Saturday, October 31, 2015

Senators We Need to Replace

Below is a list of senators who are up for re-election in 2016. I think it is time for the voters to retire these people. The senior Democrat has been in the senate 40 years and the senior Republican up for re-election has been there 34 years. We need new government and this is a place to start. They may not want term limits, but the people have the power to impose term limits on them.

Senators That Need To Be Replaced

Senator
State
Seniority Date
Years in Senate


Democrats

Leahy, Patrick J
VT
01/14/75
40

Murray, Patty
WA
01/05/93
22

Wyden, Ron
OR
02/06/96
19

Schumer, Charles E
NY
01/06/99
16


Republicans

Grassley, Charles E
IA
01/05/81
34

Shelby, Richard C
AL
01/06/87
28

McCain, John
AZ
01/06/87
28

Crapo, Michael D
ID
01/06/99
16

Murkowski, Lisa
AK
12/20/02
13

Isakson, Johnny
GA
01/04/05
10

Vitter, David
LA
01/04/05
10

Burr, Richard M
NC
01/04/05
10

Thune, John
SD
01/04/05
10

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Economic Common Sense

The fundamental purpose of business is profit. If you believe anything else, you have never been in business or seriously considered how businesses operate. To stay in business, you must be competitive with other businesses that sell the same or similar products.

There are a few people that seem to believe businesses are started to create jobs. The fact is, that only happens with government jobs. Since profit is not a motivational factor for government they do not care what the labor costs are, because they do not spend their own money – they spend our money.

Production costs include equipment to operate the business, raw materials to create the products and labor to use the equipment that turns the raw material into finished products. When you sell the products the government collects taxes based on the amount of money you make selling your products.

Anything that a business has to pay out reduces profits and makes going into business less attractive. Large corporations like to keep the costs as low as possible to maximize profits. Raising corporate taxes causes businesses to move their production to lower taxed locations. Right now the United States has the highest corporate taxes in the world, so businesses are taking their money and production facilities to countries that are more favorable tax wise. Unfortunately when businesses leave they take their jobs with them.

Small businesses usually pay personal income tax rather than corporate tax. Individuals are normally not mobile because of family relationships, cultural considerations and social ties to where they reside, so when taxes get too high they just close the door on their business and the people they employed are now without jobs.

That is the atmosphere businesses have been struggling in since Obama was first elected and Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed Obama’s first budget. Big business left or reduced operations here and moved to other countries. Small businesses just did not start or closed down, waiting for a more encouraging tax policy.

Now more people are on unemployment, welfare and forced into retirement than any other time in our history. Obama also opened the borders to allow many other people to come in and share the scarce government benefits available. Throw in Obamacare which moved millions of people from full time to part time employment and what do we have left? A dangerous situation, Mr. Magoo.

Our country now goes $500,000,000,000 more into debt each year and Congress is being asked to raise the spending cap, because our debt is going to exceed the $18.1 trillion spending allowed. Even with record tax revenue, we do not have enough people working to keep the government operating in the black.

The Democrat presidential candidates are trying to see who can give away more free stuff to the most people, using our money to buy votes for themselves. They like high taxes and use it as punishment against people who are successful. They chastise businesses for leaving and call them unpatriotic, while their own policies are driving businesses away.

Republicans want to reduce government spending, lower taxes and bring companies and jobs back to this country. This will increase employment, increase tax revenue and lower the cost of government and get people off of welfare and back to being productive citizens again.

You can like Democrats and vote for them for a number of reasons. Economics cannot possibly be one of those reasons. I do not understand how anyone that has common sense could cast a vote wanting more failed Democrat economic policies. People need to be self-sufficient and that requires a job. Americans in the United States want their pride back.


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

How Data is Skewed

I have a lot of discussions with friends about political issues. Many issues are subjective and are open to interpretation. There are at least two major problems with most subjective discussions. The first is that people make assumptions and the second is that we do not know what the final outcome will be.

No one doubts that we have a bad situation in Iraq, but the issue of who caused the problems or made them worse is debatable. If GW Bush had not invaded Iraq, it is possible that Saddam Hussein might still be the dictator and causing headaches for the west while keeping Iran in check. Going back even further, If GHW Bush had not have driven Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, Bush 43 and Cheney may not have felt a need to go there either. You could conclude that any of the people previously named in this paragraph should take the blame. I agree, that is arguable.

When GW Bush left office and Obama took over, Obama pledged to end the war. He and Joe Biden claimed victory in Iraq, then Obama withdrew American forces from that country. Soon after, Nouri al-Maliki disbanded the semi-stable government and started replacing high ranking officials with his personal preference choices, which led to a rebellion, which led to ISIS strengthening and putting the whole region in chaos. Does this make Obama and Biden culpable or does the blame go to Maliki. Again it is debatable.

The truth is all of these people share responsibility for the chaotic situation. It appears Russia, Iran and Syria might get the final say about the future of the region. Too bad, because I never think of the Russians as the good guys. Unfortunately we have a whole political party in this country that does not think we are the good guys either. Subjective – does it matter? Are there any good guys left? If not us, who?

Subjective discussions I can understand. But I have some objective discussions with people that will not believe the truth. You can show them the data and they prefer to believe the lies they are told. I have said many times, our news services are doing a great disservice to this country by ignoring all the stories that do not fit the narrative they are trying to weave.

Many websites cherry-pick data to make a point. For instance you can compare unemployment data and pick the highest unemployment number for each Republican President and the lowest unemployment number for each Democrat President. Who do you suppose looks good in that chart? You could also take a snapshot of the President’s first or last day in office and display the one that best suits the story you are trying to tell.

Everyone tries to present information in a way that is most fits their narrative. So do I, but I much prefer to see actual numbers and I usually do before I create charts. Do you remember the climate scientists always seem to lose the actual data? Then the Obama Administration had the NOAA going around the world changing actual temperature data to fit a computer model that predicts the future. Scientists do not hide their data – thus my conclusion there are no climate scientists, only unscrupulous people that want big government grants. A sad situation Mr. Holmes.

A few charts of interest from US Government statistics.

This displays average unemployment numbers. Obama's average is still going down since he is still in office.

Labor force participation rate. Nixon, Carter and Bush 41 were putting people back to work. Clinton & Bush 43 kept it mostly stable, then came Obama.

Johnson and Clinton did well and Obama is trending in the right direction.



Friday, October 9, 2015

House Dilemma

The situation: John Boehner has resigned from the United States House of Representatives, thus giving up his job as Speaker of the House. His closest ally in the house, Kevin McCarthy was groomed to take over when Boehner left has now withdrawn his name as a replacement for Boehner in the speaker position. After McCarthy’s withdrawal, Republican house members were unable to agree on a consensus candidate. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), a huge Boehner supporter stated that house members were crying over the situation. I have heard reports that Democrats across the world are laughing at the inept Republicans.

Maybe so and who cares. The Democrats needed a good laugh because they do not recognize the laughable occurrences in their own party. They ignore corruption amongst their own and fight harder to get their corrupt politicians elected than a Republican will defend his or her self. When corrupt Republicans are caught red handed, they get chastised and expelled by the Republican Party. When Democrats are caught red handed, they get re-elected and praised by their party. I say let these people laugh.

The Tea Party organizations began soon after Obama was first elected to the presidency. He along with Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi passed Obama’s first budget that increased cash flow into Washington by 25%. At the same time they raised taxes on individuals and corporations that stymied our economy and in subsequent years have driven 90,000,000 people out of the workforce.

For the next two elections the Taxed Enough Already (TEA) Party groups organized to get people elected that supported their point of view.   Remember Trent Lott the predecessor of John Boehner as Speaker of the House and a newly hired lobbyist. I will never forget the communication from Lott to Boehner after the first Tea Party representatives got into the House of Representatives. Trent Lott advised Boehner to get to these people early and turn them around so the Republicans could keep the status quo.

I say let the house Republicans cry. They have had us crying for years. I want all these establishment politicians sent home to become rich lawyers and authors of books that tell of the great deeds they accomplished as “the people’s servants.” I want them crying all the way home.

Do not worry about John Boehner and his future. He will retire from congress with about $220,000 per year government retirement income and I predict before the next election he will become a lobbyist making twice as much more than his retirement income. That is the corrupt system Boehner and his friends have been fighting to preserve.

The errors John Boehner made were many. He was the worst negotiator in the world. He usually announced six months ahead of time that he was giving in on everything Obama wanted. He announced he was not willing to fight for anything Republicans are supposed to believe in. Boehner and his cohort in the Senate, Mitch McConnell felt the most important thing was to get a majority in both houses of Congress so Republicans could be in charge. Well, the electorate gave them that. In return, they gave us exactly what Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi gave us. I say send all these Washington elitists home crying.

For years all John Boehner was interested in representing was big money donors to keep getting him re-elected. He lied to the public and told a completely different story went he met with the National Chamber of Commerce. Boehner wanted more immigration to give businesses cheaper labor at our expense. He supported amnesty for all illegal immigrants. He was not on our team.

Boehner biggest mistake was not listening to his house membership. He openly ridiculed “The Freedom Caucus” which consisted mostly of Tea Party elected representatives. He removed them from committee chairmanships and did everything he could to minimize their influence. Boehner and Kevin McCarthy lied to their membership to get votes for bills they could not get honestly. Boehner was big on “show votes” that did not have a chance to become law, but allowed house members to go home and tell their constituents they tried. All legislation of significance passed by Boehner required Democrat support. Basically he wrote off one third of his own Republican house membership and this led to his current situation.

The truth is the outcome of the rest of Obama’s tenure is going to be the same as if Boehner had stayed. His leaving does not change the power of the presidency. If the new speaker is not willing to listen to and elicit support from all his Republican membership, that speaker will be a failure also. You cannot take people’s voice away and expect to stay their leader. We need a speaker that listens to his people and his constituents to unite the Republican Party. We need a speaker that will make his case publicly to the American people. We need a leader in the speaker position. We need leadership.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Statistics and Arguments

I have had some interesting discussions with some of my Facebook friends the last few weeks. Most of the discussions are political in nature and how the country is progressing now compared to previous administrations. What I like most about the discussions is how people are willing to argue for what they believe to be true.

It is normal for people to try and sell their point of view. Many arguments take place on an emotional level and have no basis in fact. There is a tremendous amount of misinformation disseminated daily on the internet and many people believe what they read, if it supports their position.

Normal sales techniques include emphasizing the information you think is important and ignoring information that does not support your position. I am familiar with the techniques and use them myself. I think this is normal behavior. A good salesman knows that people make decisions based on emotion and try to defend their decisions with logic. The sales pitch does not seem to work the same when I try to explain to my wife why I bought something I did not need, but that is another subject.

Our newspapers and broadcast news media are masters at ignoring stories that might show a Democrat in an unfavorable light. Stories that support their position usually get on page one and stories that they do not like end up on page 27 or get ignored completely. I think this bias is a disservice to news consumers and damaging to our country.

I try to be accurate with my facts and I expect people to read what I say with skepticism. That is okay with me, since that is how I read everything. If you do find information I espouse to be in error, please let me know. I usually check my facts and I like it when other people do the same. Most of the actual statistics I present come from government databases.

If you ever look at data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics you can be overwhelmed in a hurry. There is so much data available, it makes it hard to find exactly what you want to know. Google sometimes gives shortcuts into the big database.

I have a degree from the University of Houston in mathematics, but I do not claim to be a statistician. It has been so long since I studied rigorously, sometimes I have to refresh my memory once I get past algebra and into calculus or trigonometry. I do like numbers and I am normally more interested in historical data and trends than I am in current information. A snapshot of current data is valuable for some applications, but without the historic context it means little to me.


Below are some charts that might be of interest to some people.

Note how forcing people out of the workforce decreases unemployment. A direct correlation in recent years.

Workforce participation climbed in the seventies and eighties and is now in decline again.

This chart show the wealthy are getting wealthier much faster than the poor and middle class are progressing. A trend that needs to change.