Friday, August 26, 2011

Rick Perry's Grade In Economics

I have seen Rick Perry's grade in "Principles of Economics" posted all over the internet recently. In case you missed it, Perry received a D in that course. However, Perry has shown that he has the ability to create jobs and effectively manage one of the largest state economies in our nation. Perhaps Rick Perry's "D" only signified that he disagreed with the Paul Krugmans that populate our universities. Rick Perry's Texas serves as proof that the free market will outperform Keynesian economics. Although Perry may have received a D in a college economics course, his performance as the chief executive in Texas proves that he deserves an A in Practical Applied Economics.

New NLRB Rule Requires Pro-Union Notice

The National Labor Relations Board has issued a final rule that will require all employers to post notices of the unionization rights by November 14. Employers will be required to post this notice in a similar manner as they post other workplace notices.

Under Obama, the NRLB has taken a distinctively pro-union approach. The board wants to require employers to post notices of the right to unionize, yet the board wants to restrict the ability of an employer to combat union propaganda prior to a certification vote. Furthermore, the board has chosen to restrict the ability of a company to operate where it chooses. I support the ability of employees to unionize, and I agree that unions do some good for employees. However, many unions have simply become political power structures, and their leaders now stand for their own power more than for their employees. This posting rule may seem minor, but it is part of a larger scheme that is penalizing employers and promoting unions.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Criticizing the Criticism of Big Oil

Forbes has a new analysis of energy subsidies. Here are a few of the key points:

  • Energy subsidies have increased by 50 percent over the last three years.

  • Subsidies for renewable energy increased by 186 percent in the same time span.

  • Wind power, solar energy, and biofuels are the largest recipients of energy subsidies.

  • Despite the federal subsidies, wind power only represents 1.2 percent of all domestic energy production.

Do College Education Departments Have Lower Standards?

According to a new report from the American Enterprise Institute, there is a discrepancy in student grades in the education department when compared with other departments in the school. The report states that at some schools, a student is twice as likely to receive an A in an education course than in any other university course. At one of the universities examined, all students received an A in one out of every five education classes. The report goes on to list some consequences: teachers generally have less knowledge of their subject and education departments contribute to the low standards in education. One of the reasons for this problem is the lack of competition in education: districts have no incentive to improve their education because that school is the only public school the students can attend.

The solution seems obvious: we must figure out how to increase competition. Competition can be increased if parents were allowed to choose a school for their students. No Child Left Behind did institute this on a small scale for under performing schools. However, by increasing this to include all schools, the schools that perform better will receive more applicants (and therefore, more money). Transportation could be an issue, but it could be solved by requiring parents to transport students if the school is outside of a certain radius from the student's home. When schools have to compete for students, principals will have to improve education or face the loss of students and money from their schools.

You can read the summary and access the full report here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Employers Considering Stopping Health Coverage

The Huffington Post is reporting that a new employer survey shows that nearly 10% of employers plan to stop offering health benefits when the new health insurance laws take effect in 2014. Another 20% are unsure, and the remaining 71% say they will continue to offer benefits.

While the 70% number sounds great, it does not take into account the number of employers who will drop benefits once they discover the costs that will be endured to keep them. It also does not take into account the number of employers who plan to scale back benefits to save costs. Companies who have to make the choice between a fluctuating number from the insurance company or a stable number in a government fine will likely choose the stable number, especially since the employees will receive health insurance anyway.

Cohen Calls Perry "Intellectually Unqualified" To Be President

Washington Post opinion columnist Richard Cohen wrote Monday, "The Republican Texas governor clings to an ice floe of diminishing credibility, emerging in just about a week’s time as intellectually unqualified to be president." He concludes his column with another similar statement, "It’s not his thinking I fear. It’s the lack of any at all."

Cohen's claim about being "intellectually unqualified" to be President would more appropriate for the current President than the candidate from Texas. It is this President who has presided over the largest decline in the workforce. (Regardless of fault, Obama's policies have done nothing to prevent the decline.) It is this President who has proposed plan after plan to fix the economy, and seen each and every plan fail. It is this President who submitted a budget to the Senate that not only failed to receive approval of a single Republican, but also failed to win approval of a single Democrat. It is this President who announces that he is cutting regulation of business while simultaneously signing bills including two of the biggest increases in business regulation. (Dodd-Frank Financial Reform and Affordable Care Act) Perhaps before examining the intellectual capabilities of Presidential candidates, Cohen should examine whether the current President is any better qualified intellectually.

Stimulus Money Helps Climate Research, But Not Jobs

CNSNews is reporting that the Department of Energy used $60 million of its $1.2 billion in stimulus funds to purchase "advanced-technology research instruments" for climate change research. However, some of this equipment was put in service at locations around the United States, and there is no evidence presented of the number of jobs produced.

This helps explain why the stimulus is a failure. The money was supposed to create jobs, but most of the money did not go to job creating projects. Instead, some of the money simply brought in federal funding for projects that were going to be state-funded projects. Redevelopment of two major roads through the town where I worked had been discussed for two years, and the project was scheduled for summer of 2009. However, when the project began (on time), signs announced that the project was being funded by the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." That project did not create jobs, it only saved the state money at the expense of the federal government.

Now we find that money was used to purchase equipment. Some might argue that the money did create jobs for the companies that manufactured the equipment. This is possible, but it is more likely that the money was pocketed as profit by companies without hiring any new workers.

America needs to learn from its economic history. Out-of-control government spending has never helped America's economy, and it has never helped the economies of other nations. Only a return to economic freedom and liberty will bring us out of this recession and restore our position as the world's leading economy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Debt Numbers Show Shocking Consequences

Count off sixty seconds, and then congratulate yourself on owing one more penny courtesy of our federal government. New debt numbers have been released, and the increase in the national debt under Obama has passed the $4 trillion mark. By contrast, the increase over the entire 8 years of the Bush presidency was only $4.9 trillion. (Yes, ONLY $4.9 trillion) The result is an increase of $4.013 trillion over the 945 days of the Obama presidency. Spread that out evenly over each minute, and the debt has increased almost $3 million every minute. (Compare that with almost $1.2 million per minute d uring the Bush presidency.) Apply that to the approximately 300 million US residents, and each person has received an additional penny of debt each minute of the Obama presidency.

White House To Cut Regulations

The White House revealed plans today to eliminate hundreds of government regulations that it says are outdated, unfair, or unnecessary. These plans could save businesses up to $10 billion in costs for compliance over the next five years. The plan was devised as part of an outreach to business after Democrats lost last year's election.

Regulations cost the government money to enforce and the business money to verify compliance. Reducing these costs will help save the government money and allow businesses to invest money into other areas, including job creation. Given the current economic climate, anything that can be done to help businesses save money or invest in new projects is a good idea.

US Helps Libya...Establish Sharia Law

As the Libyan rebels continue to gain ground in Tripoli, a draft charter has been released. In Article I, it states, "Islam is the religion of the state and the principal source of the legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)."

The U.S. has helped the process of eliminating Gaddafi's control over Libya, but how much good has that help been? Gaddafi was an evil man, but it appears that Libya is going to replace his government with a democracy that will still fail to protect some basic freedoms. While, I do believe that the Libyans should have the right to set up their own government in whatever manner they choose, it does concern me that we have assisted them in setting up an Islamic republic.

Here is the draft:

Monday, August 22, 2011

Economists Prefer Spending Cuts to Tax Increases

A survey of economists by the National Association for Business Economics showed that the majority of economists surveyed believe that deficit reduction should be reduced using only or mostly spending cuts. Another 37 percent supported an equal balance of spending cuts and tax increases, while only 7 percent favored tax increases over spending cuts. The Huffington Post has more breakdown of the survey responses, including results on other questions.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Fareed Zakaria Explains Debt Downgrade

In the Keynesian world, debt is perfectly fine and actually desirable. Therefore, it is difficult for them to understand why America's debt rating was recently downgraded. However, Fareed Zakaria proposed on his show today that America's downgrade was due to its Presidential system, not its debt. Zakaria quotes an author who claims that Parliamentary systems are superior to Presidential systems because the executive and legislative branches are fused. He then uses the S&P's downgrade statement to prove that the reason for the downgrade was the type of government, not the debt.

At the heart, however, the debt is still the main issue. Yes, it is true that part of the justification for the S&P downgrade was the inability of the government to come to a solution until the last minute. However, another part of the problem was the lack of action taken to actually address the problem. S&P mentioned in their release that $4 trillion in cuts (such as those included in the Cut, Cap, and Balance bill) could have changed their decision. Yes, it is true that the political climate in Washington played a part in the downgrade, but only because it did not do everything that S&P deemed necessary to show America was worthy of its AAA rating.

Did You Help Pay for Obamacare Propaganda Campaign?

As part of a Freedom of Information Act request, Judicial Watch received information surrounding an Obamacare propaganda campaign paid for by taxpayers. The Department of Health and Human Services paid to have a pay-per-click ad placed on searches for terms such as "Obamacare", "health care reform", and "Affordable Care Act." The ad would direct people to a government website promoting the Affordable Care Act. The documents also state that the total cost could be close to $200 million dollars, and the money was being spent to "play a part in the individual’s decision to accept information and make a behavioral change."

Do you feel better about yourself now? You don't just get to participate in this new law, you get to help "make behavioral changes" in others! In fact, this help is mandated, with no provision for opting out, and your employer will take your money to support this program out of your next paycheck.