Thursday, July 28, 2011

Land Of The Free And Home Of The Deadbeat?

Land Of The Free And Home Of The Deadbeat? Is this the new world wide label that the Tea Party wants Americans to be known by if a default takes place. "Mama, look it's one of those deadbeat Americans" the child told his mother as he pointed to an American tourist after the United States defaulted on it debts. Wake up, get the debt ceiling raised and argue about everything else later.

This is what takes place when a group of people are elected to Congress who don't know the difference between talking points, campaign slogans and doing what is in the best interest of the United States. When a group of politicians that represent a small percentage hold the hard won sterling credit standing of the United States hostage over ideology and pledges, we have truly entered the twilight zone of political insanity.

 Some of those that would be hurt the most are the very citizens encouraging their Tea Party Representatives in the House to not vote to raise the debt ceiling. If a default occurs, interest rates on loans and credit cards will increase and a tax increase on everyone will take place in the worst way.

Wake up! We don't have to be known as "deadbeat Americans" so why would we choose to be so.   

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Be Good And Broke Or Bad And Rich

Casey Anthony
Remember when scandal meant someone faced with a long road back to regaining a good reputation in order to prosper in society. Now Casey Anthony is poised to make millions after being found not guilty of the murder of her daughter Caylee. Things have changed.

Casey Anthony is an extreme example of how the public lust for real-life salacious tales has surpassed the public disdain for those participating in the scandal. Some of our most famous celebrities have no other claim to fame other than being famous. Often the root of the fame of these personalities can be traced back to some scandal ridden episode such as a “leaked sex tape” or other act of questionable moral judgment.

There is even a class of celebrity strictly manufactured to showcase outlandish partying, fighting and promiscuity on the shores of New Jersey and world wide. We have been presented with Mob Wives and Housewives of wherever shows that thrive on conflict or be canceled or dropped from the cast. Gold diggers and womanizers are in our face on a daily basis and some may think that is the formula for success.

What about the good guys? The good guys and girls are still around, but they actually may be portrayed as weak and not grabbing for the brass ring. We now live in a world where taking shortcuts, risks and even back stabbing may be viewed as showing you are willing to do what it takes to get ahead. That is a sad world to live in, but it has crept into the workplace and if you play by the rules you may be setting yourself up to be taken advantage of. It is not a good situation when you have to work with one eye on your task and another on your coworker. The reality is we live in an ends justifies the means world in many cases. If your coworker has to reach his goals by using you as a step stool don’t wait for any admonishments, but look for the accolades to flow their way for a job well done.

It is said that a fish rots from the head down and that is what has occurred in our society. Years of witnessing bad deeds getting good rewards has worn down the resolve of many who would do things differently if they saw proper feedback. Casey Anthony is the latest example of this reverse reward situation and it is one more brick removed from the wall of work hard, be honest and get ahead school of thought. It is often said that riches here on earth are temporary, but that is all many can see paraded before their eyes on a daily basis and they way some obtained them was not pretty.

Monday, July 11, 2011

President Obama Sucker Punches Republicans In Debt Ceiling Debate

President Barack Obama employed a masterful use of political rope-a-dope to lure the Republicans into a no-win position in the debt ceiling negotiations. President Obama seemed to be losing the debt ceiling battle. Republicans lunged forward demanding huge cuts to the budget. Obama suddenly peeked from behind his gloves and said I agree, just raise taxes on the wealthy.

Speaker of the House John Boehner knew he had been sucker punched and had to go to his members in the House of Representative and tell them that they got what they have been seeking. Social Security and Medicare were on the table, but there was one small hitch, they had to raise taxes on the rich.

Boehner already knew that the cause was lost. There was nothing that could be given to convince his Tea Party captors to increase taxes on the wealthy. So looking like a man given his marching orders he gave up the holy grail of reforming Social Security and Medicare in order to not raise taxes on the wealthy. John Boehner had to speak into a microphone that his party would pass up deep budget cuts in favor of smaller cuts in order to keep tax breaks in place for millionaires and billionaires.

Somewhere George Foreman and Ali are smiling and shaking their heads while asking, “Didn’t the Republicans see that coming?”

Saturday, July 9, 2011

New Demand, Old Workforce, Not Enough Jobs Ever Again

There is an ugly truth about the job market that economists and politicians will not speak. The United States and the world will never need as many workers as it has in the past to supply more than we could ever buy or consume and with almost everyone in the modern workforce, this is a huge problem. The solution is a global lower standard of living.

Automation has enabled a far smaller workforce to produce huge quantities of goods and services that called for multiples more workers in the past. Everything from automatic teller machines, automatic car washes to personal computers remove job positions from the workforce. One example is a sales division of a company that 15 years ago had an administrative assistant for each sales team that would prepare proposals, presentation materials and take messages. Now sales people use software tools like Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word and connect their laptop to a projector to do a presentation. An automated voice response answering system takes messages and the need for the administrative assistant is gone.

Many offices now have an empty desk in their lobby where a receptionist once sat. Often a sign with a list of extensions to call if you need assistance sits alongside a telephone. The combination of personal computer software and automated answering technology has eliminated a huge number of jobs forever. The same thing can be said of factory automation where robots do almost everything with humans often connecting subassemblies built by machines and performing final quality inspections. Millions of jobs have been permanently eliminated by industrial automation.

The other issue is the size of our workforce. Almost everyone is seeking employment. Most suburban neighborhoods are ghost towns during the day because everyone leaves to go to work. There was a time when a married couple would have a stay at home parent if one of them earned enough to support the family and provide a comfortable lifestyle. There have always been situations where both the husband and wife worked out of economic necessity and that was the norm. Something changed and the workforce ballooned when the norm became that the earning capability of a husband or wife was not the determinate of whether both worked. The expectation was for both members of a marriage to get jobs and work.

Social factors like a low rate of marriage and huge divorce rates create social insecurities that drives everyone to work because the thought of being suddenly alone without marketable job skills is too big of a risk.

The expectations of career goals, earning’s growth and enhanced lifestyle changed the definition of what a comfortable lifestyle entailed. Increased consumption from dual high income households combined with the use of credit by everyone fueled an outsized demand for everything from electronics to homes. This inflated demand masked the fact that normal demand could not support our work force.

The financial crisis ripped the scab off the real issue of the workforce and demand imbalance. Many consumers retreated back to an earlier model regarding buying goods and services. We had been on a “just get it if you want it” economic model and suddenly switched to a get it if you absolutely need it mentality. The days of replace it if it’s broken have replaced getting the hot new feature such as a 3D television when your current television will still last for years.

At the same time demand crashed, people ready to exit the workforce through retirement came back in because many had their retirement savings gutted by the stock market crash during the last part of 2008. The combination of low demand and swollen workforce creates a nightmare scenario that unfortunately may be solved by a painful descent into a generally lower standard of living for millions of Americans. We are now dealing with something closer to the real economy, but it happened so suddenly that there was no adjustment period, just pain for many.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dancing On Caylee Anthony’s Grave

Casey Anthony

Casey Anthony was found not guilty of killing her young daughter Caylee. Now everyone including her mother, jurors and television show hosts are dancing on her grave with eyes toward making money.

There has been a change in attitude since O J Simpson was acquitted of murder. O J was a pariah and no one wanted to touch him from a commercial standpoint, but Casey Anthony is a different story. Due to the absolute media lust for ratings and tabloid sales, nothing is off limits. O J Simpson was on trial for the death of two adults possible at his hands. Adults have a chance, they can fight back. Caylee Anthony was 2 years old when she disappeared and was later found dead.

Why will Casey Anthony profit from the death of her daughter? Some reports estimate that Casey could earn $1 million for her initial interview and a possible book deal is reportedly already in the works. O J was famous and then became infamous. Casey Anthony was unknown and became infamous. Casey Anthony is young, petite and appears nonthreatening while O J Simpson was a Hall of Fame professional football player.

At least one Casey Anthony juror was seeking money for an interview. Some television hosts used the trial to build up their ratings. Somewhere in this orgy of excess a little girl was lost in the mix. The tragedy of this case was that it was all inside one family. Parents of the accused were also the grandparents of the dead little girl and their daughter could receive the death penalty if she was found guilty.

The public believed that emotion would convict Casey Anthony, but a lack of any firm connection to her causing Caylee’s death generated a not guilty verdict from a jury. This is a new world compared to the time of O J Simpson. Now the famous and infamous walk down the same road and both are rewarded financially.

A little 2-year old girl died and now the vultures feast off her bones in the graveyard.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Is Michele Bachmann A Welfare Queen?

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann

It seems that a lot of government funds that have flowed into the coffers of Michele Bachmann and her husband over the years. While she rails against big government she has taken in large sums of government money. While not officially on the welfare rolls, could Bachmann be considered a government welfare queen?

I know that the classic image of the welfare queen is someone down on their luck, living in government provided housing and considered to be gaming the system, of course that is far from the truth. What do you call a member of Congress that is running for President that has taken in hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government?

An article titled “ConservativeCash CropJuly 1, 2011 by Timothy Egan and printed in the New York Times July 1, 2011 states how a farm, in which Bachmann is a partner, received $251,000 in federal farm subsidies from 1995-2009. The same article indicated Marcus Bachman, Michele Bachmann’s husband, collected Medicaid payments of $137,000 for his mental health clinic since 2005 and $24,000 for staff training from the state of Minnesota. If you are keeping track, that is $412,000 since 1995. Remember Michele Bachmann is a lawyer that represented the IRS and should know all of the angles on government tax subsidies and loopholes.

Michele Bachmann seems to be another in a long line of opportunistic political figures who has constructed a mythology of words that does not come close to matching reality. It also now seems that her often mentioned claim of raising 23 foster children is being questioned. An article titled “Michele Bachmann's History As A Foster Parent Remains Murky” by Jason Cerkis July 1, 2011 in the Huffington Post indicates that Michele Bachmann did indeed keep foster children, but it seems for short periods at a time from 1992 through 1998. According to the article, Bachmann primarily kept teenage girls and sought out unwed mothers according to an official from the company that licensed her as a foster parent and he said one foster child stayed with her for almost one year. It seems the definition of the word “raised” is at issue.

Michele Bachmann will go the way of Sarah Palin over time as the facts catch up with her self-created superwoman mythology. It is laudable that Michele Bachmann became a foster parent, but if she is stretching the truth of that issue for political gain she will pay the price for doing so. The charges of an unfair media bias will be coming as she will be confronted with her real history, but by that time she will be positioned to profit from speeches, books and television appearances.

Running for President is an opportunity for Michele Bachmann to position herself to cash in like her contemporary, Sarah Palin. Bachmann has learned well by watching Palin. Sarah Palin rode her failed Vice Presidential bid to fame and fortune and Bachmann will do the same with her run for the Presidency of the United Sates of America.