The Incredible Shrinking Middle Class

Yesterday, the labor department released the monthly unemployment numbers. While it claims that 192,000 new jobs were created and the unemployment rate remained steady at 6.7%, the truth is real unemployment is currently at 12.7%.

Don’t believe me?

I can hear you!

You’re out there saying; “Oh you crazy right-winger.”

Don’t take my word for it then, listen to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, I’m sure we can agree he is not a right winger:

The official unemployment rate for March was 6.7 percent, unchanged from February, but real unemployment ticked up to 12.7 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced on Friday. That number counts workers forced to settle for part-time jobs and those unemployed for so long that they have given up looking for work.

If you think those numbers are bad,  unemployment for 18-29 year olds are even worse:

The effective (U-6) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds, which adjusts for labor force participation by including those who have given up looking for work, is 15.5 percent (NSA). The (U-3) unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is 8.9 percent (NSA).

The declining labor force participation rate has created an additional 1.916 million young adults that are not counted as “unemployed” by the U.S. Department of Labor because they are not in the labor force, meaning that those young people have given up looking for work due to the lack of jobs.

But raising the minimum wage to $10.10 is going to help them.

That was sarcasm.

It will hurt them.

Is it any wonder the American middle class has shrunk by nearly 20% since 2008. This study by Pew research shows:

middle class shrinking

At the risk of beating a point to death, I end with this video by Texas Senator John Cornyn:

 This November let’s bring about the change America really needs

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In support of cynicism

cynicism meterIn general cynicism is not preferable, being a cynic is a very negative lifestyle.

cynicSometimes, though, life’s events leave one no choice but to become a cynic.

Case in point- Benghazi

Or more specifically the media’s coverage, rather their lack of coverage, regarding what transpired on that fateful day.

I know CIA Deputy Director, Mike Morrell’s, testimony before the House Intelligence Committee the other day was overshadowed by the tragic shooting at Fort Hood, but I certainly expected more coverage from the networks.

Silly me.

The Democrats on the Committee called the testimony a waste of time. Time, they felt, would be better spent trying to catch the people who committed the terrorist act. The cynic in me knew Democrats on the committee would do their best to protect the administration after all:

cynicism

Yes, Fox News is continuing their in depth coverage and in return are attacked for politicizing Benghazi. As for other media outlets… well they really do not have much to say. Most headlines are along the lines of;  “Former CIA official denies political influence in creating Benghazi talking points.”

Although I have to give CNN some credit, they did give us this tidbit:

You have to give them credit, they reported what happened.

That’s more than I expected. Should I rant that they didn’t question the truthfulness of Mike Morrell’s testimony?

Perhaps.

I’m just grateful they didn’t use this Headline: “Michele Bachmann floats new Benghazi Conspiracy Theory”

Sure, you can call me a cynic but the truth is:

the power of accurate observation

 

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Charles Koch: I’m fighting to restore a free society

Given the continuous attacks by Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid, on the Koch brothers, this open letter by Charles Koch is a must read:

I have devoted most of my life to understanding the principles that enable people to improve their lives. It is those principles—the principles of a free society—that have shaped my life, my family, our company and America itself.

Unfortunately, the fundamental concepts of dignity, respect, equality before the law and personal freedom are under attack by the nation’s own government. That’s why, if we want to restore a free society and create greater well-being and opportunity for all Americans, we have no choice but to fight for those principles. I have been doing so for more than 50 years, primarily through educational efforts. It was only in the past decade that I realized the need to also engage in the political process.

 truly free society is based on a vision of respect for people and what they value. In a truly free society, any business that disrespects its customers will fail, and deserves to do so. The same should be true of any government that disrespects its citizens. The central belief and fatal conceit of the current administration is that you are incapable of running your own life, but those in power are capable of running it for you. This is the essence of big government and collectivism.

More than 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson warned that this could happen. “The natural progress of things,” Jefferson wrote, “is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” He knew that no government could possibly run citizens’ lives for the better. The more government tries to control, the greater the disaster, as shown by the current health-care debacle. Collectivists (those who stand for government control of the means of production and how people live their lives) promise heaven but deliver hell. For them, the promised end justifies the means.

Instead of encouraging free and open debate, collectivists strive to discredit and intimidate opponents. They engage in character assassination. (I should know, as the almost daily target of their attacks.) This is the approach that Arthur Schopenhauer described in the 19th century, that Saul Alinsky famously advocated in the 20th, and that so many despots have infamously practiced. Such tactics are the antithesis of what is required for a free society—and a telltale sign that the collectivists do not have good answers.

Rather than try to understand my vision for a free society or accurately report the facts about Koch Industries, our critics would have you believe we’re “un-American” and trying to “rig the system,” that we’re against “environmental protection” or eager to “end workplace safety standards.” These falsehoods remind me of the late Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s observation, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.” Here are some facts about my philosophy and our company:

Koch companies employ 60,000 Americans, who make many thousands of products that Americans want and need. According to government figures, our employees and the 143,000 additional American jobs they support generate nearly $11.7 billion in compensation and benefits. About one-third of our U.S.-based employees are union members.

Koch employees have earned well over 700 awards for environmental, health and safety excellence since 2009, many of them from the Environmental Protection Agency and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. EPA officials have commended us for our “commitment to a cleaner environment” and called us “a model for other companies.”

Our refineries have consistently ranked among the best in the nation for low per-barrel emissions. In 2012, our Total Case Incident Rate (an important safety measure) was 67% better than a Bureau of Labor Statistics average for peer industries. Even so, we have never rested on our laurels. We believe there is always room for innovation and improvement.

Far from trying to rig the system, I have spent decades opposing cronyism and all political favors, including mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs—even when we benefit from them. I believe that cronyism is nothing more than welfare for the rich and powerful, and should be abolished.

Koch Industries was the only major producer in the ethanol industry to argue for the demise of the ethanol tax credit in 2011. That government handout (which cost taxpayers billions) needlessly drove up food and fuel prices as well as other costs for consumers—many of whom were poor or otherwise disadvantaged. Now the mandate needs to go, so that consumers and the marketplace are the ones who decide the future of ethanol.

Instead of fostering a system that enables people to help themselves, America is now saddled with a system that destroys value, raises costs, hinders innovation and relegates millions of citizens to a life of poverty, dependency and hopelessness. This is what happens when elected officials believe that people’s lives are better run by politicians and regulators than by the people themselves. Those in power fail to see that more government means less liberty, and liberty is the essence of what it means to be American. Love of liberty is the American ideal.

If more businesses (and elected officials) were to embrace a vision of creating real value for people in a principled way, our nation would be far better off—not just today, but for generations to come. I’m dedicated to fighting for that vision. I’m convinced most Americans believe it’s worth fighting for, too.

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Obamacare enrollment to hit 7 million

success

No, this is not an April fools day joke.

As reported by the AP:

Beating expectations, President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul was on track to sign up more than 7 million Americans for health insurance on deadline day Monday, government officials told The Associated Press.

Seriously, did anyone doubt that the Administration would hit their target.

Okay, let me rephrase that.

Did anyone doubt that the Administration would claim to have hit their target?

Let’s continue shall we:

Two government officials confirmed the milestone, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter ahead of an official announcement.

Two anonymous officials, but of course.

Not that I doubt for a minute the Administration will indeed make this official.

How was this amazing accomplishment achieved?

At times, more than 125,000 people were simultaneously using HealthCare.gov, straining it beyond its capacity. For long stretches Monday, applicants were shuttled to a virtual waiting room where they could leave an email address and be contacted later.

Officials said the site had not crashed but was experiencing very heavy volume. The website, which was receiving 1.5 million visitors a day last week, had recorded about 2 million through 3 p.m. EDT. Call centers have more than 840,000 calls.

My goodness isn’t that just remarkable! Please tell me more:

Lucy Martinez, an unemployed single mother of two boys, said she’d previously tried to enroll at a clinic in another part of the city but there was always a problem. She’d wait and wait and they wouldn’t call her name, or they would ask her for paperwork that she was told earlier she didn’t need, she said. Her diabetic mother would start sweating so they’d have to leave.

She’s heard “that this would be better here,” said Martinez, adding that her mother successfully signed up Sunday at a different location.

Surly it doesn’t end there:

At St. Francis Hospital in Wilmington, Del., enrollment counselor Hubert Worthen plunged into a long day. “I got my energy drink,” he said. “This is epic, man.”

At a Houston community center, there were immigrants from Ethiopia, Nepal, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and other conflict-torn areas, many of them trying anew after failing to complete applications previously. In addition to needing help with the actual enrollment, they needed to wait for interpreters. Many had taken a day off from work, hoping to meet the deadline.

It’s epic man! Obamacare is a hit!

Oh wait:

However, it’s unclear what those numbers may mean.

The administration hasn’t said how many of the 6 million people nationally who had signed up before the weekend ultimately closed the deal by paying their first month’s premiums. Also unknown is how many were previously uninsured — the real test of Obama’s health care overhaul. In addition, the law expands coverage for low-income people through Medicaid, but only about half the states have agreed to implement that option.

At least now we won’t have to hear about anymore deadlines, right?

Though March 31 was the last day officially to sign up, millions of people are potentially eligible for extensions granted by the administration.

Those include people who had begun enrolling by the deadline but didn’t finish, perhaps because of errors, missing information or website glitches. The government says it will accept paper applications until April 7 and take as much time as necessary to handle unfinished cases on HealthCare.gov. Rules may vary in states running their own insurance marketplaces.

THUNK THUNK  THUNK……..Yea, I’m hitting my head again

Of course, none of this addresses the issue that the administration blew up a healthcare system in which 80 percent approved of and nearly 2/3 liked the coverage they had.

Really, did we expect anything less than the media proclaiming total and absolute success for the Administration.

Makes me wonder what will be said on November 5.

Finally, I leave you with Charles Krauthammer’s assessment of whether Obamacare was worth the price.

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Absolutely priceless: Kathleen Sebelius speechless

Watch Kathleen Sebelius react when told by a newscaster in Oklahoma how unpopular Obamacare is in that state.

BLESSED SILENCE

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President Obama figures out the proper response to Putin

This gave me my laugh for the day, from Henry Payne:

hit-putin-with-obamacare

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Daniel Henninger: Why can’t the left govern?

As disapproval of President Obama reaches a new high in the recent AP-GFK Poll and voters say the United States is weaker under President Obama, Daniel Henninger, in today’s Wall Street Journal, examines why the left can win elections but cannot run a government:

 

Surveying the fall in support for the governments of Barack Obama, New York City’s progressive Mayor Bill de Blasio and France’s Socialist President François Hollande, a diagnosis of the current crisis begins to emerge: The political left can win elections but it’s unable to govern.

Once in office, the left stumbles from fiasco to fiasco. ObamaCare, enacted without a single vote from the opposition party, is an impossible labyrinth of endless complexity. Bill de Blasio’s war on charter schools degenerated into an unseemly attack on poor New York minority children. François Hollande’s first act in 2012, like a character in a medieval fable, was to order that more tax revenue be squeezed from the French turnips.

Mr. Obama’s approval rating is about 43%, Mr. de Blasio’s has sunk to 45% after just two months in office, and Mr. Hollande hit the lowest approvals ever recorded in the modern French presidency. The left inevitably says their leaders failed them. The failure looks self-inflicted.

Three European academics asked themselves recently how 19 United Nations summit meetings have been unable to produce a treaty on global warming. Why the cause of climate change has fallen apart is described in “Melting Summits,” a paper and cautionary tale just published in the Academy of Management Journal by Elke Schüssler of Germany, Charles Clemens Rüling of France and Bettina Wittneben of the U.K.

No idea in our time has had deeper political support. Al Gore and John Kerry have described disbelievers in global warming as basically idiots—”shoddy scientists” in Mr. Kerry’s words. But somehow, an idea with which “no serious scientist disagrees” has gone nowhere as policy. The collapse of the U.N.’s 2009 Copenhagen climate summit was a meltdown for the ages.

In an interview with the Academy of Management about her paper, Bettina Wittneben of Oxford University, who supports a climate-change treaty and has attended 13 climate meetings, summarized the wheel-spinning: “Sometimes I just find myself shaking my head after talking to participants in recent COPs [the U.N.'s climate meetings]. They’ll come back from the meetings simply brimming with enthusiasm about the networking they’ve done, the contacts they’ve made, the new ideas about their research they had or the new angles to lobbying they thought of. But ask what progress was made in terms of global policy initiatives, and all you get is a shrug.”

Put differently, it’s not about doing something serious about global warming. It’s really all about them (a virus threatening American conservatism as well). The “them” at the U.N. summits included not just the participating nations but a galaxy of well-financed nongovernmental organizations, or NGOs.

They travel under their own acronyms. The environmentalists are ENGOs, the trade unions are TUNGOS, indigenous peoples are IPOs, business and industry are BINGOs and women, gender and youth groups are YOUNGOs.

These are the left’s famous change agents. The authors dryly describe what they actually do as “field maintenance.” Instead of being “catalysts for change,” they write that “more and more actors find COP participation useful for their purposes, but their activity is increasingly disconnected from the issue of mitigating climate change.”

And little wonder. The failed efforts to get the global-warming treaty done reflect the issue’s departure from anything practical. It’s impossible to read this history of global warming’s demise without hearing resonances of ObamaCare’s problems.

The text of the climate-change treaty at Copenhagen in 2009 included “thousands of ‘brackets,’ or alternative wordings.” A participant described the puzzle palace: “There are more and more parallel processes, and everything must be negotiated at the same time. The number of . . . negotiation issues has increased and many of these issues . . . are discussed in different places at the same time. . . . Very few people understand the whole thing.” Maybe they could just pass it to find out what’s in it.

One organization specialist calls this phenomenon “social deadlock.” ObamaCare is social deadlock. But the American left keeps doing it. This isn’t the 1930s, and smart people on the left might come to grips with the fact that the one-grand-scheme-fits-all compulsion is out of sync with the individualization that technology lets people design into their lives today.

Rather than resolve the complexities of public policy in the world we inhabit, the left’s default is to simply acquire power, then cram down what they want to do with one-party votes or by fiat, figuring they can muddle through the wreckage later. Thus the ObamaCare mandates. Thus candidate de Blasio’s determination, cheered on by the city’s left-wing establishment, to jam all its kids through an antique public-school system. The ObamaCare mandates are a mess, and the war on charter schools is an embarrassment.

Making the unworkable work by executive decree or court-ordered obedience is one way to rule, and maybe they like it that way. But it isn’t governing.

 

 

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