November 3, 2009

Election Results: Two Out of Three (and Maybe Three) Ain’t Bad

Filed under: MSM Biz/Other Bias,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 11:59 pm

Convincing wins in governors’ races by Christie in NJ and McDonnell in VA are far more important than the muddled mess that has become NY-23, where Hoffman is apparently behind but the outcome won’t be known for quite a while (though Fox is calling it for Owens — so important that all of a sudden, Harry Reid is thinking that ObamaCare might just wait until next year (corroboration here).

The establishment press will of course consider NY-23 the most important race in the universe if the Democrat Owens has indeed won. But the real lesson, even if Hoffman somehow ekes it out, is that it’s hard to undo a fiasco led by the native Republican establishment.

That does not bode well for Ohio, where the ORPINO (Ohio Republican Party In Name Only) is backing two awful fake-conservative candidates for statewide office (Jon Husted and Mike DeWine) who have no business running, and absolutely nothing to offer. ORPINO has apparently made the good candidates’ support for the two POS’s (Pathetic Ohio Sideliners) the price of admission for access to its resources. Nobody is more capable of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory than ORPINO.

I’d like to see Hoffman win or at least make it meaningfully close, just to remind these clowns that a third-party candidate supported by the Tea Party movement forced to endure yet another year of the POR Economy could snatch a statewide office from right (pun intended) under their noses next year if they don’t rediscover sensible conservatism. How cool would it be if that person ended up with the tie-breaking vote on the Reapportionment Board?

Wait, I Thought It Was Over; AP Blurb Says Recession ‘Will Likely Take Years to Abate’

APlogo0409Laurie Kellman, call your office, check your e-mail, and tap in to your Twitter.

The Associated Press reporter didn’t get the memo that recession is supposedly over, and that at a minimum you shouldn’t be writing as if it will be with us for a while. She also erred in citing the weak economy as a bad thing for Democrats. The New York Times told us about a week ago that a bad economy is a good thing for Democrats who want to pass state-controlled health care and other freedome-restricting agenda items, because a bad economy increases personal insecurity. They’re such pals of the little guy, you see.

Both busts against the conventional media wisdom are in Kellman’s brief item from late this morning (bolds are mine):

Health care issues: Hold off for a better economy?

A look at key issues in the health care debate:

THE ISSUE: Why can’t President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats wait until after the recession is over to try to reform health care?

THE POLITICS: The recession is likely to take years to abate, but the 2010 midterm elections aren’t far off. Obama and the Democrats who control Congress campaigned last year on a promise to extend health insurance to all and to curb the cost of care. By the next Election Day, the party in control wants a hefty list of accomplishments to point to, topped by having passed the most sweeping social change in a generation. There is no pocketbook issue more compelling than health care reform. It is intensely personal because it affects the health and financial welfare of voters and their families. Democrats are counting on the passage of health care overhaul to fuel optimism and persuade voters to keep them in power. Republicans are working hard to raise doubts about the emerging legislation — how it might add to an already huge federal budget deficit, increase insurance premiums or increase taxes.

Go to the link to see what Kellman believes it all means to next year’s congressional elections.

Points to ponder:

  • If, as Kellman writes, ObamaCare is “the most sweeping social change in a generation,” why is it being sold as a “no big deal, you can keep your doc, keep your plan, keep it all, no big deal” item?
  • What was the “sweeping social change” that was enacted a generation ago? Dictionary.com says that a generation is about 30 years. I’m figuring that Kellman must be referring to the election of Ronald Reagan and the simultaneous thumping of Jimmy Carter that occurred 29 year ago, almost to the day.
  • Alternatively, perhaps Kellman follows business and the economy on the side. The Community Reinvestment Act become law in the late 1970s, and has, with its subsequent beef-ups, certainly caused a lot of social change — not for the good — in the form of high foreclosures and distorted real estate markets.
  • Somehow, the idea that Congress will stay largely intact because of voter gratitude over passing a 1900-plus page monstrosity that STILL has death panels, has abortions, and takes away medical choice any time a private plan is tweaked in any way seem a bit far-fetched.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Lucid Links (110309, Morning)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 9:20 am

Meanwhile, back in the economy ….

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The ISM Manufacturing Index for October came in at 55.7, which indicates solid expansion, and is the third straight month with a positive reading. I don’t see it lasting through the winter; if it does, it can’t reasonably be tied to anything Washington has done to help manufacturing out (see final item below).

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In auto sales, JD Power predicts that October will show “only” a 6% decline from last year. The problem with the “only” descriptor is that October 2008 was terrible (“historically awful“), as the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy, also known as the POR Recession/”Repressionas Normal People Define It, spread from the business class, which began to recognize the mortal dangers of having the Terrible Triumvirate in power much earlier (see final item below), to consumers considering major purchases. So any decline, regardless of how small, from the year-ago level is singularly unimpressive.

Specific predictions vs. October 2008, per TrueCar (Oct. ’08 v. Oct. ’07 actuals per The Auto Writer are in parens): General/Government Motors, -4 (-45); Ford. -3 (-30); Chrysler, -33 (-35); Toyota, -10 (-23); Honda, +1 (-25); Nissan, -5 (-33).

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Ford reported a quarterly profit of almost $1 billion, while the company’s UAW rank-and-file rejected the contract offer recommended by its bargaining unit.

My theory: The bargainers cravenly caved in to an overreaching Ford management — even acquiescing to a 9-year 6-year no-strike pledge — fully expecting that workers would reject the idea of near-parity with GM and Chrysler, in hopes of weakening Ford’s position vs. its two government-controlled rivals. Ford workers logically asked, “Wait a minute, why should we benchmark ourselves against two companies that are still in serious trouble even after the government bailed them out?”

But I don’t think it will end up hurting Ford all that much. Previous givebacks have already been significant. Starting wages for new workers average $14 or so an hour (“about half the $28 per hour now paid to production workers”), and the non-newbie workforce contains a large number who are at over very near retirement who are continually having to be replaced.

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Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer says that IT spending isn’t going to fully come back:

Spending on information technology, which accounted for about half of capital expenditures in developed countries before the crisis, was unlikely to rebound fully because capital was more scarce these days, he said.

“While we will see growth, we will not see recovery,” Ballmer said.

Capital is only “more scarce” because private capital is largely on strike. With my additions to a graphic from Cato, you can see why:

CatoPrivateInvestmentPlunge1109

This would be evidence that “going Galt” has been a very real phenomenon among more prescient private investors for quite some time.

Commenter Joe C would properly characterize items (1), (2), and (3) as “the Democrat effect.”

If public policy, the President, and Congress weren’t so hostile to capital (and capitalism), and if the government wasn’t proactively sewing seeds of continued uncertainty as to what it will do next into the mix, private capital would come back. Until something changes for the better, it won’t.

3, 2, 1: No, Yes, No

Filed under: Taxes & Government — Tom @ 12:39 am

Casino gambling should be legal in Ohio. Issue 3 isn’t how to do it.

Gambling proposals have never been handled correctly in Ohio. Doing it right would involve selecting appropriate sites, accepting bids for licenses, having tight regulations on business operations (a cash business has to controlled that way), and fair taxes on the entities involved.

All of this should be done by the Ohio General Assembly, and and could be if it had the fortitude to do so. That it doesn’t simply means that the people in the way of doing it right must be chased out until that happens.

Because of the deficient General Assembly, those who want gambling legalized always have had to go the route of making their cause a part of the Buckeye State’s Constitution. The past two attempts have been pathetic jokes (Ohio Learn & Earn in 2006, which I vocally opposed, and the more recent Wilmington effort). The Issue 3 attempt gets closer to decent, but still doesn’t do the job.

Beyond that, Issue 3 misses the most fundamental point — the matter shouldn’t be set into the state’s Constitution. Matters affecting things like the conduct of elections, the funding of schools, and the like? Okay. Setting up arrangements for a specific industry that we’re then stuck with, barring another constitutional go-round? No. I’m against Issue 3, but the General Assembly needs to get its act together and pass common-sense legislation with reasonable provisions and appropriate controls that will finally break the decades-old ice.

As to Issue 2, the state’s Constitution is an acceptable place to specify the makeup of a board that will address what appears to be a legitimate threat to agriculture. This isn’t the same situation as Issue 3; Issue 2 is really about letting agriculture be agriculture instead of risking micro-regulating it to the point of damaging it. On this one, I’m going to trust the instincts of people in the industry who tell us that current efficient while humane practices must be allowed to continue and to evolve. If they instead ossify and bureaucratize, readers are free to nag me about this vote down the road.

Issue 1, state bonuses to veterans of wars in the Middle East, isn’t an easy one to decide. But my gut tells me that those who have served our country in the military would be more than a little miffed at the idea that they should be getting bonuses from the state (individually relative pittances in the grand scheme of things) when it is in such horrible financial shape. So I’m voting no on 1, with more than a little reluctance but a sense of realism.

Positivity: ‘Stay Home, Stay Happy’ Wisconsin mom writes book about motherhood experience

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 12:02 am

From Superior, Wisconsin:

Sep 24, 2009 / 08:58 am

Rachel Campos-Duffy, mother of five children under the age of 10 and an active member of Ashland, Wisconsin’s Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Community, just wrote what she calls a “love letter” to stay-at-home-moms. The letter is actually a book, “Stay Home, Stay Happy: 10 Secrets to Loving At-Home Motherhood,” which was published at the end of August by the Penguin Group.

In her late-night writing and editing of the new book, Campos-Duffy took care to include “common sense and practical ideas that we all need to be reminded of,” she said in a recent interview.

“I wanted to edify women who have chosen to be at home with their families,” she said.

The world at large can often be oblivious to what transpires in a home, including the ongoing efforts of stay-at-home mothers, Campos-Duffy said.

“There’s just not a lot of validation,” she said. “But it’s never been a better time to be an at-home mom.”

For one thing, men as husbands and fathers are more open to partnership in the home than they were decades ago, she explained. Technological advances, like the Internet, make it easier for at-home parents to reach outside of their homes, beyond what once was often an isolated experience for women, she continued.

And most of all for Campos-Duffy is that “women can get a lot of pleasure out of being an at-home parent,” she said.

Along with having written “Stay Home, Stay Happy,” Campos-Duffy is a regular contributor to the Parentdish.com blog site, she makes guest appearances on television talk shows, and she got her start in the visual vein of media while participating in the MTV Real World series.

Later on, in 1999 and again in 2003, Campos-Duffy made on-air attempts to join the hosting line-up of the daytime talk show, The View, but each time she was not chosen for the position. Rather than be deterred by what some might call failure, Campos-Duffy found inspiration.

“I thought it was a sign from God that I was already doing what I was supposed to be doing,” she said. She looked to her developing children as evidence of her valuable work as a mother.

“They have an understanding of God,” she said. “What I am doing is producing good fruit.” ….

Go here for the rest of the story.