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Sunday, November 25, 2012

I'm back

Still trying to figure out how more than half of those inclined to vote this year thought that another 4 years of the same exact policies would be a good idea, including the House, Senate and White House. Has anything positive been accomplished during the past 4 years, other than the elimination of Osama Bin Laden? Let's go down the list of problems and how they have changed.

Unemployment was 7.8% when Obama took office in January 2009. We were promised that if he was granted the stimulus package(s) he sought, that number would never exceed 8.0% and would by this time be down to 5.4%. From the date of his inauguration until October of this year we have had unemployment of over 8% (magically, it fell in the last report before the election). These numbers are only the U3 number, which doesn't include those who have given up or taken part-time when they need full time (that would be U6 data) and are lower than they would be if it was still measured as it was during the Great Depression. Using that method we would be over 20% unemployment. The only employment segment that has done better than this has been government employees, meaning the payroll that we all contribute to has grown while those contributing to that payroll have diminished in number. More layoffs are being announced every week, some due to business closings, some due to the impending "fiscal cliff" which will impact the defense industry hardest, some due to unions thinking the companies are bluffing (Hostess comes to mind, 18,000 jobs lost rather than take pay cuts).

Personal net worth has declined by almost 40% during this period while personal income has dropped by about $5,000. This means that each person is doing worse than they were 4 years ago by any legitimate financial measure. Of course there are exceptions to this, including our dear leader. Somehow, he has managed to increase his net worth from about $1.4M in 2008 to about $11M this year. He couldn't possibly be benefiting from some of his policies could he, like investing in green energy companies on the verge of failure?

Healthcare, as some predicted, is starting to suffer. Doctors are refusing new patients, both standard and medicare, and some are retiring early to avoid the additional regulations that are being imposed. Medical equipment manufacturers are starting to announce layoffs because of increased costs from taxes and regulations in Obamacare. Related to both this category and employment, many companies are starting to cut hours for employees to less than 30 to avoid the expense of healthcare and the fines for not providing it.

Taxes are on the way up for everyone, contrary to what was promised. Even if they implemented a 100% tax on the wealthiest 5% there would not be enough revenue to put even a small dent in the deficit. The left still hasn't figured out that raising taxes will reduce revenue. The reverse is also true, and this has been proven by both JFK and Reagan. I'm not sure what the magic number is that gives people the ability to keep most of their paycheck and still allows the government to perform the tasks required of it, but it isn't higher than the current rate and is likely much lower. Personally, I don't think the government should ask for more than our Heavenly Father asks of us, 10%, and should adapt to that level of revenue.

Government regulations are increasing in every sector that I can think of. This is having negative effects on such important things as energy and education. Remember when Obama said that energy costs "would necessarily skyrocket" if he was able to implement his policies? He got his wish. He is trying to make it impossible to generate electricity using coal, which will deprive this country of about 44% of the power we use, so people will be forced to support green technologies (wind, solar, tidal) none of which are ready for prime time and all of which require backup systems (and which come with their own environmental problems, another post will cover these).

Foreign relations are doing so well, don't you think? The first US ambassador in 30 years was killed while the military was repeatedly told to stand down. The "Arab spring" is bearing fruit that no one (other than Al' Queda and the Muslim Brotherhood) wanted. Egypt now has a dictator who has declared himself above the courts and laws, and who wants to implement Shari'a law instead of secular law. Our only ally in the middle east is under constant rocket attack and the media in this country (who reside firmly in Obamas back pocket) complain when they defend themselves. And we keep sending billions, which we can't afford, to countries that don't like us much in exchange for ... what exactly?

I think the underlying theme here is the law of unintended consequences, the things you don't expect to happen because of your decisions. Running a country requires a bit more foresight than has been shown by this administration, planning for outcomes other than those desired or hoped for. It also requires learning from history, because the truth, no matter how trite it sounds, is that those who refuse to learn from history are condemned to repeat it. Financially this country is headed for something like the Weimar Republic, socially and legally we will resemble the former Soviet Union.

We now have about 2 years to try to get the Senate back from the left and 4 years to find a candidate who will actually lead this country, rather than use the office as a personal entertainment/vacation agancy. Let's get on it and do it right this time (assuming the country survives that long).

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