unemployment rate

What's A Crisis And When Are We In One?

Listen to the liberals: We have a health care crisis. We have an education crisis. We have an obesity crisis. We have an environmental crisis. We have a swine flu crisis (oh, wait, that was last year). We have just about every type of crisis, but one: An employment crisis. While the unemployment rate is near 10 percent, GDP at a pitiful 1 percent and the underemployment rate of those who've quit looking for work or who work only part-time is estimated to be around 18 percent. But, somehow, we don't hear the word "crisis" used by liberal politicians or their allies in the mainstream media when, in fact, our economic situation truly is in crisis and the aspect of not having a job is considerably more serious than some kid's spare tire or any of the many contrived "crises" liberals in office or behind an anchor desk or with a by line pound at us each and every day.

Many people have serious problems and concerns. It may be their health, it may be a crummy school. It may be they are worried about a polar bear and think by recycling their plastic they can say its habitat. Rarely do they rise to the level of a mass crisis requiring national government intervention. A country on the verge of economic collapse under the weight of unfathomable debt and decreasing job growth, however, does qualify as a crisis. Yet, the liberals in charge care not in lieu of their pet gripes of matters not of their concern or beyond their authority.

America Bankrupt: Real Or Fake?

Several reports have documented how much of a failure the "Stimulus" bill is. Not only did it borrow and spend $1 trillion in new debt only to see the unemployment rate rise to 9.5 percent (and going higher), the money was spent on projects so ludicrous they wouldn't make it into a bad Hollywood comedy script. The McCain-Coburn "Summertime Blues" report documented many of them (see list), including $308 million for a joint clean energy venture with . . . BP, $700,000 to study why monkeys respond negatively to inequity, $62 million for a tunnel to nowhere in Pittsburgh, $3.8 million for a "streetscaping" project that  reduced customer traffic and caused a business to layoff two employees, and $193,956 to study voter perceptions of the stimulus. That voter study didn't reach enough voters. Our friends at Bankrupting America uncovered yet more incomprehensible spending and produced this "Real or Fake" test, as in are certain government spending projects real or fake? You couldn't make this up and be credible anywhere . . . except in Washington, D.C. The answers are sad, but true. At this rate, it won't be long before we're finacially bankrupt. We already are bankrupt in leadership.

To tell the truth: The "stimulus" bill put us deeper in debt with nothing to show for it but some humorous, but sad, stories.

While Obama Cuts The Military In Virginia, Raises Taxes On Everyone, Why Not A Fat BRAC?

Nothing unites Republicans and Democrats faster than a pair of magnets than military base closures in their states. Last week was no different when Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced he would close (see Army Times) the Joint Forces Command in Norfolk as part of a pare down in defense spending. On cue, a bipartisan group of Virginia's Congressional delegation, including both senators, rushed to JFCOM's defense (see Washington Post Virginia Politics Blog). At risk is as many as 6,000 jobs in Virginia. (The conspiracy theory is that Virginia is being targeted by the Obama administration for its aggressive legal challenges to the health care law and the unilateral cap and trade policy implemented by the EPA.)  Secretary Gates has the unenviable task of convincing Congress (other states will face cuts as well) — during a recession his boss has exacerbated, if not created — that the Defense Department's mission is to protect the country and not create jobs. He may well be right, but while JFCOM may or may not be needed, while he's cutting fat out of the military, why isn't his boss cutting fat everywhere else

Several years ago, Congress created the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to target base closings to save money and submit those recommendations to Congress for an up or down vote, because the normal appropriation process presented a more formidable barrier than the Great Wall of China. Congressmen would trade votes to protect bases in each others' districts, regardless of the merits. Political cowardice aside, it still amazes me that Washington insiders are willing to cut the military to save a few billion dollars out of a nearly $3.5 trillion budget, of which $1.5 trillion is borrowed money, while not cutting anything nearly as important

If Congress can pass the buck to a commission to cut the fat out of the Pentagon, then why not create a commission to cut the fat out of non-defense spending? Call it the Fat BRAC. There are numerous reports by think tanks and watch dog groups, as well as individual congressmen, of deplorable spending (see McCain-Coburn Report). A commission easily could mold these findings into a package of cuts for an up or down vote.

While the Obama administration wants to raise taxes on almost everyone in the middle class and up by letting the 2001 and 2003 tax rate reductions expire, to generate $700 billion over several years (assuming the tax increase doesn't jack up the unemployment rate above 10 percent), it increased spending more than one trillion dollars in one year — $787 billion in one fell swoop with the so-called stimulus bill (more when you factor in interest on the additional debt it created.) That's arrogance and irresponsibility of the highest order. The waste in that bill (and other bills) is of deplorable and unprecedented proportions.

There is something you can do, however. As we mentioned in this post, House Republicans started YouCut, a chance to tell Congress what programs you want to see it eliminate. Each week House Republicans post a list of programs citizens want cut. The GOP Conference brings to the floor the one with the most votes. Hundreds of thousands of people vote each week. We have a permanent link to YouCut on the lower right side of this site. We encourage you to take an active role in this and make your voice heard. Then think about writing your representative and Virginia's two senators, and tell them you want a BRAC for Big Fat Federal Spending.

Olympic Failure! "Anointed One" Not So Miraculous After All!

He was supposed to create healing among the nations, cease the riffs among his countrymen and heal all wounds real and imagined. Instead, he's made each worse.  Now, today, in one of the most miscalculated political missteps in history, the "anointed one," Barack Obama, went to his base in Europe to triumphantly receive the 2016 Summer Olympics bid from the International Olympic Committee for the Daley Machine as payback to his hometown political cronies. He failed. But he succeeded in diminishing the Office of the Presidency. Simply humiliating.

In fact, Chicago finished last, the first city eliminated in the round-by-round voting. How could his political advisers let him go not knowing the outcome?

So, here's the president who can't negotiate the Olympics for Chicago, but he can negotiate the Iranians into giving up their nukes? Ha!

Meanwhile, in case you didn't hear, unemployment rose to 9.8 percent this morning. But Barack Obama has more important things to do, like be in Europe for sports. Wait! Maybe the jobless rate is why he wanted to be in Europe for sports.

Governments Unbothered And Unrestrained

What do you call a quarter of (however small) gross domestic product growth, rising worker productivity and dropping labor unit costs (an inflation factor); a month with a lower unemployment rate, rising factory orders and increased consumer purchases; two straight weeks of declining unemployment insurance claims and a year of increased wages? If you're a liberal running for office or a member of the Mainstream Media, it's a recession. The economy surely isn't in great shape with gas prices as high as they are, along with rising ethanol production decreasing food supplies and increasing food prices (thanks environmentalist wackos). But by no statistical measurement are we in a recession — yet.

We're not the only ones who think that. A major institution agrees: Government.

Perhaps nothing is more disturbing during these unsure economic times than the fact that government, at all levels and across all regions of the country, continues to add jobs to their bureaucracies. According to a recent analysis of all employment sectors, despite the job reductions and efficiencies the private sector has been forced into — created primarily by government policies of high taxation, artificially high energy prices because of a lack of domestic production, and rising food prices because of farm subsidies to grow corn for ethanol at the expense of other crops — the public sector (i.e., government) continues to grow!

Here's an excerpt from an AP dispatch (emphasis added):

On the jobs front, construction companies slashed 61,000 positions in April. Manufacturers cut 46,000 and retailers got rid of 27,000. Those losses were eclipsed by job gains in education and health care, professional and business services, the government and elsewhere.

For what good reason is government growing? If not now, in an economic slowdown, then when will governments clamp down and do more with less? Will it ever stop adding to its payroll? In Virginia, we face a governor and certain legislators ready to jack up the gas tax as that commodity makes its way to $4.00 per gallon.

So it seems government is un-bothered about the slow economy and unrestrained in its appetite to confiscate from those it purports to serve. These same state and local governments complain of tight budgets and revenue shortages, while they rake in ever more money in higher real estate and assorted state and local taxes from hard working families having enough of a time filling up their cars with gas. Politicians always brag about balanced budgets. But balanced budgets don't mean a thing when they grow each year by taking more than is needed from hard working families to fund bureaucracies. That's never right, even in good times. It's especially cruel when times are tenuous.