sweat, and even tears to make our salt. That doesn’t mean we deserver to work 180 hours to get the same compensation the CEO that has sold us down the river makes in 40 hours. We have factory jobs to produce electronics, plastic dishes, toys, and automobiles being done over seas. The jobs that are done here we are learning to use robots and computers to do the work of 10 men. We no longer can afford to have one parent stay home and educate the children functionally enough to succeed in higher education. At the same time everything cost so much that a weeks pay isn’t cutting it for basic and extended basic needs. IF that wasn’t bad enough, competition for the jobs and the goods has accelerated. We now have twice as many people on earth as we did when JFK was president. Now if the jobs are going away and/ or being done more efficiently ad there are more of us looking for them, how id giving up on the ones that we do have and need going to get us out of the mess? There surely must be something that we can do that is always in demand wherever there are people.

The people who tell you that “the production jobs are gone”, are trying to get you to accept a life of prostitution. Don’t believe them. Listen to anybody who says they are willing to try to keep those jobs at home.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Economy Needs Cures And Not More Remedies

The current crisis will never be solved by anything more then remedies until somebody calls a duck a duck. Credit is unhealthy, even cancerous to a free market economy. In the US we have laws against making counterfeit money. Why? Because adding money without adding actual wealth to the system weakens the integrity, allows stagnation to occur, and causes inflation as “bidders” in the auction known as the “free markets” are able to bolster the price of goods and services using money they don’t securely have. If everybody had to pay cash at time of delivery for every house bought, the average price of a house would be about $20,000 in the current environment. In reality, the cost of living would be somewhere around 1950’s levels.

This self defeating activities are not limited to credit. We have immigration laws. Why? Because illegal immigrants do the same to our labor pool as counterfeit money and credit do to our wealth. Drugs are legal that are worse for our health then the ones that are illegal are encouraged and fined at the same time. On and on the paradoxes continue.

To cure our economy, instead of just remedy, and the current crises two things must happen. First, the legislators must realize controlling who gets credit and how freely it is distributed is as much a part of their job as it is to control the Fed’s printing presses. In reality, that is what credit distributing companies are doing, allowing counterfeit money to enter the system. There is a reason every dollar bill has, “property of the US government” written in it. Because money is a function of the system. It is not a right of the citizens as many conservative minded people seem to think.

The second is that the legislators need to stop indirectly trying to influence wages in the system and take a more direct, but free market, approach to minimum wage. The current static number needs to be replaced with a dynamic “minimum percentage”. This free market symbiotic method of setting a wage floor would be more effective. If the economy needs to increase circulation, the legislators could simply increase the minimum percentage. That would hold the top in check, while delivering market stimulation to the bottom and most immediate participants in the economy.

Credit should be a tool, like printing more money, in order to influence and tweak the system. Want to stimulate the economy? Release a few billion in credit to the financial institutions. They can "bid" on the credit by offering the terms in which they will be extending the credit. The best terms for the public will be allotted their desired amount of credit. If the prices are getting out of hand, a recall could be issued to the financial companies to reduce their credit lines. This would inherently force financial companies to consider the risk they are getting involved with.

The US economy doesn’t need more remedies. It needs cures. Those cures are going to require that the American people give up on these ideals of entitlements that were never part of the original promises.

A Spineless Traitor And His Endorsement

So Powell endorsed Obama with three weeks to go until the general election. Whooptee-doo. Mr. Powell. I know some in the media with short memories and in search of liberal based drama are happy to hear about the once respected Republican general who was George Bush’s main advisor in the lead up to the Iraq invasion. They are happy to hear him turn traitor to his own part. They easily forgive that he tuned his tricks on against the American people in 2002.

Colin Powell could very well have been the first African American president. He had the respect and ear of the full spectrum of the political arena. His silence and reluctance spoke volumes about what he believe during the run up to the war. He was the one person that could have swayed enough of the right people to change their minds about the necessity to go into Iraq. He was known for being cautious and reserved about using force. Many of the cheerleader around Bush were know as “War Hawks”. If Powell had spoken out or even threatened to and followed through with a resignation, this unjust war of choice at the expense of the poor and ignorant might not have been approved. The US diplomatic and economic security might not have suffered the reprehensible damage that we are currently experiencing. North Korea and Iran wouldn’t be laughing in our face about our threats. Al Qaeda would not exist any longer.

But no, in spite of the intelligence being delivered to Colin by his own office’s intelligence service, Colin fell in line and supported information that he never appeared comfortable endorsing. He admits that he pressured the Administration to reconsider it’s decision to engage in the Iraq war. That means one of two things when you read between the lines. He either A) didn’t believe the intelligence being presented by the CIA, or B) he didn’t believe Iraq having a nuclear weapon was a threat to the security of the US or its allies. Yet there he was in front of the UN with a pointer showing some RVs that they had “confirmed held elements of a nuclear weapons program. It turned out not only to be false, but many knew it was false even as Colin was delivering his speech.

So “thank”, but “no thanks” for the endorsement Mr. Powell. Your timing coming after the primary, three weeks before the general election, and after it is obvious that Obama has the presidency wrapped up is only a further demonstration of your spinelessness. You had a real chance to change the destiny of this country. To move us into a new realm and demonstrate that we had learned the lessons of wars and years past. But you didn’t. So take your endorsement and shove it . You are ultimately a disgrace to you country, you service, the soldiers, and even your race. Go fade into obscurity and let history for get you ever existed.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Housing And The Mutually Accepted Lie

Before I get into this post too far, I would like to apologize to all my friends that I convinced buying a house was a good idea. So here is goes. John, I am sorry. I am an idiot. There that feels better. At least I don’t have many friends and the few I do have are more sensible then to listen to me. Poor John. Wait till I tell him the truth about getting married. Then there is having a kid.

Now for the rest of you. If you have bought a house, then I am sorry I didn’t get to you sooner. If you have not, you can send me any portion of your windfall I have saved you that you want to help with my monthly sentence.

We have all heard the statement, “buying a home is an investment. It is investing in your future.” People are still saying it today even in the face of the current crisis. Do me a favor. The next time somebody says that in your presence, dope slap them and send them this post.

Here is a story that is actually a combination of stories that could easily been one couple. It will illustrate with real numbers the hazards of believing that lie.

In the late 90’s a young couple had been living in a beautiful apartment overlooking the lake. It had an in-ground swimming pool, workout room, sauna, and free utilities. The whole package cost $550 for the first couple of years, drifted up to $650, and now had they been there 10 years later it would have cost $850 a month. If you averaged the 10 year period it comes out to be around $700 a month.

But did our young couple stay in their cozy apartment? Nooo. They bought into the lie. They went out and bought a cheap house for their area. Out the door after tax and titling they financed $100,000. Luckily for them the “American Dream Act” allowed them to put no money down and get a 6.1% rate. That ends up being a $606 a month mortgage payment. But wait!! There’s more!! This payment estimate doesn’t include property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs. Remember how I told you that their rent included utilities? These first two, are often rolled into the monthly payment and make it vary from $850 to $950 depending on various confusing banker math calculations. For sake of argument we will say the average was $900 a month total payment. Just in that alone there is a $2,400 savings if they had stayed in their apartment. That alone is a $24,000 over the course of 10 years.

Then there were those “maintenance costs”. Plumbing problems, lawns mowing, leaf blowing, flowerbed planting, snow plowing, and appliance repairing are all part of this category. Over the course of that ten years, the couple spends $30,000 on these things that would have been included in their rent. (Did I mention that apartment overlooked the lake and had a nice place to shore up a 25’ O’Day sailboat with a cabin and nice sails.) This maintenance did include siding. A roofing job is on the horizon for the next 10 years. So 10 years into this they are down $54,000.

But wait there is more. When they moved from that apartment, did they just move in and accept the house the way it was with the furniture they already had? Noooo. They needed to fill the new place up. It needed a refrigerator, washer and dryer, and a couch to fill up the new bigger living room. All the sudden that 19” TV ain’t cuttin’ the mustard either. Since the happy couple spent all of their money just getting into the house, they will have to put all these new “investments” on their 16% APR credit cards. Of course before any of that can be moved in, the carpet had to be replaced, the walls had to be painted, and ceiling need retextured. So go ahead and add another $10,000 to the first 10 year period. The now not so young couple are down $64,000 over where they would have been if they had stayed in the apartment.

So I bet you are saying, but look how much they have paid off towards their future. At the 120 payment mark. You’ll be shocked to know the happy couple still owes $86,134. As a matter of fact, they will not even cross the half way point until the middle of 21st year. Of course that assumes they didn’t take out a second mortgage or refinance. If they put that $64,000 (not including any interest they might have earned) as a down payment only 10 years later, their monthly payments would be $218 plus tax and insurance. Of course I recommend doubling up on payments, raising that total to $306 per month. All tolled a $100,000 loan at a rate of 6.1% for 30 years costs $218,000. oops. Market value of a 60 year old house when it is paid off? $200,000. Provided the area didn’t get worse or the housing market didn’t collapse.

No “investment” should cost you more then double the market price you agreed to pay for it. You shouldn’t have to work your whole life to pay for it. And it should be yours to keep or get rid of at will.

But wait there is more!! There were other things that are not so tangible. Let’s say that shortly after getting this new home one of them lost their job. With the reduction of income, they starts running up credit debt. They fall behind on a payments. The price of the house just rose up. Or, the government taps one of our fine examples to go be employed in a tropical environment. The bad news, the pay is pretty low. The good news, the locality will be at a residence with jumping dolphins in a clear blue ocean creek just beyond the in ground pool. Room and board is covered. The work is fulfilling and outside of work is even more fulfilling. But our couple can’t accept the job because they have that “investment” hanging around their neck. They could not have paid for it with the new arrangements. Yet another scenario might be that the unemployed member gets offered a job 30 miles further away. With gas prices on the rise, it was hardly worth the trip. But, the choices are limited since moving before the house is sold is out of the question. In this market? Good luck.

Through all this stress, as more then 50% of young couples do, they divorce. They sell the place at a loss, and his credit is screwed up for 10 years. They got along great when there weren’t money problems to argue about. Makes one wonder if they would have made it if they had stayed in the apartment.

So how do you feel about “investing” in a home now? Amass a large of a down payment as you can and then never take more then 15 years to pay off the house. Again, I am sorry John. Whatever you do, don’t get your new wife pregnant.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Joe Plumber: What he Doesn’t Understand

Meet Joe. He is a plumber whose business is earning $250,000 “taxable income”. (remember that. We will come back to it.) Now without actually seeing the change to the code proposed it would be hard to tell how much that is going to affect “Joe”. But when Joes says, “Why aren’t people calling my plumbing service anymore?’ Because they are broke Joe. Their houses sit vacant, and they have plenty of time, since they are unemployed, to snake their own drain.

As I had mentioned in earlier post, no business considers tax cuts as reasoning to hire new employees. The Feds might give you a 2% cut, but the local and state government might raise it 3%. No Joe hires because he has so much work that he and his current employees can’t cover it with overtime. But is people don’t have jobs or money they can use to hire a plumber, all the tax cuts for big business in the world won’t help Joe.

Joe, Joe, now look at me Joe. Look me in the eyes. I don’t want you to miss this. You are a dammed liar. You call that “your money”. You know what your tax rate is before you bill. You figure that expense into your bill. That money was never yours. When you fill out your bill at the end of the day, why do you take the money of your poor customer? Money that you figured taxes into when you generated the bill. So don’t tell me that the government is taking your money.

Here is what Joe didn’t tell you. He is driving a brand new $75,000 fully decked out Silverado that you the tax payer paid for. See when he did the taxes at the end of the year he pulled a trick that George Bush allowed by expanding a loophole. (My Uncle who is a plumber did this after I told him about it.) Tax Code 179 "the rapid depreciation break" allows people to completely right off the cost of a utility vehicle over a certain tonnage. Of course, he can only use it as a "business vehicle." I got $3000 for my hybrid. Joe also didn’t tell you that he has 2 employees working under him in a 1099 environment so he doesn’t have to pay vacation, health benefits, payroll taxes, and contractors insurance. He also doesn’t mention the “illegals” he has hired from time to time when the need suited him. That all comes out of his “Taxable income”. So in reality he doesn’t pay for many of the things we have to in day to day life. He writes them off. That means us little guys have to pick up the slack.

What I would like to know is if Joe would mind parting with his “hard earned money” if he know it was going to hire more teachers for his kids school, test more food that his family consumes, paves the roads in front of his house and business, ensure the drugs his doctor prescribes are safe, ensures the planes he fly to Disney land with his family are safe, and pays for a veteran to go to a decent hospital? These are the things taxes pay for. Obama missed an opportunity when “Joe” asked him that question.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Taxing Cuts For Jobs And Borrowing To Pay Salaries

I like to think I am a logical fellow. Here is something I am having a hard time rectifying. I hear conservatives, including the republican candidate John McCain say that, “cutting taxes will encourage business to hire more people.” However, in June of 2001 the biggest tax cut in 20 years was signed into law. The problem is every year since it was enacted we have seen a reduction in good paying jobs such as auto, steel, and tech industry. According to the Bureau of labor statistics linked here, in 2001 the unemployment rate skyrocketed until it finally peeked mid 2003. So exactly again what is supposed to happen once these tax cuts are made?

Oddly enough, that is about 24 months (about the length of unemployment compensation) after the trend began. These statistics only tell half of the truth. If you fall off the unemployment wagon, they assume that you must have found a job. The graph also can’t tell you how many people went from putting the tires on the new vans at the Ford Plant to putting on new tires at the Wal-Mart. They also went from making $60 to $80 thousand a year plus really good benefits to making $20 to $40 thousand a year and being showed how to use public services to get medical help. However, as far as these raw statistics are concerned both groups are employed. I was really part of both of them at that time.

Now I am not agreeing whole heartedly that tax decreases don’t create jobs. There is evidence that they do. A common sediment can be found in this article about the Auto industry.

"Another problem since 2001 has been auto parts supplier pressure, which is
coming from China. Even though the local industries are able to manage the
pressure from suppliers from China, but the impact of it is enormous. For
example Crysler automaker has responded by lowering profits and asked supplier
to reduce price by 5 percent in 2001."

You want to talk about trickle down, no make that stream down, economics. When one of these good paying industries moves out of town, people stop participating in the economy and everybody starts feeling under employed.

It seems that job creation in China has run rabid. It is amazing how much cheaper you can produce goods if you don’t have to worry about safety, health, toxicity, mandatory wages, or the environment. But at that point you are playing a game of Jenga and we know how every game of Jenga turns out.

More illogical kinks in the “reduce taxes to spur employment” argument is one of math. Let us say that the average business has a ridicules amount of tax liability of 25% of net profit. That means after you deduct for cost of doing business including employee salary, this means you have a net profit that you pay taxes on. For every $100,000 your company makes after expenses, you will only save $25,000 on taxes. They are not talking about eliminating business tax. Let us say you just 1/2 it. That means just to hire somebody at a decent wage of oh, $35,000 p/y. Don’t forget the business must pay their wage, payroll tax, and health benefits. In order to do that the company will have to make $300,000 net profit just to pay for one new employee. And then for how long?

Then there is the “bailout”. I keep hearing that if we don’t bailout the economy, employers won’t be able to pay their employees. I don’t know how much you understand about business. But as far as I can recon, if you have to borrow money every week to pay your employees, you need to rework your plan. If you are not making enough to pay your employees, then your business is on a solid road to failure. Either charge more for your product or service, or cancel your resort trip for your CEOs. Let us say that you have cornered the market on the production of Beta Max payers. You have a monopoly even. Yet you find your having to borrow money to pay your employees. You are going to need to look over your plan and find out why?

So if there is anybody out there who can explain to me how lowering taxes is supposed to increase employment, I would love to hear that one. I will buy the beer. Not the cheap stuff either.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Raising Taxes vs. Reducing Wealth

I have heard many times over by conservatives that, “Democrats just want to raise our taxes. Take ‘my money’ and give it to people who don’t work.” The last part of the statement I won’t really address in this post, but I felt it was needed as it always follows. The first part is what I would like to pick apart.
First a little Humor. A rather overweight chap walks into a pizza shop and says, “I would like to order a large pizza and a side of breadsticks.” The kid behind the counter squeaks “Would you like that cut into 12 or 16 slices.” The fat man says, “Make it 12, I am on a diet.”

This joke clearly demonstrates a person who doesn’t understand the concept of the laws of conservation. Basically they state that “the sum of the parts can never be more than the whole.” Or in this case, can be “no less”. If a pizza has 2000 calories, it don’t matter how many pieces you cut it into, when you eat it, you are eating the same amount of calories. The same is true about the collective whole of the U.S. wealth.

The US has an amount of “wealth” that, like the pizza, has a definitive value. It is hard to put that value into terms that are easily understood. (It was way easier when we were on the gold standard. You are probably going to hear calls to return to that standard in the near future.) To simplify let us say you are the blissfully unaware governor of a state whose only source of wealth is oil. There is a finite amount of that resource in your ground. Let us say that there are 100 billion pieces of paper that represent 1/100 billionth of that total amount of oil. People are paid in these slips of paper every week. Some actually trade in their pieces of paper for oil to put in their car. Most people use them to barter for things like food, mukluks, and pudding for their hot tubs. So what happens if somebody in the states government decides they are tired of flying across a local river and that they should instead build a bridge? The government, being short on those slips of paper, and feeling they might not get re-elected if they (tax) take them away from their constituents, has a new idea. They decide to just print more. They say, what the heck, the logging industry can use the boost, so they print twice as many. Now instead of each slip being worth 1/100 billionth, they are not only worth 1/ 200 billionth of the total amount of oil under the ground. This is quickly noticed when the store owner selling Siberian made mukluks goes to purchase more and the mukluk maker says, “wait a second, this slip of paper will only get me 1/2 as much of your oil as it would the other day. You are going to have to give me two pieces of paper per pair of mukluk instead of just one.” From there the store owner has to pass on the bad news to his customers. Either they are going to have to pay double for their mukluks, or they will have to cut off a leg. (Hence the term “costing an arm and a leg.) The average voter didn’t see any money come out of their check directly from the government. So the pretty governor can’t be responsible. I mean, heck she sent them $3000 earlier in the year? Yah? You betcha. However, somehow they are not able to fill their hot tub as full as they used to because those darned pudding manufactures are charging more for their pudding.

There are a few ways to put money into the system other then flat out printing it. Thinking about it, just because the government prints the money, how do they get it into the system? Basically they use interest rates to entice banks to lend more money. I mean they are not going to just send every tax payer a check in the mail, right? That would be silly.

Republicans are notorious for wanting to lower interest rates to make it easier for business to borrow. Even if the business isn’t selling much product. They are also notorious for wanting to lower taxes on business so they can hire more mukluk makers. They seem to neglect the looming questions of, “what if everybody has all the mukluks they need?” and the more important question of, “what good is it going to do our economy if they hire more Siberians?”

So the next time a conservative Republican says to you, “but the democrats are going to just raise taxes and force businesses to go over seas.” Just look at them, wink, and smile. (They like that.) If you want you can try to explain it to them. Some of them you might have to explain the pizza joke slowly 5 times.

Obama’s Experience and McCain’s Skill Set

Saying that a person is “experienced” is only part of the equation. Saying that alone leaves a lot of questions unanswered. I have a friend that has been a plumber for 25 years. Nobody can snake shit out of a backed up drain better then he can. To be honest he is not the deepest thinker. He is pretty up front and straight forward in his demeanor. While I am glad to know him, and we have a great time watching sports, downing beers, and he is very insightful and many issues. I am glad to know if I have a blockage at 10 pm or when I am our of town away from my wife, that I can have him fix the problem. However, if I was getting audited by the IRS, I wouldn’t call him. If I were wrongly accused of bank robbery, I wouldn’t call him. If my brain was hemorrhaging I would not call him to do the operation. This is in spite all of his years of “experience”. So it can’t be just about a politician’s experience that matters. Oh and by the way, before he was a plumber he was a soldier. That experience doesn’t help him plumb or wouldn’t aid in any of the other listed tasks.

So if it isn’t simply experience, what else would make a good politician? Many have said, “McCain has been in Washington for a long time. He knows how it works.” But Washington is the job and not the task. For example, one of my occupational incarnations was as a draftsman. I can’t draw very well to be honest with you. However I was hired to replace a guy who had been at the company for 22 years. Why, because I was a computer draftsman. The other guy never learned to operate the computer drawing program. (Don’t feel too bad, he was also the architect and just had to do less work.) So while he was in the business for years, he didn’t have his finger on the skills needed to keep up the modern aspects of his business. Clients had begun to demand work be submitted in computer formatted files.

So just because you have been in a business for a long time doesn’t make you better at it. With the decline and end of the cold war, the rise of globalization, and the advent of the internet age the method and format Washington needs to has greatly changed. The fact that they haven’t changed their approach is why we are in the trouble we are in now.

Alright, if it isn’t just experience that makes a good politician, and there are thousands of people who have been in Washington for decades and they can’t get it right, what else is important? What made paying me to generate drawing a more beneficial then the old hand draftsman? The skill set is the most important part of the equation.

Ask yourself, “what is it that I want from my politician?” Many say I want them to “fight” for me. Well in case you are uniformed, they don’t hold cage matches on the Capital floor. By, fight you must mean argue for issues in your favor. So a president must be a persuasive speaker and a good debater. Some say they want a their representatives to make good decisions. Well behind every good decision which happens in a split second, come hours of research and sound logic. So what kind of person has a skill set where they learn to research topics their decisions and be a persuasive speaker in order to convince a group of people of their position? If you shouted out “a lawyer!!” you just passed the bar. That is why there are so many of them in Washington. A lawyer’s skill set is a natural fit to being a politician. Would it be nice to find somebody who was schooled in another discipline and had these other skill sets naturally? Sure, but that is a rarity, so we got to take what we can get.

One more thing before I conclude. You are probably thinking, but I also want an advocate for the issues that I believe in. That is what this whole blog is about. Many times our “common sense” view of the issues are not in par with the logic. What you have to come to terms with is that everybody in the political arena are Americans. It is the law. They have family and friends that have to live under the rules they create. Some are greedy, some are stupid, and some are stupid and greedy, but they are all acting in what they think is the best interest of their family and friends who make up America. When you vote on a single issue or a couple of issues and not the person, you are ignoring the fact that the person votes on all issues. Many of them you only don’t care about because they currently are acted upon favorably to your view. What happens when the person votes for something that changes that stance.

I think that the logic presented above seems conclusive. So who in this next election has the skill sets of a lawyer? Obama. If you have faith that this is the greatest country on earth and it is very much because of our civility and laws, then you must agree that one of the greatest law schools on earth is Harvard. Obama graduated top of his class from Harvard. McCain got average grades in the naval academy. Sure, he has been in Washington a long time. And we can see the results of the last 20 or 30 years of those rules and regulation. The skill sets of a soldier are not the one needed to fix a failing economy. And for god sakes the skill sets of a beauty pageant queen are certainly not. If you take these skills out of a politician, all you have left is a marketing ploy. Slogans, key phrases , and pretty smiles. You don’t have a person who can actually make the decision and persuade the juries.

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