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People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it. Welcome to From On High.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Whaddaya Complainin' About?

The economic fundamentals are good!

If only the people of Southwest Virginia could eat fundamentals:
Boucher pulls a McCain in touting 'fundamentals'
Glenn Thrush, Politico

Rep. Rick Boucher (D-Va.) — a perennial GOP target who represents a majority-Republican district — sat down with a local reporter to discuss his support of the stimulus. He seemed to channel John McCain '08 by declaring the "fundamentals" of the still-shaky economy as good.

“The stimulus legislation has clearly worked,” he said. “The Christmas retail season was better than expected, a sign of recovery. Inventories are down. That will mean more factory orders, more people hired to fill orders. It’s a process and the results will not be seen for some time.”

He said the public looks most at unemployment that he called a lagging indicator and the last measure to see full recovery.

“But,” Boucher said, “the fundamentals of the economy are good.”  
[link]
Here's the problem with this bit of hooey.  There's not a person out there who would argue that, if John McCain were president today, Boucher would still be cheerleading the ailing economy we now have.  The economy that he sees as being in recovery.  He'd be trashing it to high heaven if roles were reversed.  So his pronouncements are nothing more than political bullshit.  You know it.  He knows it.

But let's look at those fundamentals that Boucher says are now "good."  From my schooling, I learned that those fundamentals involve such things as unemployment, Gross Domestic Product (GDP), housing starts, inflation (or deflation), and consumer confidence.  They could also include such things as the value of gold, trends in oil pricing, and the direction the prime interest rate is headed.

First let's look at unemployment, as represented om a chart going back to 1948 (click on the image to enlarge it):


 Do you see any signs of recovery in that last bar to the right (year 2009)?  The one that is staggeringly higher than any other year?  See anything "good" in this chart?

But Boucher says unemployment is a lagging indicator.  And experts agree with him.  So we let him off with a mild slap.

We could, though, look at lending rates (commercial, consumer, mortgage), but banks still aren't lending money, so that's of no consequence.

Housing starts?  Click to enlarge.





Rick?

Consumer confidence?



Rick?

I suppose Mr. Boucher could argue that inflation is in check.  But with capacity utilization at a record low and unemployment continuing to be a huge problem, there are no inflationary pressures at present.  And he'd be right in saying that's good (except for those out of work).  Good, but some say Inflation Is Our Future.

And gold investors - whether you agree with their rationale or not - are betting on it:




Gold closed today at $1,122 an ounce.

Happy times?  Tell it to those who are dumping dollars and buying precious metals.

And speaking of the dollar:


Maybe Boucher will argue that that uptick this month doth recovery make.  But an uptick from rock-bottom is nothing to hang one's hat on.  Besides, the outlook for the dollar is bleak ...

... unless and until the Fed starts raising interest rates ...

... which will fuel inflation ...

... which is already in the works because of all the trillions of dollars that are now floating around in the marketplace (thanks to an out-of-control Congress that includes Rick Boucher).

Which brings us to the national debt (that which you and I and our children owe ourselves):


It's fair to call that second bar the Obama-Pelosi-Boucher Contribution to the National Debt because Mr. Boucher contributed more than most to making it a reality.

Good?  Only if you get paid from the receipts, as Rick does.

So what does that leave?

Oh, yeah.

Wall Street.

Make no mistake, Wall Street has rebounded well.  What with trillions in tax dollars being handed to the banks by Boucher and friends.

So, if Rick Boucher is basing his declaration that “the fundamentals of the economy are good” on the Dow index, more power to him.

Out here in the real world, however, times are tough.  And the outlook is bleak, to say the least.

Unless you live in Washington D.C.  See "Explosive Growth in Government Jobs."

Things are going quite well up where Boucher lives.

Those fundamentals are indeed good.

Speaks Volumes

Our republican form of government is such a pain in the toosh, let's just have Obama's gang of idiots and thieves rule by fiat:
Dems look to skip formality on health bills
By Jennifer Haberkorn, Washington Times

Democratic leaders are looking to forgo a formal, public conference to merge the House and Senate's health care overhaul bills, giving Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House free rein to hammer out the final measure behind closed doors and thwart Republican efforts to stymie it.

The maneuver gives Democratic leaders the ability to quickly work through hundreds of differences between the 2,000-page bills and to keep control over the deals they will need to make on politically touchy topics such as abortion, taxes and Medicare cuts.

An informal conference is likely to reinforce claims that Democrats haven't upheld Mr. Obama's campaign pledge to keep the health care reform process transparent — complete with C-SPAN cameras. [link]
I love that euphemism, "informal conference."  Translated it means "behind locked and guarded doors."

Then there are those danged "politically touchy topics."  Where once they were dealt with in open debate (stemming from a quaint understanding of the word "democracy") now a handful of liberal zealots - some, like Nancy Pelosi lacking both debate skills and reasoning skills - will decide our future by deciding the touchy topics without anyone influencing their decisions.  It's so less messy and time-consuming.

Next they'll propose that we skip the November elections and simply reappoint all the Democrats to their current seats in Congress.  So less messy.  So less time-consuming.

And millions will see the plus side of it all.

Sure They Are

From the land of make-believe:


Those same Chinese officials say Mao is still alive.  His heart is just between beats.

Say What You Will About Dick Cheney

At least during his tenure, we never had to ask this kind of question:


Believe it or not, there are those interviewed who say YES. They, of course, are the ones who voted for Obama because he was black and because he offered hope and change and stuff like that.

And They Say I Have a Short Fuse

At least I've never done this:
Toledo woman pleads not guilty to broken drive-through window
Toledo Blade

A Toledo woman, who allegedly put her fist through a fast-food drive-through window after being told her order couldn't be filled, appeared in court Saturday on a felony vandalism charge.

Melodi Dushane, 24, of 1332 Felt St. became "upset that chicken nuggets weren't available" and "punched out the drive-through window," according to Toledo police.

Police were called Friday to the McDonald's restaurant at 90 Main St., where Ms. Dushane was arrested.
Before Ms. Dushane was booked into the Lucas County jail, she was treated at Mercy St. Charles Hospital for injuries sustained when she allegedly punched at the window. [link]
I'll admit I've lost my cool at times in such circumstances.  But never over Chicken McNuggets.

Now let them run out of Big Macs and see what happens!

This Seems So Right

Who said the face of the United States government doesn't reflect that of its people?


Swell.

A Disturbing Turn Of Events

Oh, it's no big deal.  As John McLaughlin might say, "Freedom is overrated anyway":
America is losing the free world
By Gideon Rachman. Financial Times

Ever since 1945, the US has regarded itself as the leader of the “free world”. But the Obama administration is facing an unexpected and unwelcome development in global politics. Four of the biggest and most strategically important democracies in the developing world – Brazil, India, South Africa and Turkey – are increasingly at odds with American foreign policy. Rather than siding with the US on the big international issues, they are just as likely to line up with authoritarian powers such as China and Iran.

The US has been slow to pick up on this development, perhaps because it seems so surprising and unnatural. Most Americans assume that fellow democracies will share their values and opinions on international affairs.

But the assumption that the world’s democracies will naturally stick together is proving unfounded. [link]
There is a natural yearning on the part of human beings to be free.  There is, at the same time, a natural push from government interests to make people less so.  And government owns all the guns.

When the world caves to government subjugation, where will that leave us?

Barack Obama has been compared in many ways to Jimmy Carter.  But at least it can be said that Carter stood up for human rights.  Obama has largely ignored them, in favor of "getting along." 

This is not a good development.

- - -

See also "Chickens Come Home, Roost"

Silence

I wonder why this is ...
Hot Weather Convinces Media of Climate Change; Cold Weather Ignored
By Julia A. Seymour, News Busters

When a heat wave hit the U.S. in July 2006, CBS "Evening News" consulted Pew Center on Global Climate Change's Jay Gulledge.

"The average global temperature is getting hotter due to global warming," Gulledge told CBS.

In a Cosmo magazine style quiz, Newsweek called the deadly European heat wave of 2003 "a human fingerprint" of "man-made climate change."

And in 2008 Stanford University professor Dr. Stephen Schneider told ABC's "Good Morning America" that methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are making hot temperatures even hotter.

"While this heat wave like all other heat waves is made by Mother Nature, we've been fooling around by turning the knob and making a little bit hotter," Schneider said on June 9, 2008. "[W]e've already increased by 35 percent the amount of carbon dioxide which traps heat. We've added 150 percent more methane, which also traps heat."

The news media constantly misuse extreme weather examples to generate fear of global warming, but when record cold or record snow sets in journalists don't mention the possibility of global cooling trends. While climatologists would say weather isn't necessarily an indication of climate, it has been in the media, but only when the weather could be spun as part of global warming. [link]
I don't see it as being anything sinister really.  I think these people just aren't that bright.

Could be mistaken though.