Friday, October 30, 2009

650K New Jobs Created (Or Saved)

The latest numbers from a WSJ article

$339B of the $787B has been spent and 650K jobs created (or saved). That's only $521,539 per job. As I have said before, that is one great job! When the President publishes these numbers its bad enough. When the people believe something like this, it's unforgiveable. In that case, the American people deserve what they've voted for. You like Socialism? Let's see how it plays out. Enjoy the ride.

I think I've come to a point where I see the train coming and I, along with a multitude of others, are crying out that it's coming and its going to whack us hard. Yet, people don't seem to pay attention to it. The only thing left is to brace yourself and let it hit. Maybe then people will realize they are in the midst of a train wreck.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Prediction: It's Your Fault

I have almost no doubt by next year at about this time, and probably earlier, Obama's approval ratings will be hovering around 40% as the economy remains mired in double-digit unemployment and as the guvt money to "stimulate" the economy runs out like sand through fingers. My opinion is that Obama will react by accusing the American people of a failure of will, blame them for refusing to follow him and embracing "politics as usual", and will start to come apart at the seams. I don't think the man will be able to personally handle the failure that follows from advocating insane liberal policies. I believe the lesson he and his fellow liberals will learn is that its your fault. Anyone who knows liberals knows they can't possibly acknowledge that its evidence of the intellectual bankruptcy of their ideas. Silly cult like faith doesn't die easily.

Da Economy is 'On the Grow'

Today a report came out that said 3rd quarter U.S. GDP grew at a decent 3.5% annualized pace. I guess the recession is over. There is no doubt that Obama will stand up and give a speech declaring that his government spending policies are responsible. He has pumped almost $200B of the $800B stimulus into the economy and, more significantly, the Fed has basically flooded the economy with about $2Trillion dollars!

Unfortunately, the recession is actually a long way from over. How an economy grows is actually surprisingly easy to understand. The bottom line is that people invest money in a product or service that people want to buy. As more people buy the goodie, more people are needed to help supply it. This creates jobs, gives people a goodie they like, and is repeated millions of times for companies both big and small. The majority are in small companies.

Despite all the government spending and all the fascinating economic theories espoused by people like Paul Krugman, the fact is the basic facts don't change. Smart people can tinker with money policies, microeconomic tax policies to influence individual behavior via incentives, or just plain give people Obama guvt money. All these things are short term. The plain fact is that unless people are doing what was described in the previous paragraph these tinky dink academic economic theorists will not get us out a recession.

People always have a vested interest in making money and are naturally inclined to want to take risks and start or enhance a business. But there are limits to how much risk they will take when they perceive that government doesn't really have their interests in mind or understand what they face when they embark on a business venture. Current government policy is incoherent. It heaps new taxes on people and has the added disadvantage of being big and confusing because it is not yet transparent. Since business people have to plan long term, it is delaying a serious American economic recovery.

So celebrate the good news. America: You grew. Don't worry about the money you borrowed or how you will pay it back. For tomorrow will be dealt with tomorrow. In the long run we're all dead anyway. Carpe Diem!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

$194B Already Spent

In a followup to yesterday, it appears $194B of the "stimulus" has been spent. That's only $194K per million new jobs. That's a darn good job.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Stimulus Saved 1M Jobs

Nancy Pelosi, that renowned economist, setup the econometric model, isolated the key variables, get her R-squared to a point she liked it, and has decreed that the stimulus has saved 1M jobs. At a price tag of $787B that's only $787K per employee in just 9 months. Not a bad way to make a living if your one of the lucky million! I'm not sure how much has been spent. At this rate a check is bound to show up in my mailbox at some point. There are about 140M employed people to begin with (and shrinking). Maybe they can claim we all have a saved job thanks to their effort at some point. Thank you for my job dear leader!

According to one district, $34M from the Federales didn't create any jobs. But what do the local yokels know about how much they did or didn't spend? They can't count past 12, right?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Why Can't You Just Write A Check? Seriously?

From Obama's trip to New Orleans, my favorite quote of the day.

The storm killed some 1,600 people in Louisiana and Mississippi — and damage has been estimated at roughly $40 billion.... "I expected as much from the Bush administration, but why are we still being nickeled and dimed in our recovery?" asked Gabriel Bordenave, 29, of New Orleans.
"I wish I could write a blank check," Obama replied, promoting Bordenave to shout back, "Why not?"

Why not? Really? When the government is bailing out banks at $700B, spending $787B in "Stimulus", giving $50B to the auto industry, $13B to seniors, expanding healthcare by about $800B in 10 years, $3B to cash for clunkers, an $8K homebuyers credit (which will be expanded), and aslo giving away billions in other treats to community colleges, wind farms and solar, expanding unemployment benefits, what's another $40B for the folks in New Orleans? Seriously?

Smoking Bans and the Well Meaning

A new government report shows that second smoking may lead to a heart attack.

Thus, the evidence is clear that we must ban smoking in public places. There comes a point where well meaning people have to basically stop caring so much. I sometimes feel as though the government thinks it cares more for me than my own mother. It's going to protect me from secondhand smoke, save me via seatbelt laws, help me if I have a flood, get unemployed, need food stamps and housing, and give me a check and ensure I have healthcare when I'm old.

I can't help but think that there is a price I have to pay in order for all these wonderful gifts. The dollar price is clear enough. I do pay about 6.2% of every dollar I earn for that check that will come from the Treasury when I'm old. Assuming the fund is still solvent in 25 years. That's a big assumption. There is also the 3.1% I have to pay for my medicare gift.

Then there's the basic enjoyment people get from eating out, drinking soda and alcohol, or smoking cigarettes or cigars. I personally do not understand the attraction of cigarettes. I do smoke cigars. But it is more often a social thing and it helps me unwind. It's my guilty pleasure I suppose. But I've made many friends because of our common interest in cigars.

I get a sense that all this caring can't help over time but make people maybe a little dependent on its source. I like to think I care about myself and can weigh risks and rewards regarding how much I drink and smoke, what and where I eat, how I enjoy my leisure time, and so forth. Apparently, the government folks from on high feel they need to help me by studying the matter and than drawing clear lines about what I can and cannot do based on the results of the analysis.

I know that at some point I am going to die. I know that at some point I am going to get sick. I know that life is filled with risks from driving to entering into a bar where people smoke to possibly crossing the street. I am thinking that this type of control and this general lack of maturity in the population is taking its toll and government mandates are only going to increase in the coming years. When people can't police themselves and act somewhat modestly, the police have to step in and regulate and create more and more laws to deal with the more and more forms of lawbreaking. Maybe this is where we are. Maybe the government is justified. Maybe the American people no longer really deserve to be respected as reasonably capable to act responsibly. So long as we have what we need, what do we care? Just give me my checks and protect me from myself and others. Thank you dear leaders.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

$250 For Every Senior

Step right up folks. Obama pledged to pay 50M senior citizens $250 each. Why not? They vote right? How much do we need to vote for Obama? Give me $1,000 and I'll pull the lever for you. Add it on. It's only another $13B in spending. The carnival continues.

My Budget Deficit Quote of The Day

From Ms. Judy Shelton writing in the WSJ:

"By the end of 2019, according to the administration's budget numbers, our federal debt will reach $23.3 trillion—as compared to $11.9 trillion today. To put it in perspective: U.S. federal debt was equal to 61.4% of GDP in 1999; it grew to 70.2% of GDP in 2008 (under the Bush administration); it will climb to an estimated 90.4% this year and touch the 100% mark in 2011, after which the projected federal debt will continue to equal or exceed our nation's entire annual economic output through 2019."

Here's another one from the Seeking Alpha site

"It goes without saying that part of the gold price advances were also caused by further weakness of the U.S. dollar. Is the greenback now finally finding some support at current levels? We have our doubts and continue to be bearish on the U.S. dollar for several reasons. Although we think that the risk for strong inflationary pressures have fallen somewhat, it is clear that the U.S. does not have too much interest in a strong currency. With the amount of government debt now at record levels, the last thing the U.S. wants is a strong currency.
Also, the U.S. dollar’s role as the world’s sole leading currency is coming to an end, and, although it will remain an important currency, its share of world currency reserves is going to fall further from here.The recent rumors that the greenback will be replaced as the “oil currency” gives clear evidence that the relative importance of the U.S. dollar is falling.
Although the current amount of government debt is almost mind blowing, we don’t think that it is a hopeless situation. Compared to the size of the U.S. economy it is still manageable but in our view drastic measures to correct the unpleasant situation need to be taken."

I wonder if the auther would consider starting a new $800B over 10-year new healthcare entitlement a drastic measure to correct the unpleasant situation.

The bottom line of a weak dollar for you:
1. Commodity prices will increase. You will pay more for food and gas. This is because as the dollar loses value, these assets see their prices rise as investors flood money towards them instead of investing in assets with dollar denominations such as bonds, etc. Plus, exported goods from other countries will become relatively more expensive. The positive of this is that goods we produce for export will become cheaper so maybe we can sell more to the rest of the world. If you work in an industry that exports goods you may benefit.

2. Your debt may not be a big deal. If the value of the dollar plunges, your home values may rise as more people use money to invest in physical assets such as real estate. Your home value may go up as a result in the long run. Also, a weak dollar will likely lead to inflation.

Overall, 1 and 2 means it's good for what you own and in devaluing your debt. It's bad if you got to buy food and gas.

3. The worst thing about a devalued dollar is that it alters business investment decisions negatively and long term planning is confused for those who have to think about boring business stuff like where should we open a new store? should we expand a line of goods? open a new factory? Since jobs don't grow on trees and are a consequence of these types of things, it's really bad news for you. But cheer up. At least you'll have free healthcare!

Monday, October 12, 2009

My Blogging Slowdown

In recent weeks my ire has not been raised as it has been throughout the year. I am increasingly resigned to the feeling that this is how it's going to be for awhile. No sense in getting a rise from it.

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend who is a big fan of the Constitution and America's founding fathers. He mentioned that the Founders knew that if the government grew to be too big, people would start to vote for it to get even larger so they could personally get as many goodies out of it as possible. The Founders cautioned that a Democracy can't long exist if that's the case. I have heard that before. It's about where we are. I am resigned to it.

As I read the daily paper, alarm bells go off on at least several pages every day. I have blogged ad nauseum about a variety of things. In recent weeks it's been reported that as the dollar is sinking as commodity prices are rising. Foreign exchange markets are moving away from the dollar as the reserve currency. The dreadful ramifications of that are too long for me to explain today. But rest assured, it's not good for our country. And who really cares anyway? It's all a bunch of jibberish. The dollars sinking? What does that mean? So long as I can buy a can of Coke for 75 cents, to me it's not sinking. Just give me my healthcare. And save me money from expanding this entitlement while you're at it. Make sense? Iran is vociferously threatening Israel, which they've always done. But now the actually have real nukes and a religous fanatic at the helm. The death toll is rising in Afghanistan. Our economy shed another 263K jobs last month and within about a month or two we'll have 10% unemployment. But that's old news.

It seems we're in a new country. We're remaking America. While she was imperfect, I will miss her. What comes next and how it will look is anybody's guess. I sense the adults are no longer really in charge. We're no longer concerned with the price tag of anything, we just seem to buy and do whatever we want as a nation. There's a real immaturity in our country and in our leaders. Adults have ambitions too. It's just that a mature adult realizes that he has to weigh seriously the price tag and that how much you spend really matters. Mature people know limits. Then again, maybe maturity is overrated. Why have tomorrow what you can have today? We can have it all and we're worth it. Right?

I am coming to accept the new America. In my angrier moments I'd say this is God's judgment and our various moral and social breakdowns are finally extracting a price. But who the heck am I to say what God is doing?

Government Debt Will Kill Us

This is well worth reading about the consequences of the national debt and the idea we'll pay it off later.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ford's Sales Are Down

I know it is shocking but Ford reported a decline in sales for September.

As I've written, expect this to continue for awhile for other car companies. Why the government does these little "Cash for Clunkers" gimmicks is mystifying. Ah, not really. I suppose the government wants to look good for the masses. At least they can say they did something when really it's nothing. But it plays well in the Styx.