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Free Markets, Free People

Obama? He’s just too smart for us on the right!

Or at least that’s the thesis of one Allen Clifton.

Which brings me to President Obama. While I’m not calling him a genius, I do think he’s extremely intelligent. I also believe that his tendency to use “big picture” thinking while drafting policy is something most Republican voters simply can’t understand.

Now understand it this comes from orthodoxy central, aka a site called “Forward Progressives”.  And this is apparently considered “forward thinking”.  We just are too stupid to get it.

He uses Obamacare as an example of us not getting it:

While many Republicans want to look at the “now” aspect of the Affordable Care Act, they seem unable to grasp the reality that as more Americans get health insurance, giving them access to preventable care, this lowers expenses down the road for everyone. If people can prevent very costly heart attacks, strokes or other debilitating health issues now, that’s an overall savings for practically everyone from consumers to health insurers to doctors who now have more patients. Quite literally, improving the overall health of Americans will improve the health of this country. It even makes sense for our economy. If workers are healthier, because they have access to quality health care, that means there will be fewer people calling in sick to work, showing up sick to work (putting other employees at risk) or relying on government programs because their health conditions (that were preventable) render them unable to work at all.

But to see all of that requires “big picture” thinking and Republicans seem unable to understand anything beyond the spoon-fed bumper sticker talking points they’re given by the GOP and the conservative media.

We could spend 5,000 words and countless hours expounding on how clueless this is.  Health care doesn’t get less expensive if you “subsidize” it by penalizing those who work and earn by making them pay for those who don’t.  Period.  Wealth is something earned by individuals, not governments.  When government’s take other’s wealth to pay for government priorities, it leaves less for the individual who earned it to spend on their priorities.  This isn’t a hard concept to grasp, but seems beyond Mr. Clifton and our brilliant president.  While all the pie in the sky BS about a healthier American work force sounds wonderful, for the most part it isn’t the workforce that’s benefiting from this subsidy.  So while you may want to see this as a “far reaching” plus, it isn’t.  There are certainly ways to approach the lack of insurance, but this isn’t one of them.

Mr. Clifton then doubles down on his ignorance of economies with this “Underpants Gnomes” paragraph:

Minimum wage is another issue you see this with. Republicans constantly paint it as a “job killer” (it’s not) while also rallying against the millions of people who are on government assistance. Funny thing though, a good portion of the Americans who are on government assistance have jobs. If we made sure that no American working full-time had to rely on government programs just to survive, instantly we would save our country hundreds of billions of dollars over the years. Not only that, but when Americans have more money, they have more to spend. And what’s the biggest driver of economic growth? Consumer spending. More consumer spending means higher profits and higher demand, which means – more jobs.

But once again, when it comes to Republicans and explaining job creation, anything outside of “tax cuts create jobs” is often too complex for many of them to understand.

So, where again does the money come from to pay that $15 minimum wage?  The earnings of the business.  And what will a business have to do if it has to pay that wage?  Well it has some choices – raise prices, lay off workers, go out of business, etc.

Would someone have more money to spend?  Yes, if they weren’t laid off or their business didn’t close their doors.

And how big of a jump in spending money would they have?  Well initially a bit.  But then prices would adjust, because, you see, as the price of labor goes up, so do the prices of commodities and goods.  In other words, if they still have a job and they’re earning $15 an hour, fairly quickly prices will catch up with their gain and their purchasing power will be about the same as they previously enjoyed.  Meanwhile, businesses who can keep the doors open are raising prices and laying off workers, or considering automation as a replacement for workers.

Apparently this too is beyond the grasp of Mr. Clinton and the brilliant president.  Half the story, in both cases, is where Clifton stops.  And this is considered just freaking brilliant by the boob.

And you wonder why the left lives in a fantasy world?  This isn’t rocket science nor is there a dearth of examples proving these points.  They are everywhere, throughout history.  Look them up?  Oh, hell no … let’s continue to live in our fantasy orthodoxy and call everyone else stupid.

See climate change for further proof of this nonsense.



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Economic Statistics for 12 Jun 15

Producer Prices for Final Demand rose 0.5% in May. Prices less food and energy rose 0.1%. Prices less food, energy & trade services fell -0.1%. On a year-over-year basis, PPI-FD is down -1.1%, less food & energy up 0.6%, and less food, energy, and trade services up 0.6%. Other numbers from the release:

PPI-FD Goods – M/M change: 1.3 %
PPI-FD Goods – Y/Y change: -4.3%
PPI-FD Services – M/M change: 0.0%
PPI-FD Services – Y/Y change: 0.6%

The University of Michigan’s Consumer Sentiment index rose 3.9 points to 94.6.

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Sorry, I refuse to play this game

One of the problems associated with the military is the issue of “stolen valor”, i.e. wannabes who claim service, awards and decorations they haven’t done or earned.

No one other than other wannabes defends this because it is so outrageously wrong in every way.  They haven’t done the service or haven’t earned the  awards and they aren’t who they say they are.  And they are shamed and shunned because of their lies.

That seems to be the proper way to handle those sorts of things.  If you’re not what you say you are, no amount of wanting changes that.  So why should we as a society have to humor that?  We don’t in this case.  Why do we in other cases?  If I paste a horn on my head and claim to be a unicorn, does that make me one?  And do you have to accept my desire as “valid” or “true”?

Of course not.



Meet Spokane’s NAACP Chapter President Rachel Dolezal.  Ms. Dolezal, as she appears now, claims to have been a “bi-racial” child and having African-American blood.  On the right is a picture of a younger Ms. Dolezal as she appeared years earlier when she was naturally blond haired and blue-eyed.

She’s claimed a black father and a black son for some time.


The young man is actually her brother, adopted by her real parents years ago.  The man on the right she claims is her dad.  He’s not.  Here he is with her mom.


Yes, about as “white-bread” a pair of parents as you can get.

Ms. Dolezal has claimed a horrific earlier life to add to her “black” bona-fides.  But they are as false as her racial claims:

In an interview with the Coeur d’ Alene Press, Dolezal’s mother shot down many other claims her daughter has made in interviews over the years. Specifically:

Dolezal’s claim she was born in a tepee.

‘Totally false,’ said her mother. She and Dolezal’s father once lived in a tepee but it was before Dolezal was born.

Dolezal’s claim she once had to use bows and arrows to hunt for her own food as a kid.

Not true, says her mother.

Dolezal’s claim she once lived in South Africa.

‘Rachel did not even ever visit us there,’ said Ruthanne, who lived there as a missionary.

Dolezal’s claim her parents punished her ‘by skin complexion’ with a ‘baboon whip’ reminiscent of those once used on slaves.

‘She is fabricating a very false and malicious lie,’ Ruthanne said.

Dolezal’s claim that Larry Dolezal, who is white, is actually her stepfather.

‘Anybody who lives in the town of Troy or Libby knows that Larry is her father,’ Ruthanne said.

So, what should we think of this pretender who has lied and fabricated so much about her life as well as making up horrific stories about her parents?

Well, my inclination is to treat her the same we we treat valor thieves … shame her.  And to point out that as much as she wants to be black, claiming she is doesn’t make it so (take note, Bruce Jenner, your chromosomes still say “X” and “Y”, no matter how you dress or what you hack off).

But apparently that’s not how it works in this day and age:


Make up a few “facts” (“10% of all people are born (with the wrong skin color)” – really?  And from whence does that little pearl originate?), claim victimhood, and bingo, you’re a “minority” with a “cause” which should be a) tolerated and b) treated as if your fantasy is reality.

Yeah, sorry, not playing this game.

You are what you are – that’s reality.  If you can’t deal with it, it’s not my fault or my problem.  You’re not a victim.  You’re not entitled.  You need help.

End of rant.


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Economic Statistics for 11 Jun 15

Retail Sales for May rose 1.2% overall, 1.0% less autos, and 0.7% less autos and gas. This looks like a rebound from the soft 1st Quarter.

Export prices rose 0.6% in May, while import prices rose 1.3%, after a year of declines. On a year-over-year basis, export prices are down -5.9% and import prices are down -9.6%.

Business inventories rose 0.4% in April, while a strong 0.6% increase in business sales left the stock-to-sales ratio unchanged at 1.36.

Initial weekly jobless claims rose 3,000 to 279,000. The 4-week average rose 3,750 to 278,750. Continuing claims rose 61,000 to 2.265 million.

The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index fell -0.4 points to 40.1 in the latest week.

The Fed’s balance sheet rose $2.7 billion last week, with total assets of $4.468 trillion. Reserve bank credit rose $7.1 billion.

The Fed reports that M2 money supply fell by $-15.0 billion in the latest week.

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A perfect example of a leadership deficit

About all Barack Obama has done in the leadership department is attempt to define it down (“leading from behind”).  From the beginning it has been evident that this man not only isn’t a leader, but has no idea how to lead and has learned nothing about it in his 6 years in office.  Even an idiot learns a little after 6 years, or at least that’s been my observation.

Today we’re served with a perfect example of the point that he’s at best an abysmal leader:

Dispensing with the usual formalities and professionalism that take place during political discussions, a Pentagon official responded to President Obama’s comments that he’s waiting on an ISIS strategy by saying, “What the f*** was that?”

The President confessed to not having a strategy to defeat ISIS, adding that “when a finalized plan is presented to me by the Pentagon, then I will share it with the American people.”

Because the Pentagon can’t develop a plan in almost a year.

An official responded with the above question and added, “We have given him lots of options, he just hasn’t acted on them.”

That’s right, it’s the Pentagon’s fault that it has been over a year since Obama first offered that we had no strategy to combat ISIS and that remains our status today.

Because, you know, it’s the responsibility of underlings to drive things.  Leaders?  We’ll they play golf and enjoy the perks of the job.  And when they’re finally confronted with the lack of progress on a strategy, always lay it off on their subordinates.


The dearth of leadership this administration constantly displays is dangerous.  And that’s what it is.  I can’t imagine a real leader saying something like this (a year after he had made the same statement).  Any leader worth his salt recognizes that it is his responsibility to drive any process like that and if there is a lack of results, it is because he has failed, not his subordinates.

This guy isn’t a leader and just doesn’t care.  He lets things go that are very important.  He simply avoids decisions.  Again, knowing what the job entails, one has to wonder why he ever pursued it?  Did he think it wouldn’t be necessary to make decisions or lead on his watch?

This was just another check off the checklist of his narcissistic life.  Whether or not he’d actually fulfill the requirements of the job were obviously secondary to his need to obtain it.

And now we suffer … everywhere.  Because, by law, we have to let this boob finish out his lackluster and inept execution of the job.



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Economic Statistics for 10 Jun 15

The MBA reports that mortgage applications rose 8.4% last week, with purchases up 10.0% and refis up 7.0%.

Information revenue rose 0.4% in the 1st Quarter. Year-on-year, information revenue rose 3.0%.

The Treasury reports an $-82.4 billion deficit for may, with tax receipts up 12.4% and spending up 4.0%. The deficit is running 16.3% below last fiscal year, at $365.2 billion vice $436.4 billion this time last year.

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The wages of emotional voting and lack of scrutiny? Obama

National Review has published an article by Victor Davis Hanson with three views of the Obama presidency.  One view is that of an Obama partisan and presents his presidency in a positive light.  The second is a decidedly non-partisan look that does precisely the opposite.  However, there’s a third view that I find most appealing and frankly the most honest:

A third view of Obama is neither so rosy as the first nor so melodramatic as the second. Obama may well have been an unapologetic progressive wolf in centrist clothing, but mostly he was a continuation of what he had been in the past: an unimpressive state legislator, a one-term partisan senator without any accomplishments, a lackadaisical executive who in his own words had to worry most about not appearing lazy and distracted. Obama as president simply pushed the right progressive buttons, all the more easily once his own party lost the Congress and he was freed to sign executive orders that enraged his enemies and moved the country leftward. He cares little about the scandals involving the IRS, VA, AP, NSA, GSA, TSA, EPA, Benghazi, and the Secret Service, other than ensuring that they stay far away from his own godhead.

Mostly, President Obama likes the ceremonial perks of his office — the public spotlight to pick sports winners, the regal access to the links in sporty golf attire, the huge plane and entourage, the video clips of his catlike descent down the stairs of Air Force One, and the captive audiences for his often ahistorical and confused ramblings about America’s past and present shortcomings. Rarely has a president entered office so inexperienced and unprepared, yet with such great hopes and expectations among the public. That he squandered such good will through petty spite and inexperience should not be surprising, given his meager qualifications and thin résumé. Most of Obama’s career in community organizing, academia, and the Illinois legislature was predicated on leveraging his race, name, and unique background with the pretensions of liberal America to land opportunities for which he knew in advance that he would never be held accountable.

Make sure you read the other two views, but unlike some who are sure Obama is following some sort of plan to hurt America, I don’t find this man able to purposely do much of anything.

One of the warnings many of us threw out there early on is he’d never “run anything or done anything”.  Think about it – his sole accomplishment before essentially running unopposed for and Illinois Senate seat, had been to write an autobiography.  About what?  Well, himself, of course.  He was all about self-promotion.   He is a first class narcissist as we’ve all discovered.  He loved the campaign but not the work.  He no sooner became an IL state senator, a poor one at best, than he began running for the US Senate.  In the case of both senate seats he came with an extraordinarily thin resume.  But, he was the right color with the right party at a time of two wars and an unpopular US president, and it just opened up for him.  Once ensconced in the US Senate he almost immediately began running for President on an even thinner resume (heck, with the US Senate run, he could at least claim “experience” at a state level).

I find Hanson’s point about Obama liking the “ceremonial perks” of office over the work to be dead on.  You’ve seen others remark about our “semi-retired” president.  His lack of leadership qualities is staggering.  And yet, there he is, in the Oval Office.

His domestic and foreign agendas have been a mish-mash of college dorm discussions and naive beliefs proffered by others equally as clueless (such as his former Secretary of State) combined to do enough harm that we’ll need years to overcome them.  His inability to work within the system, mostly because he doesn’t seem to know or understand how,  has left him frustrated.  His manner of dealing with his frustration is spiteful childishness and unilateral action which, frankly, he doesn’t care whether its legal or not.

What concerns me more than the fact that he’s so incompetent and as Hanson says “inexperienced and unprepared” is that a significant portion of the population was gulled into voting for him the first time and then, apparently uncritically, re-elected the man for 4 more awful years.

We’ve certainly paid the price for that bit of emotional voting and lack of scrutiny.

But let’s also not forget who aided and abetted this travesty and the lack of scrutiny.

All you have to know to understand what institution that was is to know that Marco Rubio and his wife have had 17 tickets in 20 years and own a “luxury speed boat” while Hillary Clinton’s past is essentially ignored.

And, as you might have surmised, that institution is again cranking up its machine to give us another incompetent who has more baggage and corruption surrounding her than one can shake a stick at.

Forewarned is forearmed, not that it is likely to change much.


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Economic Statistics for 9 Jun 15

Redbook reports that last week’s retail sales continued to disappoint, down to 1.2% on a year-ago basis, from the previous week’s 1.7%.

The NFIB’s small business optimism index came in well above expectations, at 98.3 for a very solid 1.4 point gain in May.

Wholesale inventories rose 0.4% in April but far below a giant 1.6% surge in sales. The stock-to-sales ratio edged down to 1.29 from 1.30.

The Labor Department’s JOLTS Report shows April job openings at 5.376 million, the highest reading in the history of the series since 2000.

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As predictable as the sun rising in the east, Obamacare is failing

Forget the Supreme Court ruling that may gut it, the program is failing all on its own as it is unable to keep or deliver on any of its promises.  Include with that the financial disaster it has become and you have the perfect vehicle for defining “a failure”:

ObamaCare’s supporters would like everyone to believe that with now functioning, everything is just fine and dandy. Contrary to what the conservative press (which I guess would include me) has been saying about the many problems of ObamaCare, Vox‘s Ezra Klein declared last September that “in the real world, it’s working.” In February, his fellow Voxland inhabitant Sarah Kliff rattled off eight ways in which the law had proved its critics wrong.

But has it? Not really.

For starters, the exchanges have enrolled about 3 million fewer people than the Congressional Budget Office projected in 2010. And far fewer of the enrollees are from the ranks of the uninsured than hoped. Medicaid enrollment is lower too, for the simple reason that states refused to expand the program.

Ezra Klein hasn’t visited the “real world” in years (Dale and I asked him once if he’d visited a VA hospital after he waxed enthusiastic about how good the VA was. Of course, he hadn’t).  And, as expected, the government’s predictions, which were used to justify Obamacare, were woefully wrong.  No surprise to some of us.


The core of President Obama’s sales pitch to America was that the program, which he called the Affordable Care Act, would “bend the health care cost curve” and save an average family $2,500 on their premiums each year. How would it accomplish this feat? Essentially, he said, by forcing uninsured “free loaders” who show up in the emergency room to obtain free care to either buy (subsidized) coverage on the insurance exchange or sign up for the expanded Medicaid program. The point was that if they had coverage, they’d get cheaper care sooner in a doctor’s office rather than more expensive care later in a hospital emergency room.

Things don’t seem to be working out that way. ObamaCare is indeed bending the cost curve — but up, not down.

In fact ER visits are up under Obamacare, not down (another supposed justification for the law).  As for rates?  They continue to go through the roof:

Every year, companies selling coverage through ObamaCare’s exchanges have to ask state regulators to approve their premiums for the following year — a practice more appropriate for the Soviet Union than an allegedly free-market economy. And this year, according to several news reports, some are requesting increases of over 50 percent.

In New Mexico, market leader Health Care Service Corp. is asking for an average jump of 51.6 percent in premiums for 2016. The biggest insurer in Tennessee, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, has requested an average 36.3 percent increase. In Maryland, market leader CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield wants to raise rates 30.4 percent across its products. Moda Health, the largest insurer on the Oregon health exchange, seeks an average boost of around 25 percent.

Some states are even higher.

The reason is called “economics”.  It is a fairly simple concept to grasp.  When you subsidize millions who don’t pay full price or any at all with the money those who do pay full price pay, the cost curve for those paying has nowhere to go but up.  Surprise, that’s precisely what is happening, despite promises to the contrary (which we here knew were full of hot air when they were first uttered).

And there are more hikes on the horizon:

What’s more, these hikes are likely just a prelude to far bigger ones in future years. Why? Because two programs — risk corridor and reinsurance — that were meant to “stabilize” rates in ObamaCare’s first few years so that insurers could obtain the right mix of enrollees are set to expire next year. (The risk corridor program slaps a fee on insurance companies that have lower-than-expected medical losses, and compensates those that have more. The reinsurance program imposes a fee on insurance policies and funnels it to insurers with high-risk individuals.) With these programs gone, the challenge of maintaining a balanced risk pool will become even harder.

The expanded Medicaid program is no picture of robust health, either. It has produced no cost-saving decline in emergency room visits, nor has it contributed to hospital profitability, as was hoped.

What a freakin’ mess.  So?

So, to recap: ObamaCare has fallen short of its enrollment target, hiked insurance premiums, failed to cut down on ER visits, and flopped in its attempt to improve hospitals’ bottom line.

But its real problem is the lawsuit? Maybe treatment for delusions is covered under ObamaCare!

Hey, like I said, some people think the VA system is the cat’s meow.  There is no hope for them.


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