Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Unintended Consequences of Welfare States

The content of this item is a very important and speaks to the serious negative consequences of welfare states.  It is focused on our nation and what is wrong with the way our government "attempts" to help people with programs popular for those in need but in reality hurts rather than helps them.  A couple of quotes set the stage: "A nation’s prosperity is determined by the quantity and quality of labor and capital that are productively utilized. Which means that it doesn’t make sense to have policies that penalize either saving and investment or working. Yet that seems to be the favorite hobby of the political class."  And, Casey Mulligan, University of Chicago economics professor has this to say: "...the top rate for these families eligible for various federal aid programs went from 40% to 48% in the immediate aftermath of the recession. In other words, for every extra dollar someone eligible for various aid programs makes, they lose 48% from taxes and benefit reductions. …Mulligan says. “The more you help low-income people, the more low-income people you’ll have. The more you help unemployed people, the more unemployed people you’ll have.”  http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/danieljmitchell/2015/04/28/dependency-work-incentives-and-the-growing-welfare-state-n1991212/page/full 

George Burns

Sunday, April 26, 2015

It turns out the gridlock was all about Harry Reid

Here’s a story you haven’t seen for a while: Congress is working — well, sort of. Better than it had for the previous six years, anyway.
The difference? Harry Reid is no longer running the Senate — and Republican Mitch McConnell has made the place far less dysfunctional.
Just last week, the Senate cast breakthrough votes on a sex-trafficking bill and the confirmation of attorney-general nominee Loretta Lynch.
The bipartisan trafficking bill was delayed awhile by Reid-style partisanship: Democrats held it up to score “War on Women” points over no-federal-funds-for-abortion language that’s been routine in such legislation for decades.
McConnell broke that logjam by refusing to allow a vote on Lynch until Democrats quit playing games.


How the Sierra Club’s Lexus Liberals’ Agenda Hurts Poor Americans

Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Elizabeth Warren and the whole gang of Democratic leaders claim that one of their highest priorities is to lift up the middle class and reduce the income gap between rich and poor.
That goal collides with what they admit is their very highest priority: stopping climate change. Their agenda is driven by the millionaire and billionaire Democratic donors who make the party possible. But the agenda also involves making energy, home heating, transportation and just about everything else less efficient and more expensive to the middle class and poor. The people who lose their jobs when the climate-change Stalinists prevail are the people at the bottom and the middle of the income ladder.
The billionaire club members don’t seem to mind this collateral damage. Last week billionaire Tom Steyer convened the uber-rich liberal donor base at the Four Seasons Hotel in Seattle—nice—to pontificate about how much they care about polar bears, the Arctic ice caps and rising sea levels.


Crony Capitalists Strike Again

There are not many things mainstream Republicans have in common with Elizabeth Warren leftists other than their mutual disdain for crony capitalism. The main difference here is that the Left mistakenly believes that these people who feed at the trough of government are actually Republicans. The Left beds down politically with these affluent bloodsuckers while they live in disdain of the Koch Brothers who take no government support. These crony capitalists have struck again and this time they will live to regret it.
The issue that duped these supposed capitalists was what has been branded as “net neutrality.” This is another term of the left where they have cast the matter in bucolic terms. After all, they call themselves “progressives.” I have said repeatedly that the only thing they are progressive about is progressively restricting your rights and progressively taking more of your hard-earned money for the government.
We all know the internet has worked fairly well unimpeded by government corruption. Anything that allows people vast amounts of freedom eventually is characterized as needing “supervision.” The control freaks have made many advances at limiting the freedom of the internet through either taxing activities or contrived control of the flow of information. The biggest effort came from the na├»ve supporters of “net neutrality.”


Global-Warming Guacamole

California doesn’t need a global carbon-emissions regime; it needs a better water system. That California’s catastrophic drought is a result of global warming has become a commonplace of contemporary political rhetoric. That truism isn’t true: Most scientific accounts of California’s current dry spell link recent low precipitation to naturally occurring atmospheric cycles, not to global warming.
Indeed, most of the global-warming models relied upon by those advocating more-invasive environmental policies predict that warming would leave California with wetter winters — winter precipitation being critical to the snowpack-dependent state — rather than the drier winters at the root of the state’s current water crisis. What some studies do suggest is that warmer temperatures make the effects of scanty precipitation more intense for California’s end users of water, a reasonably straightforward proposition — higher temperatures will probably contribute to higher demand for water and will certainly contribute to the much more significant problem of evaporation, which steals tremendous amounts of water away from California’s outdated storage-and-conveyance infrastructure and imposes substantial water losses on old-fashioned irrigation systems.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Greece Talks With Eurogroup Hit “Complete Breakdown”

We said as soon as Syriza was voted into office, in How Much Success is Syriza Likely to Have in Ending Austerity? that it was unlikely to prevail:

I see three stumbling blocks for the Greek negotiating position. The first is that there seems to be no overlap between what they want and the northern bloc is likely to be willing to concede….

Second is that the best idea that the Greeks have to square the circle of austerity v. the Greeks wanting a more pro-growth, more humanitarian solution, the so-called Modest Proposal, is not modest at all from the Eurozone perspective. While it is “modest” in that it works within the existing Eurozone institutional frameworks, it is such a radical departure from the negotiating terms that the Troika generally has on the table in these discussions that there is simply no way to get agreement by summer…even if the Troika had an unexpected change of heart and was willing to be far more innovative on the policy front, as opposed to the financial smoke and mirrors front….

Aside from the fact that this plan has too many moving parts to get done in an at best six month runway there is a third, deeper reason it won’t happen. The Germans do not want deeper integration and more cedeing of power to Eurozone/European level institutions. From their perspective, they are footing the bill of their neighbors, and they therefore want to maintain a position which gives them leverage. Of course, Germany is perversely in denial of the fact that it wants contradictory things, namely, to keep running large and sustained trade surpluses within the Eurozone, and not finance its trade partners. Nevertheless, the very assumption that Galbraith set forth on behalf of Syriza, that Syriza is pro the Eurozone project working, and to them that means deeper integration, is not what Germany wants since that would require it to give up its advantaged position.


Republican leaders ignore Conservatives again

It happened again yesterday, a painful reminder that the GOP leadership in Congress is pathetic. The President’s radical nominee for Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, was confirmed with ten Republican votes. Without Republican votes, Lynch could not have become U.S. Attorney General. Lynch will now replace Eric Holder, the most controversial and racially divisive Attorney General in American history.

In her testimony to Congress, Lynch made it clear that she would continue the policies of her liberal predecessor, support the Obama agenda, and had no problem with the President’s highly questionable use of executive power to grant amnesty to five million illegal immigrants. According to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), “The Senate must never confirm an individual…who will support and advance a scheme that violates our Constitution and eviscerates established law and congressional authority. No person who would do that should be confirmed. And we don’t need to be apologetic about it, colleagues.”

Despite the clear warnings from Sessions and her troubling statements to the Senate Judiciary Committee, ten Republican Senators decided to confirm her to the most important law enforcement position in the country. Among the GOP “turncoat ten” was the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. Previously, McConnell had promised to oppose Lynch if she supported the President’s executive amnesty action. Thus, McConnell lied to his constituents and caved under pressure once again. It follows a disturbing trend of GOP congressional leaders refusing to take decisive action to oppose the onslaught of liberalism.


We Can’t Save the Environment without Freedom

The first Earth Day took place in 1970, when I was a high school senior, and that day set the course of my life for the next 25 years. Convinced of the need to protect the environment and realizing that forests were a key part of the environment in my home state of Oregon, I elected to attend forestry school, graduating in 1974.

Over the next two decades, I helped almost every major environmental group in their efforts to save public forests from what we thought were the rapacious hands of timber companies. But I soon realized that the real problem was that Congress had inadvertently given public land agencies budgetary incentives to lose money harming the environment, and disincentives to either make money or do environmental good.

This insight helped me see that creating markets for all resources would allow them to compete on a level playing field. Recreation fees, for example, could reward public land managers for protecting things that recreationists care about, such as scenery, diverse wildlife habitat, and clean water. Though economists estimated that recreation was worth more than any other public land resource, Congress didn’t allow managers to charge for most recreation.


Saudi Arabia Rents U.S. Military, Courtesy Barack Obama

After killing hundreds of Yemenis, including many civilians, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced that it was halting its bombing campaign. Now Operation “Restoring Hope” is to begin. A cynic might wonder if that is the hope of the Saudi king for more subjects to rule and plunder. No doubt the KSA will kill more Yemenis for no cause before the war truly ends.

Apparently incapable of resisting the temptation to meddle in the Middle East, the Obama administration is part of Saudi Arabia’s ten-member “coalition” against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Said Secretary of State John Kerry: “we’re not going to step away from our alliances and our friendships.” The administration is providing intelligence, logistical aid, arms shipments, and even a naval flotilla including an American aircraft carrier to monitor Iranian ships. Apparently Washington wants to block any Iranian military aid for Houthi rebels while underwriting Saudi aggression.

Alas, the entire campaign is built on a lie. Contrary to Riyadh’s claims, the Houthis are not directed by, and seem only barely supported by, Iran. Even British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond admitted that “the Houthis are clearly not Iranian proxies.” Instead, the rebels have been fighting for years. Yemen was only reunited in 1990 and has spent most of the succeeding years rent by crime, unrest, and conflict. The Houthis, classified as a Shia sect (Zaydi) despite some theological similarities to Sunnis, have been in rebellion for years. Filmmaker Safa al-Ahmad, who produced a documentary on the Houthis, commented that they “don’t need Iranians to bring them weapons. They’re awash in weapons.”


The Lessons of No Child Left Behind

As Congress debates a rewrite of the controversial education policy, what have we learned about closing achievement gaps?

Fifteen years ago, presidential candidate George W. Bush stood before the NAACP's annual convention, and talked about advancing racial harmony and economic opportunity through education.

"Under my vision, all students must be measured. We must test to know," Bush said. He proposed giving low-performing schools—"those schools that won't teach and won't change"—three years to improve before helping parents move their children elsewhere. "No child should be left behind in America," he said.

The education law President Bush signed, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), was based on a straight-forward theory: Give schools data and pressure them to improve, and they'll better educate children. Simple. But the law didn't always work that way in practice.


Judicial Watch Pinch-Hitting for the FBI

Despite the growing menace and media savvy of the terrorist Islamic group ISIS, the FBI appears to be, once again, failing in its investigative and enforcement responsibilities. The agency that let us down with 9/11 and, afterward, reacted mainly in a flurry of political correctness and appeasement toward Muslims is now trying to reassure the American public that we have nothing to fear from ISIS on the North American continent.

This despite warnings from the nonprofit Judicial Watch of ISIS activism in Mexico, and recent ISIS-related arrests in Minnesota.  More is needed from the nation's top domestic intelligence and security agency than this whistling in the dark if we are to be safe in our own country.

Official government estimates of ISIS recruits vary widely from 20,000 to 50,000.  Nicholas Rasmussen, director of the federal National Counterterrorism Center, who places the number at more than 20,000, reports that fighters hail from 90 countries, with an estimated 3,400 from Western countries, including over 150 from the United States.  Rasmussen admits that there is "likely more information out there that we have not yet been able to collect," and that there could also be "greater numbers of foreign fighters, and potentially even greater numbers of individuals from western countries and the United States who've traveled to the conflict zones."


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Big Food’s “DARK Act” Introduced in Congress

Legislation introduced today by Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) would block any federal or state action to require labeling of foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.
“More than 90 percent of Americans support labeling of GE foods,” said Scott Faber, senior vice-president of government affairs for EWG. “It’s clear the public wants to know what’s in their food, but if Rep. Pompeo has his way, no one will have that right.”
“Consumers, particularly the eight out of ten American families who buy organic products, want to know what is in their food," said Marni Karlin, director of legislative and legal affairs for Organic Trade Association. "Rep. Pompeo’s bill ignores this consumer demand for information. Instead, it ties the hands of state governments, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Food and Drug Administration concerning GMO labeling. It is fatally flawed."
“Rep. Pompeo is signing away the rights of all Americans to know what they are buying and feeding their families," said Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for Center for Food Safety. "This bill is an attack on states’ ability to assure their citizens are informed.”
Pompeo’s bill – christened the “Deny Americans the Right-to-Know” or DARK act by critics – would prevent states from adopting GE labeling laws that have gained widespread support over the last two years. The proposal would also prevent states from making it illegal for food companies to label products that contain GE ingredients as “natural,” as Connecticut has already done.
Connecticut, along with Maine, also passed a law requiring GE labeling. More than 30 other states are taking up legislation to require GE labeling in 2014.
Pompeo’s measure would also limit the authority of the federal Food and Drug Administration to compel companies to disclose GE ingredients. The bill is identical to a legislative proposal floated earlier this year by the food industry’s main trade and lobbying arm, the Grocery Manufacturers Association.
“If the DARK Act becomes law, a veil of secrecy will cloak ingredients, leaving consumers with no way to know what’s in their food,” said Faber. “Consumers in 64 countries, including Saudi Arabia and China, have the right to know if their food contains GMOs. Why shouldn’t Americans have the same right?”
Industry groups that stand to gain the most if the DARK Act becomes law have been some of Pompeo’s biggest campaign contributors. Since 1989, agribusiness has given him nearly $170,000, and the food and beverage industry more than $81,000, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics.
The top individual contributor to Pompeo’s campaign coffers has been Koch Industries Inc., at $238,900. The private company is run by billionaire brothers Charles and David H. Koch, who are known for their extensive support of conservative causes.
In a 2011 legal petition, Center for Food Safety provided FDA with a blueprint for a federal labeling of genetically engineered foods.  FDA has yet to formally respond to that petition, though the agency has received more than 1.4 million comments supporting the petition and mandatory labeling. Just two weeks ago, more than 200 companies and organizations sent a letter to President Obama asking him to fulfill his 2007 campaign promise to label foods made with genetically engineered ingredients.

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014

H.R.4432 - Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2014 - Amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to establish premarket notification requirements for a bioengineered organism intended for a food use or application. Defines “bioengineered organism” to mean a plant or any part of a plant which contains genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques when such modification could not otherwise be obtained using conventional breeding techniques.
Sets forth exceptions if: (1) the bioengineered organism is used for development or testing conducted to generate data and information that could be used in a premarket biotechnology notification or other regulatory submission; (2) a processing aid or enzyme produced from the bioengineered organism is intended to be used to produce food; or (3) food produced from, containing, or consisting of the bioengineered organism is intended to be fed to an animal from which food is intended to be produced or derived.
Directs the developer of a bioengineered organism to submit a premarket biotechnology notification to the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) at least 210 days before the organism is first introduced into interstate commerce for a food use or application. Requires such notification to include: (1) the basis for the determination that food produced from, containing, or consisting of that bioengineered organism is as safe for use by humans or animals as comparable marketed foods without the bioengineered organism, and (2) whether any other federal agency is conducting or has conducted any review of the bioengineered organism and the status or conclusions of any such review. Requires the Secretary to determine whether such food is as safe as food made without the bioengineered organism. Requires public disclosure of the premarket notification.
Authorizes the Secretary to require the label of such food to disclose a material difference between food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism and its comparable marketed food, as necessary to protect health and safety or to prevent the label or labeling of such food from being false or misleading.
Makes these requirements applicable 30 days after enactment of this Act, regardless of whether relevant regulations or guidance have been finalized or issued.
Preempts any state or local requirement respecting a bioengineered organism intended for a food use or application, or food produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered organism.
Sets forth standards for any food label that contains claims that bioengineering was or was not used in the production of the food. Preempts any state and local labeling requirements with respect to bioengineered food.
Requires the Secretary to issue regulations setting standards for a natural claim on food labels. Preempts any state or local regulations that are not identical to the requirements of this Act.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Economics and Such

Now It's Democrats' Turn To Call Obama A Tyrant

President Obama is an undemocratic tyrant, seizing powers clearly granted by our Founding Fathers to Congress.
Usually you hear such accusations from the right. But lately they are, somewhat disorientingly, coming from the left. It's like Opposite Day.
As in the past, the grandstanding about procedural impropriety and secretive, unconstitutional power-grabs is disingenuous. Die-hard liberals, like die-hard conservatives before them, are hiding behind tenuous constitutional complaints to obstruct a policy outcome they find distasteful.
The right's claims about unconstitutional power-grabs usually involve immigration and health insurance. For the left, the cri de coeur is trade.
Here's the background: The Constitution indeed says Congress has sole authority to regulate international trade. But it's difficult for U.S. trade representatives to make credible offers if every deal goes back to Washington to get picked apart, rewritten by hundreds of legislators and turned into a completely different agreement.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

American Double Standards on Display in Ukraine

Last week two prominent Ukrainian opposition figures were gunned down in broad daylight. They join as many as ten others who have been killed or committed suicide under suspicious circumstances just this year. These individuals have one important thing in common: they were either part of or friendly with the Yanukovych government, which a US-backed coup overthrew last year. They include members of the Ukrainian parliament and former chief editors of major opposition newspapers.

While some journalists here in the U.S. have started to notice the strange series of opposition killings in Ukraine, the U.S. government has yet to say a word.

Compare this to the U.S. reaction when a single opposition figure was killed in Russia earlier this year. Boris Nemtsov was a member of a minor political party that was not even represented in the Russian parliament. Nevertheless the U.S. government immediately demanded that Russia conduct a thorough investigation of his murder, suggesting the killers had a political motive.

As news of the Russian killing broke, Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ed Royce (R-CA) did not wait for evidence to blame the killing on Russian president Vladimir Putin. On the very day of Nemtsov's murder, Royce told the US media that, "this shocking murder is the latest assault on those who dare to oppose the Putin regime."


Glimmers of Hope on the Hill

First, Speaker John Boehner has built a sufficiently strong network of House Republicans to effectively isolate those in his conference who seek to depose him, and, when necessary, has sought and received support from a willing Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democrats in order to get things through the chamber. The chemistry in the House Republican Conference had to change. Boehner patiently waited it out, and then when he could, started moving the legislative ball forward. Pelosi should be credited as well for taking on a constructive role in crafting agreements when some in her party preferred her to be more of an obstructionist.

Second, Moore says Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's opening up the amendment process has made a huge difference. It hasn't always succeeded, but this is the way the Senate was intended to function; this change enabled the process to begin working again.

Third, even in the last Congress when the Senate floor was still bottled up, Senate committee chairmen (at the time, Democrats) and the ranking members (Republicans) began quietly talking about what they would like to do if things started becoming moveable on the floor. The chairman and ranking roles reversed after the election, but the dialogue continued, and when the door to the Senate floor opened, they rushed through it.



The massive federal land holdings in the western United States continue to irritate many folks living west of the 100th Meridian. According to Holly Fretwell of the Property and Environment Research Center (PERC) and Montana State University, nearly half of the western states is owned by the federal government including over 60 percent of Alaska and approximately 80 percent of Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Park Service (NPS) are the federal agencies controlling these lands.

With the federal estate comes the Endangered Species Act (ESA), National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), with its lengthy and contentious Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process, and a host of other laws designed to limit development by means of wilderness or monuments designations, the latter by presidential fiat. These statutes effectively restrict economic activities, especially on BLM and USFS lands which, by law, are supposed to be “multiple use” lands allowing for mining, oil and gas development, forestry, ski resorts as well as recreational activities. ESA and NEPA create de facto and de jure obstacles to economic interests that are not applicable to state lands.


Lack of Integrity and the Revolving Door

Last week, the NY Times ran a lead story in its “Business Day” section reporting that Ben S. Bernanke, the former Federal Reserve chairman, had signed on to advise the Citadel Investment Group, a hedge fund founded by Ken C. Griffin. Mr. Bernanke believes there is no conflict of interest because he “won’t be doing any lobbying” and because he will not be working for “any firm regulated by the Federal Reserve.” He has joined an impressive list of government economic leaders who took jobs with major investment or banking interests upon leaving their roles as major government players in the U.S. economy. Alan Greenspan became a consultant for a number of private financial entities such as Deutsche Bank, Pacific Investment Management, and the hedge fund Paulson & Co.  Last year, Tim Geithner, former Secretary of the Treasury joined the equity (stocks and bonds) firm of Warburg Pincus.

These outstanding individuals are not only brilliant, but according to their own statements remain paragons of integrity. They tell us that their decisions, at the Fed or heading the Treasury Department, were not influenced by their aspirations in life after they would leave their governmental positions, nor are they now using either insider information or influence via connections they still have with the Fed.


Lobbyists begin to cash in on Republican-led Congress

K Street’s largest firms are starting to reap the rewards of the new GOP-controlled Congress, leaving lobbyists bullish about 2015.
Nearly all of two-dozen firms that provided their first-quarter earnings totals to The Hill on Monday — the deadline to report the figures to the House and Senate — saw their revenues increase.
While some reported only modest gains, many in the influence industry say the uptick is likely just the beginning of an influx of new business generated by November’s elections.
“With the return to regular order and a robust pent-up policy agenda, we’re seeing renewed energy and efforts for bipartisan progress that should last at least until mid-2016, when campaign dynamics may finally take over,” Bruce Mehlman told The Hill.
His firm, Mehlman Castagnetti Bingel Rosen & Thomas, saw first-quarter advocacy revenue on par with the same period in 2014. Although it lost one of its major partners and underwent a rebranding last year, the firm earned $2.82 million from January through March.
Brownstein Farber Hyatt Schreck boosted its revenue by almost 7 percent over the same time last year, earning $5.83 million and kicking Podesta Group, which fell 16 percent, out of the No. 3 spot.


Monday, April 20, 2015

Major Chinese Developer Announces Historic Default

Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. became China’s first developer to default on its U.S. currency debt after failing to honor missed payments on two dollar bonds.
The company didn’t pay $52 million of interest on 2017 and 2018 notes due last month, according to a Hong Kong stock exchange statement Monday. Kaisa had until Monday to make the payments after a 30-day grace period expired at the weekend.
The default at Shenzhen-based Kaisa follows a series of mishaps since December, capped by the surprise return of founder Kwok Ying Shing last week. The developer has sought ways to service 65 billion yuan ($10.5 billion) of debt owed to both onshore and offshore lenders while also becoming embroiled inPresident Xi Jinping’s crackdown on graft.
Kaisa “is focused on facilitating the release of its 2014 audited financial results,” according to its statement. Following that release, the company “will continue its efforts to reach a consensual restructuring of its outstanding debts.”


Republicans Shrug Off Deficit Woes in Half-Trillion-Dollar Binge

Republicans in the U.S. Congress who came to power pledging tight-fisted budgeting are going on a tax-cut and spending binge that would boost federal deficits by a half-trillion dollars.
In part, they’re doing it by sidestepping their own warnings about the perils of ringing up even more national debt. Instead, they’re choosing tax cuts and the promise of long-term savings -- and some of the Tea Party members who came to Congress on the pay-as-you-go promise are going along.
So are some Democrats, but it’s the Republican majority that has pushed these bills forward for a mix of motives -- to show voters they can cut taxes and get things done, and to avoid looking like the Party of No. Even some Republicans say it’s wrong.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Mother Jones Proves To Us, Once And For All, That The Minimum Wage Destroys Jobs

This isn’t, of course, what Mother Jones thinks it is saying when it tries to defend a higher minimum wage in the US. But, much to my amusement, it is in fact what it does say. That the minimum wage reduces the number of jobs where a minimum wage is imposed. This is of course obvious from the basic economics of the matter: raise the price of something and people will buy less of it.It is possible to construct theoretical models where this is not so, some involving Giffen Goods but we’re pretty sure there aren’t any of those in the US economy. Other theoretical models call into play monoposony, which is where we’ve got the buyer of the good having significant market power. This idea fails too given that the minimum wage really bites in the food industry for the US (it being about 50% of those who get that minimum) and an industry with tens of thousands of independent employers simply isn’t going to have monopsony power over the price of labour. It is in fact much more like that model of perfect competition that Econ 101 teaches us and Econ 102 teaches us so rarely exists in real life.
Here’s Don Boudreaux having a go at Mother Jones:
No serious opponent of minimum wages has ever said that they are “harbingers of economic doom” and sparks of “economic collapse.” Not Milton Friedman. Not F.A. Hayek. Not Thomas Sowell. Not my colleague Walter Williams. No credible scholar or pundit has ever made such a prediction about minimum wages at the relatively low levels that these wages are set in the United States. The reason is that only a small percentage of the workforce earns wages at, or just above, the prevailing legislated minimum. Therefore, minimum-wage hikes of the sort that are typical in the U.S. cannot possibly propel the economy to the brink of “collapse” or unleash economic “doom.”

Clinton Foundation Reorganizes to Keep Foreign Money Flowing

Hillary Clinton may be reticent to speak on the subject of foreign policy just yet - she's peppered her rare interactions with actual media with bland policy positions mostly having to do with middle class Americans and favorite burrito proteins - but that might be because the Clinton Foundation is still trying to work out how they're going to accept all that foreign cash while one of their founders is campaigning to be leader of the free world.
Turns out, they're still going to accept the foreign cash, at least as far as six key countries, with whom the US already has relationships, are concerned. Any other foreign national or government looking to have a direct impact on a major Presidential contender's foreign policy should instead donate to the Clinton Global Initiative, which is not directly affiliated with the Clinton Foundation in any way other than being directly affiliated with the Clinton foundation.
No, seriously.

The Big Idea: California Is So Over

California has met the future, and it really doesn’t work. As the mounting panic surrounding the drought suggests, the Golden State, once renowned for meeting human and geographic challenges, is losing its ability to cope with crises. As a result, the great American land of opportunity is devolving into something that resembles feudalism, a society dominated by rich and poor, with little opportunity for upward mobility for the state’s middle- and working classes.
The water situation reflects this breakdown in the starkest way. Everyone who follows California knew it was inevitable we would suffer a long-term drought. Most of the state—including the Bay Area as well as greater Los Angeles—is semi-arid, and could barely support more than a tiny fraction of its current population. California’s response to aridity has always been primarily an engineering one that followed the old Roman model of siphoning water from the high country to service cities and farms. 
But since the 1970s, California’s water system has become the prisoner of politics and posturing. The great aqueducts connecting the population centers with the great Sierra snowpack are all products of an earlier era—the Los Angeles aqueduct (1913), Hetch-Hetchy (1923), the Central Valley Project (1937), and the California Aqueduct (1974). The primary opposition to expansion has been the green left, which rejects water storage projects as irrelevant.


Why Is the Government Stealing Raisins from Honest Farmers?

In oral arguments Wednesday, the Supreme Court will hear the government defend its kleptocratic behavior while administering an indefensible law. The Agricultural Marketing Agreement Act of 1937 is among the measures by which New Dealers tried and failed to regulate and mandate America back to prosperity. Seventy-eight years later, it is the government’s reason for stealing Marvin and Laura Horne’s raisins. New Dealers had bushels of theories, including this: In a depression, prices fall, so a recovery will occur when government compels prices to stabilize above where a free market would put them. So FDR’s “brain trust” produced “price stabilization” programs by which the government would fine-tune the supply of and demand for various commodities. In 1949, this regulatory itch was institutionalized in the Raisin Administrative Committee. Today it wants the Hornes to ante up about $700,000. They could instead have turned over more than 1 million pounds of raisins — at least four years of their production. They have been refusing to comply with a “marketing order” to surrender, without compensation, a portion of their production for the RAC’s raisin “reserve.” The Hornes say this order constitutes an unconstitutional taking.


When We Lost the Winnable War

Forty years ago this April, our nation lost the Vietnam War – a war that America could easily have won, and should have.  South Vietnam had been invaded by North Vietnam, although the conflict was portrayed by communist apologists as a “civil war.”  The Viet Cong did fight, but the primary enemy of the South Vietnam was North Vietnam.
The SEATO alliance pledged France, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan and America to come to the aid of South Vietnam if that nation was attacked by another nation.  The moral obligation of France, the colonial power that held Southeast Asia, and Britain, which held Malaya, was greater than our obligation.  We had, after all, granted independence to our only possession in Asia, the Philippines, before Pearl Harbor.
North Vietnam was not just an aggressor, but a particularly brutal aggressor and a particularly evil regime.  The conduct of the war by the communists in South Vietnam was calculated and sadistic terrorism, particularly focusing on threats to members of the family or the local village, who had no political views at all.  Children, for example, were tortured and maimed if their parents opposed the communists.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Dear Farmers: U.S. is Now Importing Organic Corn to Satisfy Consumer Demand

There are three things driving a surge in organic imports:
1.U.S. farmers have been systematically pushed into growing mostly GMO crops; grown primarily for fuel, animal feed and cheap processed foods. Russia even used our food supply as an example for the EU to dump us and join them instead.
2.U.S. consumers are not only demanding fresh, organic produce as well as non-GMO convenience foods – but also want meat, dairy and eggs from animals that were fed non-GMO or organic feed.
3.Other countries primarily grow non-GE crops, and plenty of organic. They’ve got the goods and they reap the benefits of trade.
This is ridiculous, as the U.S. could not only use a valuable export, but could honestly use a supportive, in-house product. Yet again, we find ourselves outsourcing for staples. Shouldn’t our own farmers be benefiting from this rise in demand coming from their country? Yet again, farmers have been tricked and kicked by the very companies with which they sign agreements.
U.S. consumers are coming into awareness about how their food affects their health and want superior products, which sadly, aren’t always available here…yet.
An analysis of U.S. trade data released Wednesday by the Organic Trade Association and Pennsylvania State University shows a spike in corn from Romania and soybeans from India. The chief executive officer of OTA is prompting farmers that the market is open for converts. She called it a “help-wanted” sign for farmers and said, “There are market distortions that are pretty striking.”


Government snooping through your emails without a warrant: Not just the NSA

The SEC and IRS, among other government agencies, love, love, love administrative subpoenas to snoop through emails without probable cause. Techdirt writes:
The story that we keep hearing is that two government agencies in particular really like ECPA's outdated system: the IRS and the SEC. Since both only have administrative subpoena power, and not the ability to issue warrants like law enforcement, the lower standards of ECPA make it much easier for them to snoop through your emails without having to show probable cause. Last year, in a Congressional hearing, the SEC's boss, Mary Jo White, was questioned about this by Congressman Kevin Yoder, who has been leading the charge on ECPA reform. As we reported at the time, in the conversation, White clearly said that the SEC needed this ability or it would lose "critical" information in its investigations.
The practice is very widespread. For example, see below that the Georgia Department of Labor has placed an ad for a subpoena specialist.  Feel safe though:  Candidates must have a high school diploma.

The Corker Bill Isn’t a Victory — It’s a Constitutional Perversion

You think maybe, just maybe, the Corker bill isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be? You’d be right. When you read the legislation, it becomes apparent that Senator Corker is simply channeling his inner Mitch McConnell. Back in 2011, the Senate’s then-minority leader was flummoxed by the national debt. No, not by its enormous size. Afraid of being lambasted by the media for slowing the gravy train, he wanted to help Obama raise the debt by many additional trillions of dollars; but equally fearing the wrath of those who’d elected him precisely to slow the gravy train, he wanted to appear as a staunch opponent of such profligacy.


How the Federal Reserve Is Destroying Your Economic Future

When it comes to what goes on in the marble corridors of the Federal Reserve, Americans tend to be suspicious. For different reasons, both the right and the left have challenged Fed policies aimed at bolstering the economy in the wake of the Great Recession. In two papers for the Institute of New Economic Thinking’s Working Group on the Political Economy of Distribution, “Have Large Scale Asset Purchases Increased Bank Profits?” and the forthcoming “The Impact of ‘Quantitative Easing’ on Expected Profits: Explaining the Rise and Fall of the Fed’s QE Policy,” economist Gerald Epstein and his colleague Juan Antonio Montecino sought to find out who in the economy tends to benefit from the Fed’s actions. They conclude that Wall Street and wealthy Americans are the big winners from policies like quantitative easing, while the rest see little improvement in their economic lives. End result? Inequality is getting worse.


The market-based solution to California's water crisis

California is battling a devastating drought, and the Golden State's heavy-handed Democratic administration has an ill-conceived plan to use aggressive government regulations to save the day. Not only is this wrong, but it won't actually do much to solve the water crisis afflicting California, which requires less — not more — government intrusion in people's lives.

The standard narrative about California's crisis is that three rainless years have depleted the state's major water reservoirs, thinned the snowpack, and dried up the rivers, causing a massive water shortage that requires mandatory cuts in water use.

However, as the young proverb goes, nature makes droughts, but men make scarcity. In this case, the scarcity is the result of a cascading series of poor policy decisions by government officials. Chief among the problems is cheap, below-market water prices for everyone — but especially politically favored groups.


Preventing a Coming Ice Age

Geo-engineering has become a buzzword again, thanks to a recent two-volume report of the US National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council [NAS-NRC 2015; http://bit.ly/EOSNRC].  Driven by exaggerated concerns about greenhouse (GH) warming catastrophes, the reports pursued mainly two project ideas:

Reducing atmospheric levels of the GH-gas CO2, starting with fairly innocuous schemes like planting tree farms to fertilizing the Southern Oceans by adding missing micro-nutrients (an idea much favored by the late oceanographer Roger Revelle) – all the way to full-scale engineering proposals that involve the direct removal of ambient CO2, with subsequent underground sequestration – a vastly more expensive undertaking of dubious technical feasibility.
The other favored approach would try to increase Earth’s albedo to reduce the amounts of solar energy reaching the surface.  In analogy with volcanic eruptions, reflective aerosols would be injected into the stratosphere – a costly and unproven scheme, likely to constitute an environmental hazard to stratospheric ozone.
It is doubtful that either project will gain approval – beyond further studies and some feasibility tests.  Costs and risks are too high, and they may not even be needed.  Yet geo-engineering seems to make perfect sense when used to overcome a sure-to-arise ice-age glaciation.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

ObamaCare's Financial Crisis Is Fast Approaching

Earlier this month, the Obama administration reversed course on spending cuts to the popular Medicare Advantage program. Instead of a nearly 1% cut in payments, private health insurers that offer Advantage plans to seniors would get a 1.25% boost.
The turnabout hardly made news, which isn't surprising since it was the third year in a row that the administration said it was planning to cut payments only to reverse course.
It is, however, emblematic of the fiscal trouble ObamaCare has planted in the federal budget.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Hillary Clinton Seeks U.S. Presidency -- Three Reasons to Say 'No'

No better illustration exists of the dysfunctional nature of American politics than the phenomenon of Hillary Clinton. Devoid of any measurable accomplishments that have unambiguously advanced the interests of the United States and her people, Mrs. Clinton's stature as the frontrunner in the upcoming 2016 presidential contest and virtual shoo-in for the Democratic Party's nomination is predicated entirely on her status as a political celebrity. And those who are utterly objective recognize that this celebrity power that has catapulted Hillary Clinton to within striking distance of the presidency is totally derived from the brand name that comes with being the wife of Bill Clinton. It is simply inconceivable that Hillary Clinton would have embarked on her journey towards the presidency, which began with her election as Senator from New York in November 2000, if her surname had been anything other than Clinton.

No doubt, millions will discard objectivity and project their hopes for the future on the public persona of Hillary Clinton, as it will be carefully constructed by professional political strategists and public relations experts, all funded by the billion dollars plus that the Clinton brand will attract through its fundraising apparatus. Those who are more sober and reflective in their political judgments should consider the following three points I raise as reasons to be wary of a second Clinton presidency.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

Climate Debate

This note extends past Climate Change discussions.  Peruse at your leisure.  They are thoughtful and most informative.  Some are particularly insightful.

This item was written by Dr. Patrick Moore, the co-founder of  "Greenpeace and currently serves as chair of Allow Golden Rice. Moore received the 2014 Speaks Truth to Power Award at the Ninth International Conference on Climate Change, July 8."  He provides his reasons for being a climate change skeptic.  Quote: "By its constitution, the IPCC has a hopeless conflict of interest. Its mandate is to consider only the human causes of global warming, not the many natural causes changing the climate for billions of years. We don’t understand the natural causes of climate change any more than we know if humans are part of the cause at present. If the IPCC did not find humans were the cause of warming, or if it found warming would be more positive than negative, there would be no need for the IPCC under its present mandate. To survive, it must find on the side of the apocalypse."  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2015/03/20/why-i-am-climate-change-skeptic 

This item is an opinion piece that offers a unique view of climate change, provides a bit of history and what is apparently not considered by its advocates.  While it offers insight into the author's opinion he provides the historical sources supporting his observations. I highly recommend reading this item.  http://www.activistpost.com/2015/03/why-sustainable-earth-but-not.html?  

This is but one of many examples of the provable problems associated with climate change. This one is regards tampering with evidence.  Quote: Columnist Christopher Booker cites the work of Paul Homewood on his “Not A Lot of People Know That” climate blog. He writes about a study of 60 years of Paraguay climate data, "In each instance, the actual trend of 60 years of data had been dramatically reversed, so that a cooling trend was changed to one that showed a marked warming,” wrote Booker.  In the new piece, Booker reports on Homewood’s research into the original and revised data at many other South American weather stations.  “In each case he found the same suspicious one-way ‘adjustments,’” reported Booker."  And, "“Look for a cover-up because there’s huge volumes of money involved,” he said. “There are political implications with this [and] with Obama with climate change as the key thing. Now they’ve got the pope involved in it. So there will be a scramble to counteract this. I mean a real vigorous scramble.”  So how will climate-change activists fight back against these revelations? [PhD meterologist] Ball expects the same tactics he’s witnessed through the decades in this debate.  “They tell lies,” he said. “They come out and say severe weather has increased when it hasn’t. They say that the temperature is continuing to increase when it hasn’t. They just tell lies about it, and that’s what’s going on. Of course, as everybody knows, it’s not the original crime that gets you in trouble. It’s the cover-up.”   http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/globalwarming/11395516/The-fiddling-with-temperature-data-is-the-biggest-science-scandal-ever.html

The old adage of follow the money applies to the climate alarmists dubious claims of the need to fund even more dubious global warming abatement initiatives, money much better spent for the benefit of mankind in a host of other areas.  Businesses, average Americans and especially the poor will pay the price for this unconscionable and unjustified over-reach on the part of the government. This item illustrates the point. Regarding six initiatives the climate alarmists are pursuing consider this quote: "Above all, it reflects a conviction that alarmists have a right to control our energy use, lives, livelihoods and living standards, with no transparency and no accountability for mistakes they make or damage they inflict on disfavored industries and families."     http://townhall.com/columnists/pauldriessen/2015/03/28/the-tip-of-the-climate-spending-iceberg-n1977444/page/full  

This item explores some of the implications of new EPA rules and the damage they cause by complicating construction, utility and a host of other projects intended for good, not to mention the exorbitant costs and time delays they cause for little if any measurable gain. Quote: "The CEQ and White House violate the letter, spirit and intent of NEPA when they abuse it to protect us from exaggerated or imaginary climate risks decades from now – by hobbling job creation, families, human health and welfare, and environmental quality tomorrow. That their actions will impact poor, minorities and working classes most of all makes the CEQ proposal even more pernicious."  http://townhall.com/columnists/pauldriessen/2015/04/11/the-obama-climate-monarchy-n1983593/page/full

Back in September 2014 Weather Bell Channel chief scientist, Joe Bastardi, expressed his frustration with those promoting the climate change narrative.  Here are a couple of quotes.  "The mask came off. It’s about destroying capitalism, destroying freedom as we know it,” said Bastardi, who earlier this week suggested climate science was “prostituted” by global warming activists."  Remember this remark was made by Bastardi a full year before the Chief UN climate scientist publically admitted that climate change is not the issue they are attacking but capitalism as we know it,”   http://www.wnd.com/2014/09/weather-chief-obama-prostituting-climate-science/

One would think that the person in charge of the EPA would know the answer to these simple questions.  http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/030515-742253-epa-chief-cannot-answer-global-warming-questions.htm?  Here is what she is up to despite her lack of knowledge about the topic she is charged with managing.   http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/06/epa-rushes-to-finish-global-warming-regulations-before-obama-leaves-office/?

Quote: "Spencer is not the first to criticize NCDC’s adjustments to temperature data. Science blogger Steven Goddard (his pen name) has been arguing for years that government climate agencies have been tampering with temperature data to create a significant warming trend where none actually exists. “NCDC pulls every trick in the book to turn the US cooling trend into warming. The raw data shows cooling since the 1920s,” Goddard told The Daily Caller News Foundation in a previous interview."    http://dailycaller.com/2015/03/09/more-evidence-of-climate-data-tampering-by-noaa/?

The item at the link is much more likely an influence on our weather patterns than CO2 which is claimed to be a dangerous atmospheric pollutant, even though as this item points out, it is a mere 0.039% of the atmosphere and is good for forests and agriculture.  Quote: "It is common sense to believe that the sun has more influence on global temperatures than a trace gas. With a 17 year “pause” in the predicted outcomes of an increase in atmospheric CO2, warmists face more and more awkward questions. If temperatures actually decline as a result of an expected decrease in solar activity, at some point the game will be up, and the billions of dollars a year squandered on climate modeling that doesn’t predict what happens will have to dry up." http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/02/bad_news_for_warmists_sun_has_entered_weakest_solar_cycle_in_a_century.html

This item reviews the efficacy of geoengineering projects seeking to curb CO2 emissions. http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2015/02/into_the_brave_new_world_of_geoengineering.html

Another item that pokes a hole in the climate change story.  http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/patrickmichaels/2015/02/16/untitled-n1957682?    Dubious predictions continue to emerge based on other global warming predictions.  These two professors claim that airlines will be routinely forced out of the air because of global warming 50 years hence.   http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/michaelschaus/2015/02/18/alarmists-claim-global-warming-will-ground-airplanes-in-50-years-n1958768/page/full   And here: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2015/02/calm_the_climate_alarmism_in_dallas.html  

George Burns

Obamacare’s $800 Billion Tax Hike Explained in One Chart

April 15 is right around the corner, and millions of Americans will find themselves paying more in taxes than ever thanks to Obamacare.
The law is more than a fundamental change to the country’s health care system. It also is a massive tax hike. As The Heritage Foundation’s Federal Budget in Pictures shows, according to the most recent scores, Obamacare will increase taxes by nearly $800 billion for the period of 2013-2022.


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

IMF Warns of Low Potential Economic Growth Around World

The world's growth potential took a big hit after the 2007-2009 financial crisis and is likely to lag for years, implying that interest rates should likely stay low for quite a while, the International Monetary Fund said in a study.
Potential growth, which gauges how fast economies can grow over time without hitting inflationary speed bumps, already was slowing in richer economies before the financial crisis due to aging populations and a drop in technological innovation.
But declines in private investment and employment growth cut annual potential growth in these countries to 1.3 percent between 2008 and 2014, half a percentage point lower than before the crisis, according to the IMF study.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Reid Family Values: Prime Suspect in Beatdown of Elderly Senator Arrested for Assault on Cop

Senator Harry Reid’s 73-year-old brother has been arrested and charged with driving drunk and hitting a police officer. Larry Reid was arrested for DUI about 12:40 p.m. between Boulder City and Searchlight in Nevada. Mr. Reid was also charged with battery of a police officer, driving across a median, resisting arrest, not wearing a seat belt and possession of a gun while under the influence of alcohol.A trooper saw Larry Reid’s Lexus SUV in the dirt median with the engine still running, Patrol spokesman Trooper Loy Hixson said.
The Nevada Senator’s office released a statement confirming that Larry Reid is the Democrat’s brother, saying only that it is ‘a private matter.’ Details of the arrest were not immediately available since the official complaint had not been filed with the court.
Meanwhile, his older brother, Senator Harry Reid, who recently suffered an accident while exercising, said in a video message last week he would not seek re-election next year, and threw his weight behind New York Senator Chuck Schumer to replace him when he leaves office.

Economics And Such

This note focusses on a variety of items that expose the weakness of our economy which, in large measure, is a result of ill-advised government actions.  Please, time permitting, read any items that may be of interest to you.  For its own reasons too many in the media either ignore, do not investigate or attempt to fully inform us of things we deserve to know about.  One of their primary functions is to keep the government honest by their investigations and reporting of findings.  While there are exceptions more than not reporting of its activities is confined to parroting what the government wants us to know.  If time limited please at least read the first four paragraphs.

Think of what this will do to our kids, grandkids and further.  Our government's spending and borrowing is out of control.  Take a look at the chart in this item to see the ever increasing tax burden we are allowing our government to pass along to them.  http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/16/how-much-will-each-americans-share-of-the-national-debt-grow-to-be/?  By the way here is an interesting tax item.  Do you know who pays the most taxes?  This item shows the spread of taxation across the population.   http://dailysignal.com/2015/03/18/the-top-1-percent-pay-35-percent-of-federal-income-taxes/? 

Government meddling in the private economy causes untold problems. Quote: "A fundamental tenet of socialist economic theory is the nationalization of production. That means more government control over the means of economic activity advancing more public and less private sector investment, ingenuity and innovation concept that government can provide services better and be a fair competitor with the private sector. That of course is a horrible misconception. First, government does not have to raise capital, it simply raises taxes – or it can print money to fund its programs. Government does not have to pay for advertising its “product,” it uses unlimited taxpayer funds. Government does not have to produce a superior product, it can use the legislative process to “mandate” – we call it coerce – behavior, forcing acceptance."    http://townhall.com/columnists/allenwest/2015/03/20/government-and-the-private-sector--a-case-study-n1973543/page/full

This analysis provides an excellent example of the negative consequences resulting from government meddling in the private economy.  The analysis is based on data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  Quote: "This direct evidence strongly indicates that Obamacare, as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is more popularly known, has directly led to a decline in the quality of life of American consumers since its passage, as American consumers are now much less able on average to consume other goods and services to the same extent they were prior to the passage of the law."  http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/politicalcalculations/2015/03/31/a-direct-cause-of-the-declining-quality-of-life-for-americans-n1978483/page/full 

Quote: "If you only looked at the data on the national level, you would never have seen the formation of this recessionary trend that explains the U.S. economy's current state of malaise as it has entered what might best be described at this point as a hidden recession. At the very least, this data confirms that the U.S. has entered into a period of microrecession, which depending upon how the scope, severity and duration of these contractionary forces evolve, could mark the beginning of an official period of recession as might be determined by the National Bureau of Economic Research."     http://finance.townhall.com/columnists/politicalcalculations/2015/04/07/new-jobless-claims-and-the-hidden-recession-n1981507?

Quote: "A new study from the Center for Immigration Studies found that more than 18 million new immigrants have entered the United States either legally or illegally since 2000, while only 9.3 million jobs were added over the same period of time. That represents two new immigrants for every job created in the past 14 years."   https://www.numbersusa.com/news/study-93-million-new-jobs-and-18-million-new-immigrants-2000   Do you still think this illegal alien thing is a good deal for America and American job seekers?  Before you respond, read this.  For the first time in history  CNS News reports that more than 93 million eligible workers are out of the labor force.  Yet the administration and supportive pundits say our unemployment rate is just 5.5% and improving.  How can that be? Assuming a population of 310 million the real number is pushing a unemployment rate of around 30 percent.   http://cnsnews.com/news/article/ali-meyer/americans-not-labor-force-exceed-93-million-first-time-627-labor-force  And the President wants to add illegal aliens to that list???

Current market volatility is not a good sign.   http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/236395-graham-threatens-to-withhold-un-funding   And it is safe to say that despite repeated promises that the Obamacare employer mandates would not hurt jobs, the facts tell a different story.  Quote: "The picture of what’s happening to our nation’s economy is clear, though no one in the Obama administration would ever admit to it. Obamacare is not just an ill-conceived plan, it’s a direct attack on the private sector. We are moving further and further away from true economic freedom, and capitalism cannot sustain itself when regulations push businesses out of the marketplace. That’s no problem for Obama and those like him; they would love nothing more than to see us replace capitalism with a planned, socialist economy. It’s entirely possible that the ACA was designed to fail from the start, all in the hopes that from its ashes could rise true universal healthcare."   http://totalconservative.com/survey-shows-devastating-toll-of-employer-mandate/

Here is an example of executive branch over-reach.  The EPA is notorious for such efforts and this case is before the Supreme Court.  Quote: "The EPA’s proposed regulations are expected to cost the coal industry a whopping $9.6 billion, but only offer a meager $500,000 to $6 million in public health benefits."     http://townhall.com/columnists/ilyashapiro/2015/03/29/more-executive-overreach-this-time-from-the-epa-n1977499/page/full

Quote: "Beginning last August, and continuing through the start of this year, Southern California Edison (SCE) is laying off 400 of its tech workers, so they can be replaced with foreign guest workers on H-1B visas. The company expects another 100 workers to be affected. The displaced workers are receiving support from both local unions and some in Congress, including Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)."   https://www.numbersusa.com/news/members-congress-and-union-rally-support-workers-laid-h-1b-hires  And yes a Republican is in the middle of the whole fiasco.  He should either resign or be fired by his constituents.

Do you really think the government is working in behalf of American workers?  Quote: "A week ago, the Center for Immigration Studies made public some government statistics it obtained through a Freedom Of Information Act request from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. USCIS' data show that since 2009, the executive branch has issued 982,000 new work permits to citizens of other countries who were in the United States illegally. The government statistics also show that 470,000 work permits have been issued to aliens here on tourist visas. During this time, work permits were issued to aliens in multiple visa categories that are not eligible for U.S. employment by law. In all, USCIS issued approximately five and a half million work permits "outside the limits set by Congress" according to the report."  https://www.numbersusa.com/blog/govt-statistics-related-dhs-funding-debate-go-unreported-mainstream-media   Be sure to note how the mainstream media treats the topic.

A welfare state is an economically unstable state.   http://eaglerising.com/15944/deadly-welfare-state/   Moreover, this item provides substantiating facts that obviate notions commonly held about inequity. For, example consider this quote:  "The question is not whether people start out life in homogeneous circumstances, he adds. "The question is whether government policies that try to fix this actually make things better or worse." Worse, in most cases. Government "help" encourages poor people to be dependent and passive. Dependent, people stay poor. Also, most government handouts don't even go to the poor. They go to the middle class (college loans, big mortgage tax deductions, Medicare) and the rich (corporate welfare, bailouts to banks "too big to fail")." http://townhall.com/columnists/johnstossel/2015/03/11/whats-fair-n1968503/page/full   and this item addressed the shortcomings of the minimum wage. http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/236395-graham-threatens-to-withhold-un-funding

There is a movement afoot to bind the United States to an international Climate Change court.  That is a very, very dangerous move and would prove to be an economic disaster for our country.  Please read this item to gain insight into the history of past such efforts and current ones led by President Obama and his administration.  Quote: "Now we actually have a Kyoto court and the president saying ratification has proven to be a problem. We’ve seen that when our system causes him obstacles, he decides he doesn’t have any use for our system...It will be stacked with people who style themselves as climate jurists seeking climate justice, which as we’ve seen in recent years, means pretty much any grievance there is, climate is an excuse to force a wealth transfer to remedy it."   http://www.wnd.com/2015/03/will-obama-force-u-s-to-submit-to-climate-justice-tribunal/

None of the above bode well for our country's future.  Worse yet these are just some of the things our government is doing that, despite the evidence that its meddling in the economy is ruinous, they continue to do so...  One really does have to wonder what they are thinking, doing and why.

George Burns