The critical factor that has been in play the past few months has been the European debt crisis going critical. I have said all along that the US is in worse shape than the EU overall because the EU has less will and capacity to resolve - or even temporarily paper over -its problems.
If you can give Obama a Nobel Peace Prize for a non-existent peace, you should also consider an Oscar award for a movie yet to made. If there were a remake of Dr. Strangelove today, there’d be no better subject than the Obama administration’s deconstructionist assault on truth.
How much money will you really take home from your paycheck in 2012 after they rob a little more from Social Security?
It used to be that Wall Street was functioning on the basic idea that financial events were subject to something very like a normal distribution, also known as a bell curve. Since they saw stock and bond prices as largely random variations from the average, they saw the risk to their portfolios as relatively low.
New jobs and unemployment figures came out today, which on their face depict an economy that looks better than many pessimists had anticipated. Understandably, they are being greeted as welcome news from a public desperate for job growth and economic recovery, and an end to the hardship, pain and misery that so many Americans have experienced over the last few years. But while I am all for good news, a couple of hard truths must be told as these numbers are scrutinized today.
A political campaign is like a wedding or the launch of a space vehicle in that the planning and activity starts sometimes years in advance, reaches a frenzied pitch in the last days before the event, then it all stops with "I do," the "The vehicles has cleared the tower," or, "We're reassessing."
Here is the operating motto of the Obama White House: "So let it be written, so let it be done!" Like Yul Brynner's Pharaoh Ramses character in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments," the demander in chief stands with arms akimbo issuing daily edicts to his constitution-subverting minions with an imperious wave of his hand. His entourage of insatiable usurpers never rests.
For many months, the liberal media elite has made no secret that in its mind the field of Republican presidential candidates includes Mitt Romney and a collection of clowns. Clearly, Romney is the opponent that Barack Obama and the liberal establishment want nominated.
President Obama is calling for dramatic defense cuts that could threaten our national survival while obstructing structural reforms to our entitlement programs that are essential for our national financial survival. It just doesn't get much worse than this.
If you were running the Illinois Humanities Council and a famous terrorist offered to help in your fundraising drive, what would you do? If you said, "slam down the phone" or something to that effect, it just shows how remote you are from the sensibilities of the Obama age.
Informed in 1960 that the Rev. Martin Luther King, Senior would be voting for the Protestant Richard Nixon, Sen. Jack Kennedy smiled and said: “We all have fathers.”
It will become conventional wisdom over the next few weeks that the Republican Party and its candidates for the nomination have been damaged by the close and surprise finish in Iowa. They will suggest the field is weak and that the failure of a candidate to win a mandate in Iowa would suggest a weak nominee in November. That's nonsense and wishful thinking by some pundits and media.
Death is never easy to accept, much less embrace, but it taught me that the end of life need not be frightening. She lived 90 years -- the last three of them in my home -- healthy, independent and happy, despite a life that others might have regarded as difficult, if not tragic.
Romney, Perry, or whoever finally emerges as the lead dog after Iowa, New Hampshire, Florida, Nevada or Lower Slobovia would do well to listen to Paul’s supporters. Whatever else may be said about them, I predict that they represent a broader base than the frontrunners would like to believe.
Misguided souls preaching hyperinflation in the US for years on end have yet to grasp the fact that hyperinflation is not really a monetary event as much as a political event.
For all practical purposes, no individual who has their taxes withheld under the Married filing status whose income equals or exceeds $78,800 can expect to see any meaningful increase in their take-home pay with respect to what they might have done under the tax withholding rules of 2010.
Because this distorted system leads to ever-higher costs, the increase in total compensation for lower-income and middle-income people does not translate into an increase in their living standards. Ordinary people feel like they’re on a treadmill.
The U.S. economy is in serious trouble. Unemployment is up, the housing market is down, and the net worth of average Americans had fallen by 6.7% over the past three years. Moreover, there’s no reason to believe the immediate future will be any better than the recent past.
Political analysts are scratching their heads trying to figure out how Mitt Romney won first place in the Iowa caucuses since the state is highly evangelical, he did not campaign heavily there, and his share of support in the polls has remained steadily at just under 25 percent.
My family and I have spent over a week in Iowa. We were expecting the normal cold, snowy weather, and bought boots, wool socks and sweaters the week before Christmas. We packed up soon after Christmas and flew to Des Moines. Four family members, 8 checked bags (double my initial goal -- bulky snow boots and sweaters).
Elections are contests held during a moment in time between candidates who have records stretching back, often far back, into the past. So there is always a tension between the man (or woman) who is running and the moment.
Last semester, I was giving a lecture on the history of the Supreme Court from 1953 to present. Toward the end of the lecture, I asked my students if they could name the current Chief Justice. None were able to do so. There were thirty students in the class. This was in a college classroom, mind you.
Since Barack Obama became president on Jan. 20, 2009, the federal government has not had a budget. It did not have one for the first two years of his presidency, when Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, and it did not have one for 2011, when the Democrats controlled the Senate and the Republicans controlled the House.
If First Solar can’t make it after all the subsidized loans, state incentives, money spent on lobbying and political donations, then someone ought to ask for their money back.
President Obama's decision in 2010 to cut NASA's budget and abandon the Constellation program, established by the Bush administration, which was charged with returning Americans to the moon by 2020 and creating an "extended human presence on the moon," has created a vacuum, which China will attempt to fill.
As the results of the Iowa caucuses dribbled in, Americans got to see how the GOP candidates greeted victory and defeat. Top vote-getter Mitt Romney was gracious toward Rick Santorum, who came in second by eight thin votes, but uninspiring as he pledged to get America back to work.
Earlier this week, a Virginia-based organization came under fire for leading 3rd grade students at Woodbrook Elementary in Charlottesville to write a song titled "We Are Part of the 99."
Back in 2007, when Barack Obama was running for president, a mildly surprising bit of news emerged: He and Dick Cheney were eighth cousins. Today, though, it appears that report was wrong. Judging from Obama's record in office, the two are practically brothers.
An underlying theme of our times that has gone unperceived by the high and mighty in media, government and other locales where the politically alive come to roost is the thumping failure of an increasing number of counter-productive, old progressive reforms.
We estimate that only 53% of the wage and salary earners who have their taxes withheld at the Single filing status will see any significant benefit on their paychecks from the extension of the Social Security payroll tax cut.
Politicians almost certainly won’t adopt the needed reforms if they have the ability to instead confiscate more money from taxpayers – especially if they have a new tax like the VAT, which is a money machine for bigger government.
Happy New Year! Consider Keynes’s last words: “I should have drunk more champagne.” To avert similar rue when our own lives end let us pop an extra cork to celebrate a world undeniably confronting a tsunami of … affordable energy.
Much of the conservative punditocracy has declared that Mitt Romney is the consensus conservative candidate. If he is, he's the least consensual consensus candidate in modern political history -- the man can't break 25 percent with a sledgehammer.
As the political season heats up it occurs to me that, as important as elections are, unless the hearts of men are changed, the heart of a nation cannot awaken. Our nation is experiencing heart failure. It needs an awakening – a spiritual awakening. Desperately.
Few of Ron Paul’s enthusiastic supporters actually expect their curmudgeonly, 77-year-old champion to win election as President of the United States, but they nonetheless plan to give him their votes in Republican primaries in order “to send a message” to the GOP and the nation at large.
An idea walks into a bar. She meets another idea. They get together, and nine months later (or maybe it's nine minutes or seconds? It's not clear how it works with ideas), a new idea is born. A baby idea with the best traits of both parents.
What human motivation gets the most wonderful things done? It's really a silly question, because the answer is so simple. It turns out that it's human greed that gets the most wonderful things done. When I say greed, I am not talking about fraud, theft, dishonesty, lobbying for special privileges from government or other forms of despicable behavior. I'm talking about people trying to get as much as they can for themselves. Let's look at it.
The Occupy Wall Street movement has hit several huge roadblocks. First it was the cold temperatures that sent many home. Next was the long-overdue decision to evacuate them out of public parks by liberal Democrat mayors. But another huge roadblock that's emerging: their enormous hypocrisy on wealth.
Colossal sovereign debts owed by member nations may yet shatter the eurozone. The political effects of a euro-breakup are uncertain, though Greece may be serving as an unfortunate indicator of what a small state can expect in terms of troubling future history if the world's fragile economic circumstances deteriorate.
President Obama and his top campaign officials have mapped out a new 2012 reelection strategy: run against an unpopular Congress.
The year 2011 has drawn to an end, and as I look back, I see several of my predictions that appear pretty sound. President Barack Obama is dead in the water and will be beaten in 2012. I have made that prediction over and again this year and I think it will be borne out.
"I don't think Ron Paul represents the mainstream," says Mitt Romney. Newt Gingrich, another of the Texas congressman's opponents in the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, uses stronger terms, declaring, "Ron Paul's views are totally outside the mainstream of virtually every decent American."
On December 16, 1944, the men of Lieutenant Lyle Bouck’s platoon had their all-night vigil interrupted by a pre-dawn fusillade of artillery rounds from a hundred German guns, their muzzle flashes punctuating the darkness like a volley of fireballs hurled from the pit of hell.
Last week, passing nearly uncelebrated, occurred the 20th anniversary of the formal dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. There is much to celebrate about the December 25, 1991 implosion of a totalitarian, bellicose, imperialistic regime with 45,000 nuclear warheads, captor of dozens of nations, killer of tens of millions, sociopathic in its brutality against the innocent in its quest for world domination.
It used to be said that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach. Saying this was a tongue and cheek means of addressing simpler times and plainer ways. In the same lighthearted spirit the way to a woman’s heart was viewed as far more mysterious, and was often described as a path laced with kindness, understanding, flowers, and a diamond or two.
The company has generated $3.7 billion in free cash flow during the past nine months. And management has returned every penny, repurchasing $2.2 billion worth of stock and dishing out $1.5 billion in dividend payments.
In case you haven't noticed yet, the battle for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination has been a highly volatile, highly unpredictable roller coaster ride. With a different candidate emerging at the top of the polls week after week, it would be folly for any of them to take their chances for granted. It is no exaggeration to suggest that each and every primary election will prove critical in the quest to amass delegates for the General Convention in August.
The most consequential election in our lifetime is still 11 months away, but it’s clear from the Obama administration’s order halting South Carolina’s new photo ID law that the Democrats have already brought a gun to the knife fight.
Nebraska senator Ben Nelson’s recent announcement that he is retiring is further bad news for Democrats. After the disastrous 2010 midterms, the GOP’s pickup in NY-9, GOP gains in November’s local elections, and declining nationwide Democratic voter registration, the operative narrative should be impending electoral disaster for Democrats in November. Yet one critical dynamic absent from the political discussion is the possible up-ticket effect of these and other realities on the upcoming presidential election.
Only two candidates are slated to be on the 2012 Virginia Republican presidential primary ballot. The mainstream media is choosing to frame this predicament as evidence of which GOP candidates are running "serious" campaigns and which are not. But this media-driven narrative largely misses the mark.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's reaction to Moscow protesters perfectly illustrates how the former Soviet spy chief can masterfully leverage classic subversion strategies typically found in espionage to undermine the opposition and even ridicule the concept of democracy.
An eleventh-hour ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. to delay an Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule (CSAPR) scheduled to go into effect January 1, 2012 saved the day for Americans who are doing their best to make ends meet in this struggling economy and cannot afford higher electricity bills.
The GOP presidential race has now reached its 2012 critical mass. With the caucuses and their flock of power brokers gaming to determine the next challenger to President Obama, everything is now at stake for the real contenders that remain viable in the race.
The anti-poverty industry, although populated by idealistic and earnest workers, depends on an intractably large and growing underclass as a precondition for the continued existence of their own jobs.
American capitalism - led by and caricatured as the financial industry centered on Wall Street - is predicated on the notion that the market is driven by fundamentally economic motives. To its admirers, that means its dynamics are dictated by profit motivation. Wall Street's critics call it greed.
She wasn’t always like this. She was raised in a middle class home by educated parents – both of whom are lifelong self-described liberals. They loved her and cared for her. But they also gave her some poor advice, which largely accounts for her downward spiral over the course of the last several years.
If they can't get what they want at the negotiating table, the UAW will now try the economic equivalent of a suicide bombing of the economy. Never mind that they already destroyed the US automakers and their employees.
The United States is at a fork in the road regarding which way we will go as a people. The 2012 election could be the most important in our lifetime, and conservative leaders have reached a consensus on how to channel the energy and concerns of the American people to realize historic change this year.
Let us also stipulate that Paul is not going to be the Republican nominee for president. If he wins Iowa, as polls now indicate is possible, he may well run second in New Hampshire, further deflating Newt and guaranteeing a long, drawn-out primary process.
Put simply, the Fannie and Freddie bailout is $169 billion that could have been used productively by the private sector to create jobs and/or wealth. Instead it has gone to continue a corrupt and broken system.
There are multiple ways to skin this cat, but I decided to put together a comparison table based solely on the content found on each candidate’s campaign website. I did not consider past statements or votes, the televised debates, or outside sources (unless linked to by a campaign’s website).
After turning himself into a veritable caricature of the 1 percent he derides at every opportunity, President Obama has suddenly discovered his true calling: champion of the middle class.
The competitive juices must be flowing, because there’s a new example of government stupidity from the United Kingdom that is hard to believe. As reported by the Register, you now need an ID to buy teaspoons.
Keynesian believer Jon Corzine thought that he could “hypothecate” funds and increase leverage over and over without any costs. Instead, what he learned is that there is a cost to carrying too much leverage and the lessons he should have mastered while he was in MBA school really do mean something.
According the latest numbers from Public Policy Polling, Rep. Ron Paul is still edging out former Governor Mitt Romney for the lead in the polls leading up to the Iowa Caucus on January 3rd. According to the final Des Moines Register poll, Romney has the lead, with Paul in second and a surging former Senator Rick Santorum in third.
Okay. It is now officially crunch-time for conservative voters. Time for them to grow-up, stand on principle, admit there is not a perfect candidate, cast aside the pretenders, flip-floppers, and flakes, and unite behind the most genuine traditional values espousing candidate in the field. That being Texas governor Rick Perry.
Newt Gingrich's presidential ambitions may be heading for the exits -- opinion polls suggest that the former House speaker's hour has come and gone -- but his critique of judicial supremacy deserves to taken seriously no matter what happens in Iowa or New Hampshire.
When Iowa Republicans caucus with their neighbors on Tuesday night, they will have scrutinized the presidential candidates more closely than ever before.
For every high-profile celebrity wedding that makes headlines, it seems we are treated to at least two high-profile celebrity divorces. I am praying for people like Kim Kardashian whose marriage problems seem to suggest that there should be a public exam for marriage prior to the issuance of a license.
Election year has finally arrived, well after the beginning of a turbulent and unpredictable elections season, and voting begins on Tuesday in the Iowa Republicans caucuses.
In lieu of waterboarding while detained, the administration will make Geithner go through “green job” retraining. Subsequently the Supreme Court will find “green job” retraining unconstitutional as cruel and unusual in a landmark case styled Trump vs. The United States.
President Obama may best be known as the president who took kicking the can down the road to new, unimagined levels. Obama has demonstrated an unusual ability to delay decision-making, to obfuscate issues, to divert attention from matters of critical importance, and his preference to take half measures when pushed to the brink is now well known. Obama is the Grand Master of Kicking the Can Down the Road.
The debates are over and the task of nominating someone to replace our current President now becomes a reality. The need to choose wisely could not be more important. The full impact of Obamacare and Dodd-Frank was deliberately deferred until after the 2012 election to disguise their disastrous effects. These policies will need to be dramatically altered in 2013. After months of campaigning, it’s clear that Mitt Romney is the best choice to do this and to be the nominee of the Republican Party.
I know that every candidate has passionate supporters, but it’s obvious that Ron Paul’s followers are especially passionate to the point of being downright touchy whenever he is strongly criticized. Or am I being unfair in my assessment?
When I look at investing, I look at it from the point of view of getting my portfolio to grow from stock prices going up and earning dividends coming in. Additionally, I am always looking to minimize risk to the lowest possible level commensurate with growth.
I won’t try to predict the economy. As I already have explained, economists are lousy short-term forecasters. If we actually knew what was going to happen, we’d be rich.
Gaming the system is rampant among a certain sector in America. Find an upper crust neighborhood in the US and you will find families that are trying to artificially create an edge. They have the disposable income or inherited trust assets to do it. The game: Extended Time.
Forget the polls. Forget the talking heads. And in three days, you can forget all about Iowa. The quadrennial exercise of pretending the “first-in-the-nation” Iowa caucus determines much of anything beyond weeding also-rans from the field of potential presidential hopefuls ends this Tuesday.
The Democrat Party used to be about the little guy. Now it’s just a party of great, big guys trying to make sure everyone stays little. And they are all about the money that they want to make. Just look at who Obama surrounds himself with. Soros, Buffett, Pelosi, Kaiser, Corzine. Ask yourself how Harry Reid came to be a multi-millionaire on a civil servant’s salary.
Which would you prefer at the White House -Mormon theology, or Marxist liberation theology?
You have been told for the better part of year now who it is that you must choose. Beltway insiders have insisted upon thrusting establishment candidates upon you. Libertarian anarchists have swopped into your state shouting that you must support Ron Paul, while toking on the marijuana they soon believe President Paul will make legal.
Paul Krugman has told us that awful stories about government-run healthcare in Britain “are false.” I guess this means that the media must be dominated by conservative liars, since we keep getting reports about substandard care and needless deaths.
With the advent of the financial crisis, the election of Obama, and the crony capitalism that ensued I couldn’t take it anymore. Bush put us on the wrong economic path, and Obama only accelerated it. My dog has created more shovel ready projects than Obama.
The Keystone XL pipeline, and the tens of thousands of true shovel-ready jobs it can provide, isn’t just about moving oil from Canada to the US, it will allow for safer transport of new oil discoveries like North Dakota’s Bakken Field that produces more than 400,000 barrels per day.
Politicians and bankers moved mountains to make this spending possible. Endless unemployment benefits, payroll tax holidays, and the lowest mortgage rates in history have allowed Americans to keep spending even as their economic outlook deteriorates.
The US will not avoid a recession in 2012. Retail spending ran its course with the tail-off into Christmas of 2011. The Republican Congress has little incentive for fiscal stimulus measures in 2012 so do not expect any. However, with housing already limping along the bottom in terms of construction and investment (not prices), a US GDP decline will not be severe.
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