Thursday, May 26, 2011
Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...
As many industries in the United States face fierce competition from overseas competitors, the call for protectionist trade barriers rises. Seems logical, doesn't it? Countries that have lower wage and benefit costs because they do not have a union wage scale, as stringent workplace safety regulations, or an onerous regulatory burden have an unfair advantage, don't they? Therefore, according to this skewed logic, we shouldn't allow them to sell their products here. One of the many flaws in that argument is that it ignores how beneficial free trade is to our economy. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, our trading partners that have a free trade agreement with our nation buy on average four times more goods than those countries that do not. For example, in 2004, Chile signed a free trade agreement with the U.S. and our exports to that country have increased 300% from $2.7 billion to $10.9 billion . Big labor opposes free trade agreements because it places the union wage scale in stark contrast to what global competitors pay and because of the mistaken notion by labor that free trade costs the U.S. in terms of jobs. Here is what Teamsters President James Hoffa, Jr. said in a press release at the time the free trade agreement with Chile was signed, "The U.S.-Chile trade agreement will likely lead to the same deteriorating trade balances, lost jobs, trampled rights, and inadequate economic development that resulted from NAFTA." Here are the facts that Mr. Hoffa and Big Labor conveniently ignore: 500,000 net new jobs were added after NAFTA was signed, reversing two decades of labor declines; and there are 18 million jobs in this country directly tied to our 17 free trade partners. Think free trade is bad? Try telling that to one of these 18 million employees. It's time for the unions to realize that this is a global economy, and rather than do everything to prevent U.S. workers from participating, they should embrace this economic reality and work to create more jobs.
I went to a very emotional wedding this past weekend. Even the cake was in tiers.
Have you heard about the new White House Office of Progressive Media and On-line Response? Probably not, so let me tell you about it. Ostensibly, this an adjunct press office whose purpose is to identify and counter what are perceived to be negative news items that emerge. Fair enough. Every administration attempts to put as positive a spin on the news as they can. This particular effort is a bit different, however, in that it is a thinly disguised attempt to control the news flow that would criticize the Administration and its programs, and more specifically, President Obama, especially news that flows over the internet. The director of this office is one Jesse Lee. Name doesn't ring a bell? Let me tell you about Jesse Lee and his association with one of the most virulent anti-American organizations operating today. Lee is married to Nita Chaudhary, on of the people responsible for the 2007 MoveOn.org attack on highly decorated Army General David Patraeus as well as the war in Irag and Afghanistan. You may remember the attack ads that referred to General Patraeus as "General BetrayUs". Jesse Lee and his wife are members of an extreme left wing group that has consistently taken a stance that belittles America and makes no attempt to hide their hatred for our great nation. Lee is now in charge of the press office that is designed to "correct" mistakes- and more importantly- people and institutions- when they dare question the Obamessiah. Oh yeah, MoveOn.org? Funded by the notorious George Soros, an avowed hater of America, Americans, and our way of life.
My dog is so tough he can lick anyone.
The AARP helped to push through the socialized health care program known as Obamacare by contributing a $121 million ad campaign in support of the program as well as millions in lobbying to have this travesty passed by Congress. AARP stands to benefit as a seller of MediGap insurance coverage to seniors, and is one of several MediGap vendors, but is by far and away the largest. This week, we learned of the payback to AARP for their support of Obamacare. All MediGap insurance sellers have been exempted by the Administration from federal oversight of their rate increases. This means that AARP and the other companies that are selling MediGap coverage do not have to justify any of their rate increases that are passed along to buyers of their policies. Insurers that are not exempted have to justify and obtain federal approval for every rate increase that they attempt. Who is the insurer that is the AARP's biggest competitor in this arena? Medicare Advantage, which by the way, was not exempted. At best, this is crony capitalism. At worst, this is the AARP selling its corporate soul on the backs of its senior members, who will awaken in the near future to the fact that their health care options are severely limited and much less favorable than they are today. AARP will reap enormous profits; the members it putatively represents will suffer immensely. As I have always told you, follow the money.
If I was going to run away to join the circus, I think I would join the Cirque de So Lazy.
And that, my friends, is my view.