Friday, January 27, 2012

My View

Random ruminations from your resident curmudgeon...

The rhetoric that all of us will hear as the we get closer to the November election day is going to get deafening. Claims, counter-claims, attacks, defenses, all will be at full volume. Here is a question that will help you cut through the clutter, and it is one that every voter in this country should be asking: "Are we better off today than we were when the current administration took office?" While you ponder the answer to that question, let me provide you with some information that may help you answer it. The number of people that are receiving benefits from the federal government is now 49%, including Social Security, workers compensation, pensions, subsidized housing, welfare, and other federal programs. Since President Obama took office, federal payments to individuals has increased 32% or $600 billion. Under President Obama, food stamp usage is 45% higher than it was before he took office, with 15% of all Americans on food stamps (46 million people). 45% of all health care spending in the U.S. comes from the federal government, and that is before the implementation of Obamacare. And even though in his State of the Union address he decried corporate welfare and subsidies to the energy industry, Obama and his administration have quadrupled grants and subsidies to the energy industry (many of them to now failed "green" energy companies). The present level of our spending and growth of all entitlement programs will consume 61% of all tax revenue coming in to the Treasury in just 9 years. As our current leadership in Washington moves us toward becoming a nation of dependents, can we honestly say that we are better off today than we were 3 years ago?

You know what would be an amazing concert? If Styx and The Stones performed together.

On aspect of my job is to look at numbers and spot trends. I attempt to find positive trends and take advantage of those when I make investment decisions, and avoid investments in areas where the trends are negative. Here are some numbers for your consideration which show certain data points from the time this administration came into office through the end of 2010, and I think it will be obvious to you which way the trends are going: Unemployment was 6.8% then; now it is 8.5% (and the validity of that number is questionable); regular gasoline was $1.69 per gallon and today it is $3.39, a 102% increase; electric utility costs now average $1,420 per household, up $300 and due mainly to new costs of complying with environmental regulations; median household income has dropped 7%; our nation's annual budget deficit is now $1.7 trillion and our total debt is $15.25 trillion compared to $10.6 trillion in 2009. Not only are these trends negative, but they are disturbingly and dramatically increasing in the wrong direction. So I return to the question that I asked in the first paragraph- "Are we as individuals and a nation better off today than we were when the current administration took office?"

My wife is always fussing and telling me I never finish anyth

Ask yourself this question: "What is the vision for America?" Specifically, is there a vision coming from Washington that says, as a nation, this is who we are and this is where we are going? "Fair" is not a vision. Life is not fair. Forced income redistribution is not a vision. It is antithetical to the spirit of freedom and productivity. Another government program, stifling debt, and more regulations are not a vision. And this is a fundamental problem with all of the leadership in Washington, from both sides of the aisle. Leadership in Washington does not have a vision about who we are as a nation and where we want to go, nor do they inspire our citizens to greatness.  Remember Ronald Reagan's vision for our country? "A great nation, set upon a hill." His vision was that our nation would be a model, a beacon of freedom and prosperity for the world. Someone tell me what the vision is for our country, what inspires us as citizens. There is none.The Biblical wisdom given centuries ago still holds true today: where there is no vision, the people perish (Proverbs 29:18). Our leaders would be wise to heed that wisdom

I joined a bridge club. I jump off next Tuesday.

And that, my friends, is my view.

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