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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

The Labor Department reported this morning that nonfarm payrolls fell by 131,000 in the month of July.  Even more discouraging was that June’s revised payroll number was revised downward to a negative 221,000.  This is huge.  Initial jobless claims estimates released Thursday was 479,000, and was an increase from the previous week’s 460,000.  The two statistics, nonfarm payrolls and initial jobless claims, are suggesting the same thing–employers are not hiring, and are, in fact, laying off workers, and we may very well be headed into a “double dip” recession.

That’s the report.  Here’s the analysis.  As suggested some months ago, the past predicts the future.  As Solomon wrote in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun.  There will be no new net growth in …


Administrative Delusion

Yesterday on CBS Sunday Morning, President Barack Obama was being interviewed by Harry Smith.  This seems to be this President’s primary function.  I can just see his job description now–Item 1, must interview with the media incessantly.  Never mind running the country.  We’ll leave that to Pelosi and Reid.  And, who can blame him?  It’s more attractive to meet with adherents to your policies, glowing supporters and people who will fawn over you than with the other 80%, the rabble, the people who just don’t get it.  Bring on The View!  They love me!  Everyone must love me too!

Anyway, Mr. Smith asked the President if he thought the criticism leveled at him and his administration was “undeserved”.  “Yes”, the President replied, “it is undeserved”.  …


The Case Against Financial Institutions Regulation (and other sundry items)

The news events of the last few months have certainly put the Obama Administration in a peculiar position.  The Gulf crisis notwithstanding, most of these events have been created by this president and his staff.

Team Obama went the the G20 Summit in Toronto this weekend to chide the other 19 nations to continue to stimulate their economy through Keynsian economic principles.  “Not so fast”, said the other countries.  “We have to make choices, and right now, we choose fiscal solvency and prudence”.  What a concept!

Passage of the Financial Institutions Reform package was always tenuous, at best, but the death of Senator Robert Byrd over the weekend makes passage more difficult.  One less Democratic vote means that it’s more likely that Republicans can filibuster …


Washington’s Shrewd Investment

Today the headlines read something like:  Government Stands to Reap $7.5 Billion Profit from Sale of Citi Stock.  This was reported in both the Wall Street Journal and our local rag, the Des Moines Register, and while estimates vary as to the extent of this transaction, the range of the government’s take is somewhere between $7 and $7.5 billion.

There is nothing intrinsically wrong with this.  The federal government bailed out Citigroup in the fall of 2008, and took an ownership interest in the company in exchange for TARP (or is it TRAP?) funds.  The purpose of TARP was to shore up the banking system, and in the process, the economy.  While many of the banks that took TARP money claimed to not need it, …


The Problem Continues…

The problem still hasn’t been solved.  Some time a go, I wrote a piece about President Obama’s biggest concern.  At least, it should be his biggest concern, because if this particular issue is not addressed, it will go well for Republicans in November, and again in November 2012.

It’s been three days since the “historic” “landmark” legislation socializing the health care industry.  Much has been written about it already.  My objective today is to address economic issues, and the elephant in the room that gets little attention is…drumroll, please…Jobs!

That’s right, employment is the key to the whole ball of wax.  President Obama and his minions just created a tremendous amount of uncertainty.  When there is uncertainty, employers conserve resources.  When they conserve resources, they …


The President’s Employment Problem

bored-tv-watchingPresident Obama has a huge problem:  jobs.  As in, lack of them.  As in, not creating any.  He promised them on the campaign trail, and he promised them as part of the $1.2 trillion stimulus package he signed a year ago.

After one year in office, with a huge majority in Congress, he has accomplished remarkably little, which is a relief to a Conservative.  He has spent an inordinate amout of time, resources and energy wrangling over socialized medicine and cap and trade, and the unemployment remains stubbornly high.

Tomorrow, employment data will be released for January.  Weekly initial jobless claims for unemployment insurance has been running about 470,000, and this week the number hit 480,000.  The employment sector will not grow until initial jobless …


Hello 2010!

2010-imageGoodbye 2009!  Hello 2010!

Nearly everyone I talk to expresses relief at the end of 2009.  It would be a good year to forget, that is, if we didn’t have to deal with the consequences of decisions and actions that will reverberate throughout the rest of our lives.

But it’s a new year now, so no doom and gloom.  I’ll leave that to our President, and let me point out that he’s good at it!  I’m not one to make resolutions, but there are several that I’ve made this year:

  • Read more
  • Write more
  • Laugh more
  • Love more

Yep, that about covers them.

Like many, I’ve decided to be cautiously optimistic about 2010.  For one thing, the economy is slowly but surely turning around.  This …


Stimulus Report Card

Performance ReportNine months ago, Congress passed and President Obama signed an economic stimulus package totalling $1.8 trillion.  Hastily designed and implemented, the legislation was highly criticized because it was virtually impossible for anyone to have actually read the bill (much less understand it) prior to implementation.  The President himself told us that it was imperative we pass these bills in order to restore economic stability.  Conservatives, especially fiscal conservatives, howled, claiming the bill was inappropriately designed, that the money being spent could not possibly generate economic growth because it would take too long to move through the system, with the added concern of driving up an already astronomical deficit.  The Administration insisted that the spending was necessary to keep unemployment from exceeding 10%.  We were being …


9 Trillion Dollars

Hidden among the flurry of activity of the last few weeks is the Congressional Budget Office estimate that future deficits will be a cumulative whopping $9 trillion.  The number itself is almost staggering; astounding; outrageous.

The same day this figure was announced, President Obama announced that he is renominating Ben Bernanke to a second term as Chairman of the Federal Reserve.  Two days later, Senator Edward Kennedy passed away.  This was fortuitous for the President, because no one has been able to hold him accountable for this number.

The cumulative future deficits are irresponsible.  And, it makes for an easy campaign for any Conservative worth his or her salt.  President Obama is a typical “tax and spend” liberal.  Anyone who voted for these deficits can …


Cash for Clunkers

money-flying-awayBy all accounts, the cash for clunkers program has been a huge success.  Never mind the fact that auto dealerships want nothing to do with the bureaucratic red tape and if at all possible will steer a customer toward conventional financing.  The fact of the matter is that it has been a real boost to the economy.

So who really has benefited from this program?

  • Some consumers, who traded up from old gas guzzlers to spiffy new fuel-efficient models,
  • Auto dealers, who were able to dump inventory and pay their financiers,
  • Banks, who all of a sudden, had some new auto loan volume, with up to $4,500 down-payments,
  • Auto companies, especially Ford, Toyota, Honda and Nissan, who led the pack in sales.  Conspicuously absent from

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