Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 8, 2012


Economic Statistics for 8 Mar 12

The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:

Challenger reports that announced layoffs in February were little changed at 51,728, compared to 53,486 in January and 50,702 a year ago.

Initial claims for unemployment  for the the March 3 week rose 8,000 to 362,000 with the previous week revised 3,000 higher to 354,000. The 4-week moving average rose 1,000 to 355,000.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -36.7 in the period ended March 4, the highest since April 2008.

~
Dale Franks
Google+ Profile
Twitter Feed


Politics has become a “reality show” of diversion

Over at United Liberty, Louis DeBroux articulates something that has been driving me crazy:

It truly is almost unbelievable. Our national debt is at $16 trillion and rising, with annual deficits of more than $1.5 trillion. Our national debt is now greater than our GDP, and at a level greater than what Greece was at when its economy collapsed. Our lauded entitlement programs are bankrupt, yet our politicians seek to expand them. Unemployment is still well above 8%, the longest such period of sustained unemployment at that level since the Great Depression. We’re barely past Valentine’s Day and gas is more than $3.50 per gallon, and expected to rise above $4, and possibly as high as $5/gallon, by summer. Iran appears the be rapidly closing in on getting a functional nuclear weapon, and has been threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which about a fifth of the world’s oil supply flows. We have a president hell bent on destroying the fossil fuel industry, much like his signature achievement, ObamaCare, is crippling the health care industry.

Our own government has been selling assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels, and is now directly responsible for the deaths of dozens of Mexicans and Americans, yet they act as if it were of no more import than having incorrectly filled out some government form (actually, they’d probably find that a much more grievous sin). The dollar is weak and the economy anemic, despite the trillions spent on the stimulus, auto union and Wall Street bailouts, and slush funds for the politically connected.

Yet with all of this, what stories are dominating the headlines? That would be the religious beliefs of Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum regarding birth control, and now the furor over Rush Limbaugh’s comments about a college “coed” called to testify before Congress on the topic of birth control.

It is enough to make you tear your hair out.  There is so much that should be at the forefront of the news and we’re talking about what?  Go look at Memeorandum for the past few weeks.  It’s appalling.

And who benefits by these diversionary and divisive discussions? 

Well certainly not the nation.  In the case of the current diversion of the day, we see the usual hypocrisy from both sides as Rush Limbaugh is crucified for calling a woman a “slut” while one of Obama’s major donors is given a free pass by the same people for calling Sarah Palin a far worse name (and worse, won’t condemn the use of the word).  After all, he’s one of theirs. 

It is a cycle of wash, rise, repeat.  On just about any given week you can find someone on one side or the other saying something outrageous and the other side whipping themselves into a frenzy of outrage and condemning it while demanding the other side condemn it too.   Tit for tat politics.  Juvenile nonsense.

Why any of this is seen as major news can only be understood in a “reality show” culture.  We’ve become a nation of voyeurs who like scandal and enjoy watching the lives of “celebrities” whose only claim to fame is their screwed up life.  And that apparently now translates to our politics. 

Instead of paying attention to the important things about our political world, most are more interested in the “he said, she said” stupidity of situations like that of the Limbaugh debacle.  Apparently politics has become just another reality show where we prefer to be entertained by the unimportant but controversial instead of doing the hard but boring work of understanding our real problems and looking for solutions.

Unemployment, economics, energy, government … boring!

Limbaugh calls someone a slut.  That’s the ticket.

And, naturally, aiding and abetting all of this is the “if it bleeds it leads” media who have decided that sensationalism trumps substance. 

We’re 16 trillion dollars in debt folks and that number is going to go higher if we don’t do something.

B..b…but Limbaugh called someone a “slut”!

Oh.

Never mind.

Turn up the volume and get the popcorn.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO


Obama claims oil a “fuel of the past”

Here we go again:

As rising gas prices become a key issue on the campaign trail, the president argued that using less oil is an important part of the solution.

“We’ve got to develop every source of American energy; not just oil and gas, but wind power and solar power, nuclear power, biofuels. We need to invest in the technology that will help us use less oil in our cars and our trucks, in our buildings, in our factories. That’s the only solution to the challenge, because as we start using less, that lowers the demand, prices come down,” the president told workers at the Daimler Trucks manufacturing plant in Mount Holly, N.C.

Yet in the same speech he calls oil “the fuel of the past”.

Is it?

Of  course not.  It is a fuel he’s decided he no longer wants to pursue for political reasons based in very shaky science.  But fuel of the past?  Fossil fuel is more of a part of our lives now than it has ever been and while alternate fuels are desirable, they’re not even close to being ready for prime time despite massive investment for decades.  But oil a fuel of the past? 

Absurd.

This is typical Obama – try to have it both ways.  Talk about developing “every source of American energy” to include oil and gas and then claim that oil is a ‘fuel of the past’.  That’s a not so subtle reminder that he really doesn’t support fossil fuel production (and hasn’t – see his claims about the “oil industry subsidy”), despite the continuous attempt to take credit for increased oil production during his time in office when his administration has had no hand in it).

The president continued to defend his “all-of-the-above” strategy against Republican attacks on his energy policy. “If somebody tells you we’re not producing enough oil, they just don’t know the facts,” he said.

Really? Well, we’re not, and that’s a fact.  We could be producing much, much more if the Obama administration would get out of the way.  The little known truth about the so-called “fact” Obama throws around about oil production being at its 8 year high, is he had nothing to do with that.  And furthermore, next year, we’ll see a significant decline in production from the lands the federal government controls (it will conveniently happen after the election, of course).  Note the final paragraph below.  It points to another reason why Obama’s claim is disingenuous:

The federal government controls about a third of the nation’s oil production, through federal onshore leases (mostly in the West, where it owns half the land) and leases to drill in outer continental shelf (OCS) starting 10 miles off the coast. The rest of America’s oil production is on state-owned land (including coastal areas) and on private lands subject to state regulation.

As a direct result of the president’s severe constriction of oil production under federal leases, domestic U.S. oil production will be nearly one million barrels per day lower this year than it would have been otherwise.

Meanwhile, production from newly available shale oil and oil sands on private and state-owned land has been booming—more than enough to make up for the steep decline in production under federal leases. That boom, combined with slackened demand since the start of the recession, has reduced America’s dependence on foreign oil to about half its daily consumption of 20 million barrels per day, down from 60 percent in 2005.

In fact, the truth is much different than the Obama claim in which he attempts to take credit for today’s oil production:

Even in the few areas of the OCS that remain open, the administration is seeking to strangle production. As a result of the various deep-water drilling moratoriums, a third of the Gulf’s deep-water drilling rigs have left for other shores, dissuaded by the regulatory uncertainty. As a result of the shallow-water “permitorium” even shallow-water drilling has slowed to a crawl. According to the Department of Energy, oil production from the Gulf of Mexico will drop by 700,000 barrels per day by the end of 2012, which further decreases in ensuing years. And as for America’s working families, the combination of moratoriums and “permitorium” are estimated to have cost 60,000 thousand jobs in 2010 alone.

On federal lands the story has been the same. Just as technological breakthroughs have paved the way for tapping into the vast oil reserves of the Rocky Mountain states, the administration cut the number of new leases by 50 percent in 2010 alone.

Oil is not a “fuel of the past”.  Obama’s agenda actually demands we abandon it.  And he would in a New York minute if there wouldn’t be electoral consequences.     His administration’s track record concerning oil and gas exploitation as well as new regulatory regime the EPA is implementing and actions of Secretaries Chu and Salazar give lie to the claims made.

Oil and gas are, in fact, the critical fuels of the future.  It is and will remain the lifeblood of our economy for decades.  An administration that doesn’t realize that and works to curtail it deserves to be shown the door at the earliest possible opportunity.  If you think gas prices are high now, remember that without the increase in oil production on state and private land, it would be higher than it is now.

Unicorns and moon-ponies (or pond scum) won’t fuel the economy.  Oil will.  And an “all of the above” strategy should obviously include massive increases in oil production on federal lands.  Don’t let this guy get away with his false claims and destructive energy policy.  Help show him the door, November.

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

michael kors outlet michael kors handbags outlet michael kors factory outlet