When Personal Interests Overrule Good Legislation

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that two House of Representatives Democrats have proposed lifting tariffs on imported Chinese goods. The two Democrats are Florida Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy and Democrat Joe Cunningham of South Carolina. Oddly enough, Representative Murphy’s husband manufactures sportswear in Chinese factories. She also owns a patent on one of the products manufactured by her husband. What an amazing coincidence.

The article reports:

Murphy and Cunningham’s plan does not provide any insight or plans on how they would make sure said imports, which include everything from food to construction supplies, would be properly tested to make sure they are not carrying the Wuhan Virus. Furthermore, the individuals involved in loading, shipping, and unloading said imports have no requirements to be tested by American officials to determine if they are also carrying the Wuhan Virus. To say that this is reckless would be an understatement.

…Jamison Johnson, who is a graduate of the The Citadel in South Carolina, also served three tours of duty as a marine in the Middle East. He is running for the GOP nomination in South Carolina’s 1st District to take on incumbent Congressman Joe Cunningham, the co-sponsor of Murphy’s pro-China legislation.

“The Wuhan Virus came from China. If they would’ve been open and honest with us from the beginning, far less people would’ve gotten sick and far less people would have died. As a marine with three combat tours, I understand all too well how to deal with bullies like China. You have to show resolve and not back down,  just like how President Trump is remaining firm and steadfast in handling them. At the end of the day, it is quite clear that “Smoking Joe Cunningham” simply lacks the moral compass or courage to unite and lead us in any capacity,” Johnson told TGP in an exclusive statement Wednesday afternoon.

It is unclear how much support this effort has, but Murphy and Cunningham are pushing to have this placed in the Coronavirus aid package being considered and developed by President Trump. This is a breaking news story and we will update you as more happens.

I suspect that the obvious conflict of interest Congresswomen Murphy has between the interests of her husband’s business and the well being of America is only one example of something that is rampant in Washington. It is time to look at the business interests of both our Congressmen and their spouses. Some of their business interests may be in conflict with the interests of America. When that is the case, they need to be removed from office.

A Subtle Way To Infringe On A Constitutional Right

“America’s 1st Freedom” is a magazine distributed by the National Rifle Association. I am not including a link to the article I am posting about because I can’t find the article electronically although it is in the April 2020 issue of the magazine.

The title of the article is “The New Gun-Control Activism.” It deals with the strategy those who oppose the right of Americans to own guns are using to limit the availability of guns to Americans.

The article notes:

Last year, for example, Connecticut State Treasurer Shawn Wooden, who commands $37 billion in public pension funds, announced plans to pull $30 million worth of shares from civilian firearm manufacturer securities. Wooden also intends to prohibit similar investments in the future and to establish incentives for banks and financial institutions to adopt anti-gun protocols. The proposition was immediately praised by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and other Connecticut politicians who view the divestment from five companies–Clarus Corp., Daicel Corp., Vista Outdoor Inc., Olin Corp., and ammunition maker Northrop Grumman–as a step toward reducing gun violence.

…Wooden also requested that financial bodies disclose their gun-related portfolios when endeavoring to wok with the treasurer’s office. Wooden subsequently selected tow firms, Citibank and Rick Financial Product (both had expressed the desire to be part of the “solution on gun violence”), to take on the roll of senior bankers in Connecticut’s then-forthcoming $890 million general obligation bond sale.

Technically I guess this is legal. It is a very subtle infringement on the Second Amendment and would be very difficult to prove in court. It is also not a new approach. During the Obama administration, the administration put in place guidelines that prevented gun dealers from getting business loans from banks.

On May 19, 2014, The New American reported:

Following the Obama administration’s “Operation Broken Trust,” an operation that began just months into his first term, the Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force was created initially to “root out and expose” investment scams. After bringing 343 criminal and 189 civil cases, the task force began looking for other targets.

The task force is a gigantic interagency behemoth, involving not only the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI, but also the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the U.S. Postal Service, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), and the U.S. Secret Service.

The next target for the task force was credit card payment processors, such as PayPal, along with porn shops and drug paraphernalia stores. In 2011, it expanded its list of “high risk” businesses to include gun shops. Peter Weinstock, an attorney with Hunton & Williams, explained:

This administration has very clearly told the banking industry which customers they feel represent “reputational risk” to do business with….

Any companies that engage in any margin of risk as defined by this administration are being dropped.

In 2012, Bank of America terminated its 12-year relationship with McMillan Group International, a gun manufacturer in Phoenix, and American Spirit Arms in Scottsdale. Said Joe Sirochman, owner of American Spirit Arms:

At first, it was the bigger guys — gun parts manufacturers or high-profile retailers. Now the smaller mom-and-pop shops are being choked out….

They need their cash [and credit lines] to buy inventory. Freezing their assets will put them out of business.

That’s the whole point, according to Kelly McMillan:

This is an attempt by the federal government to keep people from buying guns and a way for them to combat the Second Amendment rights we have. It’s a covert way for them to control our right to manufacture guns and individuals to buy guns.

With the Obama administration unable to foist its gun control agenda onto American citizens frontally, this is a backdoor approach that threatens the very oxygen these businesses need to breathe. Richard Riese, a senior VP at the American Bankers Association, expanded on the attack through the banks’ back doors:

We’re being threatened with a regulatory regime that attempts to foist on us the obligation to monitor all types of transactions.

All of this is predicated on the notion that the banks are a choke point for all businesses.

How you vote matters.

Common Sense Has Entered The Building

On Wednesday The Daily Caller posted an article with the following headline, “‘Buy American’ — White House Confirms Executive Order That Will End Medical Supply Chain Reliance On China.” China is the last country in the world we want to be dependent on for drugs.

The article reports:

White House Director of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro confirmed Wednesday the administration is working on an executive order to eliminate the government’s reliance on foreign-made medical supplies.

The “Buy American” order comes on the heels of concerns expressed by senators during their Tuesday meeting with President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill.

…The order would prevent federal agencies from purchasing medical supplies, including face masks, gloves and ventilators, from China.

As the United States has battled the domestic spread of coronavirus, consumers were alerted to the fact that China manufactures an overwhelming percentage of the federal government’s medical equipment. 90 percent of all U.S. antibiotics were manufactured in China.

China has prevented the export of surgical face masks, severely limiting supplies in the U.S. and countries around the world.

Under the Trump administration, we have gained energy independence. Now it is time to gain pharmaceutical independence.

The Silver Lining?

I’m not ready to say that there is a silver lining to the coronavirus, but I will admit that there are lessons we can learn from it. The American Thinker posted an article today listing some of the lessons that can be learned from our experience with the coronavirus.

The article notes:

Businesses now see that their precious supply chains and just-in-time inventory models are laden with risk.  Also, the American public and even our brain-dead political class are now aware of the folly of being dependent on China for so much of our essential goods, especially prescription medicines and health care products.  Both these factors will accelerate the relocation of U.S. businesses out of communist China….

In January, President Trump restricted people coming in from China.  He was called this and that for that action, but now it can be seen that the president was both prudent and foresighted.  That is what leadership looks like.  Europe currently has a greater problem with the Wuhan Virus because it did not act in a similar fashion.  The Democrats and media will never give Trump credit for this, but the average person sees it, thus discrediting both the media and Democrats even more.  Plus it drives home the point once again that borders are vital to a nation’s security and well-being.

And speaking of the Europeans, they are in high dudgeon because on Thursday night, President Trump announced that the United States will suspend travel from 26 European countries into the U.S. for the next 30 days starting Friday, March 13.  Europe is complaining that it wasn’t consulted on the travel ban ahead of time.  But to consult with the Europeans would be to give them an opportunity to delay the ban when time is of the essence — or, even worse, to undermine it.  

I guess some lessons have to be learned the hard way.

Wrecking A Good Economy

Yesterday The Daily Signal reported on a bill making its way through the House of Representatives that will negatively impact the job market.

The article reports:

Despite its congenial acronym, a bill the House of Representatives is about to pass would upend the U.S. labor market as we know it.

The Protecting the Right to Organize Act—dubbed the PRO Act—comes at a time when the labor market is stronger than it has been in decades.

Unemployment is at a 50-year low. Wage growth is incredibly strong, with the lowest-wage earners experiencing twice the average gains. The number of discouraged workers plummeted more than 25% over the past year as favorable work opportunities opened up for them.

The PRO Act threatens all of those gains at the expense of benefiting union bosses who send hundreds of millions of dollars to liberal causes and politicians each year.

The Democrats in the House of Representative are making a move to protect the flow of union money into their campaign coffers.

The article continues:

Here are just a few of the PRO Act’s harmful provisions:

1. It violates workers’ privacy. The PRO Act would force employers to provide employees’ private information—without their consent and without even the chance to opt out—including their home address, personal email address, and mobile and home phone numbers to unions.

2. It strips workers of the right to a secret ballot election. A fundamental component of our democracy is the right to vote in secret and free from fear and intimidation. That’s why many Democrats in Congress insisted on secret ballot union elections as a condition in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.

3. It subjects neutral third parties to strikes and boycotts. In an attempt to force other companies to do their bidding, the PRO Act would allow unions to strike, boycott, and otherwise harass neutral third parties that are not involved in labor disputes, but that simply do business with a company involved in a dispute.

4. It overturns the franchising business model. There are about 750,000 franchise establishments in the United States, representing far more than just fast-food restaurants. All told, franchises are spread across 300 different types of businesses in the U.S.—including car dealerships, gas stations, hotels, and gyms—and employ nearly 8 million workers. The PRO Act would upend that business model by requiring franchisors to become legally liable for workers they do not hire, fire, pay, supervise, schedule, or promote—in short, workers over whom they exercise no direct control.

5. It upends the gig economy, contracting, and independent work. Lots of people like working for themselves. In fact, the Freelancers Union estimates that 1 out of every 3 workers in the U.S. participates in independent work. About 10% of workers perform independent work (contracting, freelancing, consulting) as their primary job, and that’s their choice. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, fewer than 1 in 10 independent contractors would prefer a traditional work arrangement. By changing the definition of an employee, the PRO Act would require that almost everyone answer to a boss instead of having the option to work independently—including when, where, and for whom they want.

6. It invalidates 27 states’ right-to-work laws and overturns a Supreme Court decision. Currently, 27 states have laws that allow workers the right to choose whether or not to join a union, and the Supreme Court ruled in Janus v. AFSCME that public employees cannot be forced to pay fees to unions as a condition of their employment. The PRO Act would upend these laws of the land, usurping power from one branch of the federal government to another, as well as restricting state lawmakers from their rights to enact worker freedoms and establish an economic and business climate that they believe is most conducive to growth and opportunity. For workers in unionized workplaces, this could mean the loss of hundreds of dollars in wages each year to pay for a service workers do not want and may actively oppose.

This is the result of the election of a Democrat majority in the House of Representatives.

 

 

President Trump And His Trade Policies

Yesterday Fox News reported that the US trade deficit has dropped for first time in 6 years because of the taxes President Trump has placed on China.

The article reports:

The U.S. trade deficit fell for the first time in six years in 2019 as President Donald Trump hammered China with import taxes.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that the gap between what the United States sells and what it buys abroad fell 1.7 percent last year to $616.8 billion. U.S. exports fell 0.1 percent to $2.5 trillion. But imports fell more, slipping 0.4 percent to $3.1 trillion. Imports of crude oil plunged 19.3% to $126.6 billion.

The deficit in the trade of goods with China narrowed last year by 17.6 percent to $345.6 billion. Trump has imposed tariffs on $360 billion worth of Chinese imports in a battle over Beijing’s aggressive drive to challenge American technological dominance. The world’s two biggest economies reached an interim trade deal last month, and Trump dropped plans to extend the tariffs to another $160 billion in Chinese goods.

The article notes:

Overall, the United States posted a $866 billion deficit in the trade of goods such as cars and appliances, down from $887.3 billion in 2018. But it ran a $249.2 billion surplus in the trade of services such as tourism and banking, down from $260 billion in 2018.

America is a nation of consumers, so I suspect trade deficits are something that will always be with us, but as the manufacturing base in America expands and our trade policies become more balanced, I believe we will see lower trade deficits.

The Trump Economy

Newsmax posted an article today about the state of the American economy.

The article reports:

Companies in the U.S. ramped up hiring at the start of the year, taking on the most workers since May 2015 and indicating the labor market remains robust, a report on private payrolls showed Wednesday.

Employment at businesses increased by 291,000 in January after a revised 199,000 gain in the previous month, according to data from the ADP Research Institute.

The article includes the following statistics:

  • The larger-than-expected gain was broad-based and included the biggest advance in service industry payrolls since February 2016, including a record surge in hiring at leisure and hospitality companies in data back to 2002.
  • The report is in line with last week’s statement from Federal Reserve policy makers following their meeting on interest rates. The Fed said that “job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months.”
  • Economists monitor the ADP data for clues about the government’s job report. The Labor Department’s employment data due Friday is expected to show a 150,000 gain in private payrolls and an unemployment rate remaining at a 50-year-low of 3.5%.
  • The government figures will also include annual revisions. In August, the Labor Department’s preliminary benchmark projections showed the number of workers added to payrolls will probably be revised down by 501,000 in the year through March 2019. ADP’s report follows a different methodology than the government’s, and the two do not directly correlate with each other.
  • ADP report showed goods-producing payrolls rose 54,000 in January, while service-provider employment increased 237,000.
  • Hiring in construction jumped 47,000, the most in a year, and manufacturing showed a 10,000 increase in January, which was the biggest gain in 11 months.
  • Payrolls at small businesses increased by 94,000 last month, the most since July 2018; rose 128,000 at medium-sized companies and 69,000 at large firms.
  • ADP’s payroll data represent about 411,000 firms employing nearly 24 million workers in the U.S.

President Trump was mocked during the election campaign for saying he could bring back manufacturing jobs and turn the economy around. His trade agreements have done what other politicians considered impossible. I should note that people who think something is impossible don’t attempt to accomplish it. Maybe we need to elect people who are willing to attempt the impossible rather than those who simply make empty promises.

The State Of The Economy

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the revision of the third quarter economic growth numbers.

The article reports:

More signs the U.S. economy is very strong show up today as several key economic indicators defy prior economist predictions.   Staring with a significant upward revision by the Bureau of Economic Analysis for the third quarter GDP growth from 1.9% to 2.1%:

The revision to GDP reflected upward revisions to inventory investment, business investment, and consumer spending.

The increase in consumer spending reflected increases in both goods (notably recreational goods and vehicles as well as food and beverages) and in services (led by housing and utilities as well as food services). (link)

Additionally, the commerce department released data showing U.S. core capital goods orders increased 1.2% in November, the largest gain since January; and more data on home sales shows a whopping 31.6% increase year-over-year. 

U.S. consumers and home buyers are benefiting from low inflation and significant blue collar wage gains that are an outcome of a growing economy and a very strong jobs market.  The most significant wage growth is in non-supervisory positions.   The economic strength is broad-based and the U.S. middle-class is confident.

We live in a commerce based society. When Americans feel confident about their financial futures and buy things, the economy grows. When Americans stop buying things, the economy shrinks. The economy is cyclical and interdependent. When people are insecure about their financial futures, they take fewer vacations, they go out to dinner less frequently, they go to the movies less frequently, etc. Then the jobs in those economic sectors begin to go away–fewer employees are needed. We saw that in the recession of 1990, which was essentially caused by a tax on luxury goods that Congress told us would affect only the people buying those luxury goods. Well, when people stopped buying luxury goods because they didn’t want to pay the taxes on them, the people making those goods lost their jobs. When those people lost their jobs, they traveled less, ate out less, shopped less, etc. Then the people in those industries were laid off because they were not needed. The pattern here is obvious.

When people feel secure about their future, the economy grows. Recent rumors of recession were not taken seriously because Americans were getting raises and could see that more of their neighbors were working. The economy right now is on a good path. It will take some serious effort to mess it up.

An Interesting Post From Another Writer

Why Solopreneurs Can Thrive in the Digital Age

There are few goals bigger and more rewarding than running a successful company on your own. Not too long ago, this was a desperately prohibitive idea, and a path few had the means to follow. Today, solopreneurs can see their ideas grow thanks to increased access to technology.

Solopreneurs vs. Entrepreneurs

To understand why solopreneurs have such an advantage in the digital age, we must first take a look at how they’re different from entrepreneurs. Simply put, a solopreneur is a business owner who starts a company without planning to add any regular staff members. An entrepreneur may start a company on their own, but over time, they intend to build an employee base around themselves to support the work required to make the business thrive.

A solopreneur prefers to have complete creative and managerial control over their business. They may hire contract workers or outsource tasks to consulting companies, but their ultimate goal is to directly handle both the big picture and day-to-day tasks in the long term.

In the past, solopreneurs would have had little means to do the work of running a business on their own. As a result, they would either be forced to transition to a more traditional form of business ownership, or they’d face major burnout. Fortunately, the advent of technology allows intrepid individuals to strike out and manage their companies their way. So, here are a few ways tech can help you and your business thrive.

The Best Tools

As recently as two decades ago, the average person didn’t walk around with a fully functioning computer in their pocket. Today, 81 percent of Americans own a smartphone. Odds are good most solopreneurs start off with a calendar, calculator, web browser and a phone all in one device. Depending on your phone’s capabilities, that list of available tools gets much longer.

However, this tool can wind up letting you down if you don’t have reliable service. Make sure your provider has the coverage and data capabilities to support you, whether you need to call a client or post an update to your website. You’re probably going to wind up talking, texting, and using more data as a business owner than you did before. As such, make sure you choose a cell plan — whether it’s a multi-line business option or a regular unlimited plan with a few more bells and whistles — that matches your budget and your needs.

Access to Great People

Once, business owners were limited to traditional professional networking — seeking people out at conferences or events, or begging an old coworker to set up an introduction. Although those options are still available (and still useful!), digital connectivity has brought those walls down.

 

If you want to get to know a solopreneur you admire across the country, you can reach out to her on LinkedIn. Want to pick an industry leader’s brain? Email him through his website, or follow his blog. Your access to valuable connections is nearly unlimited in the modern age.

Client and Customer Contact

Thanks to the internet, business owners today have their customers right at their fingertips. From your business website to social media to review sites, there are so many different ways for you to get customer feedback and create connections.

As a solopreneur, it’s important to have an ear to the ground when it comes to your social media sites and website contact page. If someone reaches out to you, it’s vital that you respond promptly – a fast reply keeps you on their mind and improves the power of the connection.

Online customer or client connections can go both ways, as well. Make a point of regularly reaching out to potential clients with pitches tailored to their needs. The more personalized you can make it, the better. It’s not enough to show that your business is great: You need to prove your business will be great for them.

Running a company all on your own is a big task, but there’s never been a better time to take that task on. Make the most of the tools available to you, and you can see your business soar.

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

The Quality Of Life Index

Who knew that there was a Quality of Life Index? I certainly didn’t, but there is one, and Investor’s Business Daily posted an editorial about it on February 8th.

The editorial reports:

Unemployment at historic lows? Wages climbing at a fast pace? Who knew? The news media, fixated on Trump scandals, hasn’t exactly been broadcasting that good news. And media fact checkers busied themselves after the speech nitpicking Trump’s economic boasts.

But the upbeat assessment clearly resonated with the public, most of whom gave Trump’s speech top marks. Turns out they have been firsthand witnesses to the strength of the economy over the past two years.

How do we know? Look at the IBD/TIPP Quality of Life Index, which asks the public whether they think their quality of life will be better, worse or the same over the next six months.

In the 17 years IBD has been compiling this index, it’s averaged 56.2. Under President Obama, it averaged just 53.7. Even if you only include Obama’s second term, it was well below the 17-year average.

Under Trump? The Quality of Life Index has averaged 59.3. That’s a 10% increase over the average during the Obama years.

To be sure, there’s a partisan element to this. Republicans tend to rate their quality of life higher than Democrats when there’s a Republican in the White House, and vice versa. But look at independents: Their quality of life averaged 52 under Obama. It’s averaging 58.8 under Trump — a 13% bump.

What’ more, the gains are across the board. Households making from $35,000 to $50,000, for example, saw an 8% gain in this index when you compare Trump to Obama. Those making from $50,000 to $75,000, an 11% gain.

This is what winning looks like for the Middle Class.

Submitted by Amy Collett

Tips for starting a home-based business

First-Timer Tips for Getting Your Home-Based Business Off the Ground

It’s easier than ever to start your own home-based business, and this sort of project can not only be fun, interesting, and convenient, but also it can be profitable as well. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that just because the opportunities are there you don’t have to plan carefully. If this is your first home-based business, you will need to consider what type of work truly suits your lifestyle, what tools you need to get started, how to draw people to your business and how to keep yourself motivated. Here are some essential tips.

What business is right for you?

Sure, you can do anything if you put your mind to it. But why start from square one when you can give yourself a head start? Hobbies can be turned into thriving businesses. Professional skills you’ve learned through other careers can be monetized. Getting a new business off the ground is hard enough, and you will make it significantly harder if you try to do something you either aren’t good at or that you dislike.

So, first step is to do something you love. But that’s not all. The next step has to be evaluating the market potential of your business. Selling a product from home is a great idea for many, and the Internet has made it simple these days. High-tech products such as selfie drones, HIIT equipment and smartwatches are profitable business ideas. You may make the best bird-themed potholders the world has ever seen, but you can’t make a successful business out of it if there’s no market for them. Ask around. Do some research. As Inc.com notes, “What you don’t want to do, however, is base your decision on the opinions of your friends and family.”

Don’t begin without the ultimate tool for success

The best tool you could have to aid in your new business is a ton of start-up capital. Of course, the vast majority of people don’t have that. So settle for making sure you have the second-best tool for success: a strong online presence. The first step of creating this is in your website. Your website is your portal to growing your local business. It should be well-made, clear, easy-to-navigate and fast. You should focus on reliable hosting and outsource the job of building it if you aren’t experienced in web design.

Optimizing your site for local search (when people search for things “near me”) and having SEO (search engine optimization) in mind is the first step to drawing customers, notes Forbes. Beyond that, getting involved in social media will help you make a name for your business. It’s vital to have well-maintained Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and even Snapchat presences. Blogging can also help, as having good online content associated with your business can boost its ranking in search engines.

Stay productive at home

Working from home poses a unique challenge: How do you stay motivated when you’re surrounded by all that comfort? You have a business to run, but lurking everywhere are distractions such as the TV, kids or your bed.

First things first: Force yourself into normal office hours. Instead of simply working off and on whenever you feel like it make sure to stick to a schedule. Some other great tips include getting up and getting dressed (literally) for success, keeping a separate office space away from everything else and making sure you get some exercise throughout the day.

Starting a business can be scary, but you should know that you have the tools available to you to succeed. Part of the joy of running a business from home is that you don’t have to pay the overhead of a brick and mortar space and you get to be your own boss. While that sounds awesome, it won’t work unless you pick a business that truly suits you, set yourself up to accomplish your goals every single day and utilize the power of an online presence.

Photo by Pexels

 

Economic Growth For The Second Quarter

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the revised economic figures for the second quarter. It is always amazing to me that under a Republican President when the revisions come, they are higher than the original estimates and under a Democrat President when the revisions come, they are lower than the original estimates, but I guess that’s the way it is.

At any rate, this is the chart of growth from the article:

The article had some further observations about the current economy:

1) The upward revision to nonresidential fixed investment was mostly accounted for by investment in software. (2) Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, were revised down. Within goods, the downward revision was widespread, the largest contributor was petroleum.

In addition to presenting revised estimates for the second quarter, today’s release presents revised estimates of first-quarter wages and salaries, personal taxes, and contributions for government social insurance. Wages and salaries are now estimated to have increased $122.5 billion in the first quarter of 2018, an upward revision of $0.4 billion.  (source data)

The article also notes that President Trump’s economic policies have benefited Main Street as well as Wall Street.

The article concludes:

The economic models of the entire last generation+ are based on the assumptions of continuing globalist economics which advances, and has advanced, the interest of Wall Street over Main Street. They were driving a “service-driven economy” message.

Simultaneous to domestic capital investment inside the U.S., the ability of our nation to provide goods and services to meet the economic expansion, means less reliance on imported materials, goods and/or services. We are making more of our own stuff; exporting at a larger rate; and importing less – specifically due to the energy independence strategy within the larger Trump policy.

Every granular policy is like a small part in a larger machine. Each individual part of the MAGAnomic policy is working to compliment the larger objective.

We needed a businessman in the White House. Our current politicians don’t seem to understand economics.

Sometimes Reality Is Just Not Fun

The Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is known for its fight for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers. The union chooses to ignore the fact that these are entry-level workers learning the basics of holding a job–showing up on time, being conscientious, treating people with respect, etc. Recruiting these people into the SEIU provides a larger base for union dues (and bigger donations to Democratic candidates), but where has the battle gotten the workers?

Ed Rensi posted an article at Forbes on Tuesday talking about the consequences of the push for a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers.

The article points out a few of the unintended consequences:

Let’s start with automation. In 2013, when the Fight for $15 was still in its growth stage, I and others warned that union demands for a much higher minimum wage would force businesses with small profit margins to replace full-service employees with costly investments in self-service alternatives. At the time, labor groups accused business owners of crying wolf. It turns out the wolf was real.

Earlier this month, McDonald’s announced the nationwide roll-out of touchscreen self-service kiosks. In a video the company released to showcase the new customer experience, it’s striking to see employees who once would have managed a cash register now reduced to monitoring a customer’s choices at an iPad-style kiosk.

…Of course, not all businesses have the capital necessary to shift from full-service to self-service. And that brings me to my next correct prediction–that a $15 minimum wage would force many small businesses to lay off staff, seek less-costly locations, or close altogether.

…The out-of-state labor groups who funded these initiatives aren’t shedding tears over the consequences. Like their Soviet-era predecessors who foolishly thought they could centrally manage prices and business operations to fit an idealistic worldview, economic reality keeps ruining the model of all gain and no pain. This brings me to my last correct prediction, which is that the Fight for $15 was always more a creation of the left-wing Service Employees International Union (SEIU) rather than a legitimate grassroots effort. Reuters reported last year that, based on federal filings, the SEIU had spent anywhere from $24 million to $50 million on the its Fight for $15 campaign, and the number has surely increased since then.

This money has bought the union a lot of protesters and media coverage. You can expect more of it on November 29. But the real faces of the Fight for $15 are the young people and small business owners who have had their futures compromised. Those faces are not happy ones.

I suspect that over time many of the businesses involved would have switched to kiosks anyway, but the drive for $15 an hour definitely helped speed up the process. The fact that the SEIU was able to gather (or pay) protestors and that the news covered this story in a positive light is evidence that we are not teaching people basic economics in school. Somehow we have lost sight of the fact that businesses are in business to make a profit. When businesses are no longer profitable, they go out of business. In this case even the businesses that could afford to automate cut back on their workforce because of increasing labor costs. This is another example of shortsightedness on the part of the unions and of the law of unintended consequences.

The Economic Recovery Is Still Struggling

Market Watch is reporting today that New York area manufacturing conditions fell rapidly in August.

The article reports:

The Empire State general business conditions index nose-dived to a reading of negative 14.9, from positive 3.9 in July, marking the worst level since April 2009, the New York Fed said. The index, on a scale where any positive number indicates improving conditions, was far worse than the positive 4.5 forecast in a MarketWatch-compiled economist poll.

The article includes the following chart:

NewYorkStateManufacturingConditions

The only good news in this is that the decline may cause the Federal Reserve to delay interest increases for a while.

First Amendment Rights For All Americans?

First Amendment RightsPlease keep this picture in mind when reading the following article.

This is what the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

(The italics and underline are mine.)

Today CBN News posted an interview of DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz.

Ms. Wasserman-Schultz stated:

“If you’re a religiously affiliated organization then you have wider latitude in terms of the Constitution and the protections that the First Amendment provides,” Wasserman-Schultz said.

“I think Americans make a distinction between protecting the First Amendment rights of a religious organizations or religiously affiliated organizations and being able to discriminate, broadly, simply because of one individual who owns a business and their own values and their being able to impose those values on either their employers or their customers.”

So let me get this straight–according to Ms. Wasserman-Schultz, the First Amendment only applies to religious organizations–it does not apply to individuals. So churches are allowed to act according to their religious beliefs, but people don’t have that right. Wow.

Individuals who hold traditional religious beliefs are losing their rights. Recently a gag order was put on an Oregon couple who refused to bake a cake for a gay wedding (article here). A left-leaning website claimed there was no gag order. Here is the gag order:

Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian added a gag order to the fine, ordering the Kleins “to cease and desist from publishing, circulating, issuing or displaying, or causing to be published, circulated, issued or displayed, any communication, notice, advertisement or sign of any kind to the effect that any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities, services or privileges of a place of public accommodation will be refused, withheld from or denied to, or that any discrimination will be made against, any person on account of sexual orientation.”

The head of the Democrat National Committee does not think individual business owners have First Amendment rights. Please keep this in mind as you consider your vote in the next election.

Hoisted On Their Own Petard?

Yesterday the Los Angeles Times reported that Los Angeles labor leaders, who recently supported a minimum wage increase approved last week by the Los Angeles City Council, are now asking for changes in the law that would exempt companies whose workforces are unionized.

The article reports:

For much of the past eight months, labor activists have argued against special considerations for business owners, such as restaurateurs, who said they would have trouble complying with the mandated pay increase.

But Rusty Hicks, who heads the county Federation of Labor and helps lead the Raise the Wage coalition, said Tuesday night that companies with workers represented by unions should have leeway to negotiate a wage below that mandated by the law.

“With a collective bargaining agreement, a business owner and the employees negotiate an agreement that works for them both. The agreement allows each party to prioritize what is important to them,” Hicks said in a statement. “This provision gives the parties the option, the freedom, to negotiate that agreement. And that is a good thing.”

Laws for thee, but not for me. If a unionized company can be exempt in order to stay in business, why can’t a non-unionized restaurant be exempt?

The Council voted to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The increase in the minimum wage will be a problem for both restaurants and fast food places. The increase will also pose a problem for other small businesses.

The Economic Recovery In Real Numbers

Politichicks posted an article today with some of the economic numbers President Obama seems to have omitted from his State of the Union speech.

The article reminds us:

While it might be true that businesses have created 11 million jobs (not Obama), what President Obama fails to mention is that he has been in office 6 years and during his first year in office the economy lost over 4 million jobs. Even with the new jobs created, at best, the economy has created a net amount of 7 million jobs private sector jobs. However, due to the fact that there has also been a loss in government jobs, under President Obama there has been a creation of, at most, 6.4 million jobs during his time in office.

What President Obama and most media outlets also failed to mention is that in order to keep up with population growth, the economy needs to create at least 125,000 jobs per month or 9,000,000 jobs in the 72 months since President Obama took office.

The article also reports:

  • The current labor force participation rate is 62.7%, which matches the lowest rate on record. The lowest rate on record was set in September 2014.
  • Since the beginning of the Great Recession (2008), only 943,000 more people are employed, but the number of individuals over the age of 16 has grown by 14,159,000.
  • Worker’s wages have stayed stagnated. In constant dollars (dollars adjusted for inflation), worker’s wages have actually decreased.
  • The Consumer Price Index has increased by 11.2% since President Obama took office, even with the price of energy dropping by almost half.

The article concludes:

The truth of the matter is that we have endured the worst economic recovery on record and much of it is due to President Obama’s policies. Even with the millions of new jobs that have been created and the fact that people’s confidence in the economy is increasing, we still have a long way to go to reach pre-recession economic levels and if President Obama keeps pushing his big government policies, we may never get there.

Somehow none of the above was mentioned in the State of the Union speech.

 

From The Young Conservatives Website

The following cartoon is from the Young Conservatives website:

branco min wage cartoon

The article below the cartoon states:

A survey of American economists found that 90 percent of them regarded minimum wage laws as increasing the rate of unemployment among low-skilled workers. Inexperience is often the problem. Only about two percent of Americans over the age of 24 earned the minimum wage.

Advocates of minimum wage laws usually base their support of such laws on their estimate of how much a worker “needs” in order to have “a living wage” — or on some other criterion that pays little or no attention to the worker’s skill level, experience or general productivity. So it is hardly surprising that minimum wage laws set wages that price many a young worker out of a job.

Support of an increase in the minimum wage is political–it is  not based on economic realities. Unions support it because it allows them to negotiate for higher wages. Eventually this cycle leads to inflation and hurts low-income wage earners the most.

The Supreme Court Has Reached A Decision On Hobby Lobby

Fox News is reporting today that the Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Hobby Lobby in its suit against the ObamaCare requirement that it provide contraceptives for female employees.

The article reports:

The justices’ 5-4 decision is the first time that the high court has ruled that profit-seeking businesses can hold religious views under federal law. And it means the Obama administration must search for a different way of providing free contraception to women who are covered under objecting companies’ health insurance plans.

…The court stressed that its ruling applies only to corporations that are under the control of just a few people in which there is no essential difference between the business and its owners.

Alito also said the decision is limited to contraceptives under the health care law. “Our decision should not be understood to hold that an insurance-coverage mandate must necessarily fall if it conflicts with an employer’s religious beliefs,” Alito said.

The really good news here is that Hobby Lobby will remain in business. There was some question as to whether the company would have stayed in business had the family that owns the company  been forced to do things that were in conflict with their religious beliefs.

Blocking American Prosperity

There is a strong entrepreneurial spirit in America. Sometimes that spirit gets a little overzealous, as in the tech boom of the nineties, but generally speaking, that is the spirit that drives the American economy. One reason for the slow recovery from the financial crisis of 2008 is that the entrepreneurial spirit is being blocked by the government.

On May 7, The Heritage Foundation posted an article on the development of American oil resources.

The article reports:

Production of crude oil in the United States is up to 8.36 million barrels per day—the highest since January 1988. The increased supply of oil has widespread economic benefits, but a new Congressional Research Service report shows that when the numbers are broken down by ownership it becomes clear that the situation could be even better. Although oil production overall has almost doubled in less than six years, production continues to fall on federally owned land areas.

The article included the following chart:

At the present moment, the federal government is subsidizing ‘green’ energy before the technology is workable and blocking the development of America’s own fossil fuel resources. The development of America’s oil resources is a national security issue as well as an economic issue. How would American diplomacy change if we were not dependent of Venezuela and the Middle East for our energy needs?

Enhanced by Zemanta

Is This Really What We Want For America?

See Update at the bottom of the page!

Today’s Daily Caller is reporting on some further consequences of being outspoken about your Christian faith.

The article reports:

First they lost their television show. Now the Benham brothers say they are losing their business.

SunTrust Banks is cutting ties with would-be reality stars David and Jason Benham after liberal activists attacked them for their conservative views on abortion and gay marriage, The Daily Caller has learned.

In a statement provided first to TheDC on Friday, the Benham brothers confirmed that SunTrust Banks has pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business, which includes several franchisees across four states.

Please follow the link above to the article to read the details of the story.

I have a few comments on this story. First of all, companies are entitled to do or not do business with anyone they choose. If a company wants to discriminate against someone because they hold a traditional view on marriage, and the board of directors of the company agrees to this decision, the company is free to make that decision. However, as an average American, I will make sure that in turn I do not support in any way businesses that take that stand. That is also my right. Second of all, if those who support gay marriage accuse those of us who don’t of being intolerant, what in the world is this? There is room for alternate views in the universe. The idea is to be fair in allowing both views to be expressed and to acknowledge that a person who believes in the Bible has the right to practice his religion and to support traditional marriage. The fact that the Benham brothers were treated this way because of their religious beliefs is chilling.

From the Daily Caller late this afternoon:

After an uproar from conservative customers, SunTrust Banks announced Friday afternoon that the decision to end its relationship with real estate entrepreneurs David and Jason Benham had been reversed.

Earlier Friday, The Daily Caller reported that SunTrust Banks had pulled all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business.

I don’t care why SunTrust made that decision, it was the right decision to make, and I applaud them.

Enhanced by Zemanta

If You Can’t Beat It, Charge For It

The quest for individual energy independence has increased as utility rates have risen due to the environmental policies of the Obama Administration. If the Obama Administration continues its war on coal, we can expect electricity rates to go even higher. As that happen, people are looking for ways to generate their own electricity and cut their utility bills. Well, not so fast.

Think Progress, a progressive organization, posted an article yesterday reporting that Oklahoma will be charging consumers who provide their own energy through solar panels or windmills an additional fee (read “tax”).

The article reports:

On Monday, S.B. 1456 passed the state House 83-5 after no debate. The measure creates a new class of customers: those who install distributed power generation systems like solar panels or small wind turbines on their property and sell the excess energy back to the grid. While those with systems already installed won’t be affected, the new class of customers will now be charged a monthly fee — a shift that happened quickly and caught many in the state off guard.

“We knew nothing about it and all of a sudden it’s attached to some other bill,” Ctaci Gary, owner of Sun City Oklahoma, told ThinkProgress. “It just appeared out of nowhere.”

The article further reported:

The bill was staunchly opposed by renewable energy advocates, environmental groups and the conservative group TUSK, but had the support of Oklahoma’s major utilities. “Representatives of Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. and Public Service Co. of Oklahoma said the surcharge is needed to recover some of the infrastructure costs to send excess electricity safely from distributed generation back to the grid,” the Oklahoman reported.

Adding the surcharge is not smart. The advantage of people adding individual solar panels or windmills to their homes is that the panels can generate electricity during peak use times and prevent utility companies from having problems meeting the demand at those times. Obviously, the surcharge will discourage people from adding either panels or windmills. I suspect that a single small windmill does not create some of the problems that a large wind farm causes.

Allowing people who choose to add alternative power to their homes should not be a political issue. If the addition conforms to community standards, the use of alternative energy should be welcomed. If the utility companies have become so powerful that they can prevent the individual from becoming energy independent, it is time to elect people to government that will stand up against those companies. I don’t want to deny anyone a profit, but I also don’t want to see people denied the opportunity to become energy independent.

Sometimes conservation measures are not welcomed by bureaucrats. In the small town we used to live in, residents were asked to conserve water. After we had done our best to do that, the residents were told that because we were using less water, the Water Department was forced to raise the water rate to cover expenses. Simply speaking, that is not fair.

 

Enhanced by Zemanta

I’m Not Sure Where This Came From, But I Love It!

A toothpaste factory had a problem. They sometimes shipped empty boxes without the tube inside. This challenged their perceived quality with the buyers and distributors. Understanding how important the relationship with them was, the CEO of the company assembled his top people. They decided to hire an external engineering company to solve their empty boxes problem.
The project followed the usual process: budget and project sponsor allocated, RFP, and third-parties selected. Six months (and $3 million) later they had a fantastic solution – on time, on budget, and high quality. Everyone in the project was pleased.
They solved the problem by using a high-tech precision scale that would sound a bell and flash lights whenever a toothpaste box weighed less than it should. The line would stop, someone would walk over, remove the defective box, and then press another button to re-start the line. As a result of the new package monitoring process, no empty boxes were being shipped out of the factory.
With no more customer complaints, the CEO felt the $3 million was well spent. He then reviewed the line statistics report and discovered the number of empty boxes picked up by the scale in the first week was consistent with projections, however, the next three weeks were zero! The estimated rate should have been at least a dozen boxes a day.
He had the engineers check the equipment; they verified the report as accurate. Puzzled, the CEO traveled down to the factory, viewed the part of the line where the precision scale was installed, and observed just ahead of the new $3 million dollar solution sat a $20 desk fan blowing the empty boxes off the belt and into a bin. He asked the line supervisor what that was about.

“Oh, that,” the supervisor replied, “Bert, the kid from maintenance, put it there because he was tired of walking over, removing the box and re-starting the line every time the damn bell rang.”

Enhanced by Zemanta

What About The Baker’s Rights?

On Sunday, KATU.com reported that the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries ruled that the Gresham bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple when it refused the order for a wedding cake on Jan.17, 2013.

The article reports:

Portland, OR—A Gresham bakery violated the civil rights of a same-sex couple when it denied service based on sexual orientation, a Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) investigation has found.

The couple filed the complaint against Sweet Cakes by Melissa under the Oregon Equality Act of 2007, a law that protects the rights of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender Oregonians in employment, housing and public places.

Under Oregon law, Oregonians may not be denied service based on sexual orientation or gender identity. The law provides an exemption for religious organizations and schools, but does not allow private business owners to discriminate based on sexual orientation, just as they cannot legally deny service based on race, sex, age, disability or religion.

The investigation concludes that the bakery is not a religious institution under law and that the business’ policy of refusing to make same-sex wedding cakes represents unlawful discrimination based on sexual orientation.

What about the rights of the bakery owners to practice their religion? If they are Bible-believing Christians, their Bible states that homosexual marriage is wrong. To bake a cake for a lesbian couple goes against the bakery owners’ religious beliefs. I think this is a situation where the law should not be involved–the couple could have easily gone to another bakery for their cake. If we are going to support the rights of homosexuals, we also need to support the rights of Christians.

Enhanced by Zemanta

It Was A Dark And Stormy Night…

I love the Peanuts cartoon. If you read the cartoon, you know that Snoopy is perpetually writing a novel. Many of his novels begin with “It was a dark and stormy night…” That is what the latest episode of the ObamaCare saga reminds me of.

National Review is reporting today that over the weekend, without telling anyone, in the dark of night, the Obama Administration has moved the deadline to sign up for ObamaCare.

The article cites a Washington Post story as its source:

Sources told the Post that the 24-hour extension has been built into the online system and is intended as a precaution in the event that the the problem-plagued website sees a surge of traffic from individuals looking to sign up at the last minute, and buckles under the weight.

The extension, said the sources, cannot be overridden by insurance companies if they object to it. It is the latest of several last-minute, ad hoc rule changes issued by the administration, including last week’s announcement that individuals whose insurance plans were canceled may receive an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate

Please note that none of these changes are being sent through Congress and they are simply decided on by the Obama Administration. What happened to the legal process of passing and amending a law? Where is the Constitution in this? Why isn’t Congress complaining about being left out of a large part of the implementation of this law?

Have we entered a period in our history when laws are changed in the dead of night without anyone other than the Administration having any input?

Enhanced by Zemanta