Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Obama Again Ignorant on Automobile History

Wonder why there weren't more people catching this. During yesterday's address to Congress, Obama said:
"And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it."

Was he talking about Germany by any chance? Because they kind of invented the automobile. Obama could read about it in the Library of Congress.

On Bailing Out Industries

I got sick of how many times I heard that we HAVE TO bailout the banking industry, or the auto industry. Why not let the free market bailout those companies that are worthy of surviving, and let the other ones fail inside the industry.

Anybody remember the previous recession, in 2000-2001? The same way as this recession is driven by banks, that recession was driven by the tech industry. A lot of my friends remember that. Giants like Microsoft or AT&T were laying off tens of thousand of people. Companies were closing every day. Thousands of emerging businesses crashed. People's 401k's were worth nothing. Nasdaq lost more than 60% of its values and shares that were trading at $100+ were suddenly worth pennies. It was said that it's the end of the tech boom. That all the Internet innovation imploded and it will take a long time to resume the advancement. Fiber networks had been a waste and a failure.

What did the Government do to help specifically the tech industry? Nothing!! What did the banks do? They canceled financing, closed credit lines, stopped investment and let even more thousands of companies go out of business. So don't tell me know that it's my duty to save the banks and the car industry. The car people and the bank people didn't give us a dime (on the contrary) 8 years ago, so I don't see why I owe them ANYTHING.

So what happened in the aftermath of the last recession? Companies that took too many risks during the bubble went bankrupt. Efficient companies came back even stronger. They merged and consolidated and created new giants which are practically unaffected by the current crisis. Did the failure of some (famous) companies mean the end of the world? No way.

This is exactly what we should do now. Let bad banks fail, and smart ones will survive. There will be no end to credit, because banks don't make money, and they don't lend their own money. They taken someone's money and lend it to someone else. If some banks can't do this profitably, others will do. Some will fail, the rest will consolidate and continue stronger.

And I don't want to give banks or car companies any more than they gave my industry in 2001.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rick Santelli Incites Chicago Tea Party, Traders Revolt

This morning on CNBC, Rick Santelli ranted against Obama's irresponsible foreclosure plan. The traders around him are cheering his remarks and booing Obama. Santelli said this could turn into the Chicago Tea Party.

What's In for NJ in the "Stimulus" Bill

StimulusWatch has done a great job at categorizing or sorting the project in the porkulus bill. I'm looking at the $2,685,229,405 allocated to NJ, and I'm wondering, which exactly of these projects will stimulate our state??

First of all, here are the cities that will receive porkulus money: Clifton, East Orange, Edison, Elizabeth, Hamilton, Irvington, Newark, Orange, Piscataway, Trenton. These are all the cities mentioned in the bill. I'm not comment anything on this... or on the fact that none of them is in my area, but I wonder if anyone can find any patterns here.

Let's see just a few of them:

Improvements to various streets City-wide.Clifton$3,585,000
Civic/Recreation CenterEast Orange$2,300,000
DPW GarageEast Orange$1,750,000
Senior CenterEast Orange$1,200,000
Replace old inefficient motor fleet with hybrid vehiclesEdison$5,000,000
new senior/community centerEdison$8,000,000
improvements to historic thomas a. edison museum and towerEdison$10,000,000
Upgrade Traffic LightsElizabeth$5,000,000
Oakwood Plaza SewersElizabeth$2,000,000
New Animal ShelterElizabeth$5,000,000
New Outdoor Two Inground Swimming PoolsElizabeth$4,000,000
Midtown StreetscapeElizabeth$3,000,000
Public Marina Floating DocksElizabeth$500,000
Alcohol Beverage Control MonitoringElizabeth$600,000
New trailblazing system through the Irvington Center and along major principal arterialsIrvington$800,000
Multifamily Assisted Housing Capital Improvement ProgramNewark$40,000,000
West Ward Abandoned Property Public Facilities- Street, traffic calming, sidewalk improvements planned and pending design.Newark$2,300,000
Grace West Firehouse Historic Preservation Project- Restoration and preservation of abandoned turn-of the century fire house.Newark$1,500,000
Transit Project: Newark Elizabeth Light RailNewark$694,000,000
Townhouse Devt's - Roof ReplacementsNewark$20,600,000
Main Street Signage including Gateways, Way Finding DisplaysOrange$250,000,000
Streetscape for Central Ave Scotland Road ThoroughfaresOrange$5,000,000
Public Parking Lots Resurfacing, Beautification for Main StreetOrange$3,000,000
Community CenterPiscataway$16,000,000
Museum of Contemporary ScienceTrenton$30,000,000
Trenton YMCA Project - partial funding to assist in the construction of a $20 million YMCA facilityTrenton$6,000,000
Port of Trenton Museum - reconstruction of historic building into a maritime museumTrenton$4,000,000
Eagle Tavern Development - interior improvements/upgrades of landmark building for future use as a restaurant or office buildingTrenton$2,000,000

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WSJ on the National Debt

John Steele Gordon wrote a very good piece in yesterday's Wall Street Journal: A Short History of the National Debt. While he talks a lot about the national debt in the early 1800's, I want to point out a few remarks on the current situation:
In January, the Congressional Budget Office projected that the deficit this year would be $1.2 trillion before the stimulus package. That's more than twice the deficit in fiscal 2008, more than the entire GDP of all but a handful of countries, and more, in nominal dollars, than the entire United States national debt in 1982.

But while the sum is huge, it is not in and of itself threatening to the solvency of the Republic. At 8.3% of GDP, this year's deficit is by far the largest since World War II. But the total debt is, as of now, still under 75% of GDP. It was almost 130% following World War II. (Japan's national debt right now is not far from 180% of that nation's GDP.)

It has been widely noted that 2009 will have the first "trillion-dollar deficit" in American history. Actually it's the second. In fiscal 2008, the national debt increased from $9 trillion to slightly over $10 trillion. Yet the budget deficit in the last fiscal year was officially reported as being $455 billion. How could the national debt have increased by considerably more than twice the "deficit"? Simple. Just call the money borrowed from the Social Security trust fund an "intragovernmental transfer" and exclude it from the calculation of the deficit. Corporate managers have gone to jail for less book cooking than that.

Chris Christie Gets the Monmouth GOP Endorsement for the Primary

Art Gallagher reports that Monmouth County GOP Chairman Joe Oxley is awarding the party line to former U.S Attorney Christopher Christie in New Jersey Republican primary for Governor.
Oxley said, "the last three county conventions did not even have a quorum and resulted in our loss of control of our county government. I have gathered the senior leaders of our party and will rely on this group for advise. This is the system I am comfortable with."

Oxley announced that he is awarding the party line to all incumbent Assembly members in the county, declaring that he is very comfortable with the jobs they are doing and with their electability.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Hypocrisy in the Age of Obama

Only 2 and a half weeks in office, Obama has already proved what a fraud and lying hypocrite he is. As Charles Krauthammer shows in the exceptional article, Crisis, Catastrophe: Are These Words of Hope?, his words 2 or 3 weeks ago don't matter at all today.

When he was elected he proclaimed that "we have chosen hope over fear". 2 weeks later he said that "a failure to act, and act now, will turn crisis into a catastrophe". So it's hope over fear, until you need fear to pass an abominable bill.

Also he promised to get lobbyists out of the administration. Not even a week later, he started filling his cabinet positions with former lobbyists. You'd think tax cheats are the biggest group in his cabinet, but it's not true. Lobbyists are.

As for Tom Daschle, the reason he withdrew and Tim Geithner didn't is because he didn't want his income to be investigated. The money he didn't pay taxes on, about $1 million/year, was from a Washington law firm. But he is neither a lawyer, not a register lobbyists. As Mr. Krauthammer says, "you don't get paid this kind of money to instruct partners on the Senate markup process. You get it for picking up the phone and peddling influence."

Republicans in Control of the Monmouth Freeholder Board?

According to Wally Edge, Republicans appear to be still in control of the Monmouth Board of Freeholders. Wally says that despite a 3-2 Democratic majority, "a rivalry between the other two Democratic Freeholders appears to have returned control of county government to the Republicans. Freeholder Director Barbara McMorrow does not get along with Freeholder John D'Amico; as a result, McMorrow has formed an alliance with Republicans Robert Clifton and Lillian Burry that has allowed the GOP to keep many of their people in place, even though they are in the minority. "

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Financial Times: Barrack Obama's Presidency Has Already Failed

Financial Times is asking today whether Barrack Obama's presidency has already failed. May be too early to tell, but it's something we all knew it will probably happen.

The Stimulus Bill Puts Your Health at Risk

Anybody who reads the Stimulus bill in detail should be really concerned about his or her health. Betsy McCaughey from Bloomberg read it and has a good summary. Here are a few of her points:

One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. Hospitals and doctors that are not “meaningful users” of the new system will face penalties. “Meaningful user” isn’t defined in the bill.

The stimulus bill calls [for a] Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. [Tom Daschle] praises Europeans for being more willing to accept “hopeless diagnoses” and “forgo experimental treatments,” and he chastises Americans for expecting too much from the health-care system. Seniors should be more accepting of the conditions that come with age instead of treating them. That means the elderly will bear the brunt.

The Federal Council is modeled after a U.K. board discussed in Daschle’s book. This board approves or rejects treatments using a formula that divides the cost of the treatment by the number of years the patient is likely to benefit. Treatments for younger patients are more often approved than treatments for diseases that affect the elderly, such as osteoporosis. In 2006, a U.K. health board decreed that elderly patients with macular degeneration had to wait until they went blind in one eye before they could get a costly new drug to save the other eye.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Media Pundits, You Have to Adjust Jobless Claims to the Size of the Workforce!

I think the main economic headlines you see today are about how we have the biggest unemployment claims since 1974. That can only come from clueless media pundits, because economists know this is no record and in fact Wall Street went up after the job report.

You have to know that the workforce today is about 60% larger than in 1974, and to match those job losses we'd need around a million jobless claims. Here is a graph of the adjusted jobless claims, courtesy of Scott Grannis. Note that claims are about the same as during the 1990 recession.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Chris Christie Promises to Get Rid of COAH

During his campaign kick-off in Monmouth County, which I attended, Chris Christie promised to get rid of Corzine's abominable COAH. He said:

If I am governor, I will gut COAH and I will put an end to it.

This remark draw the most enthusiastic applause and cheering of the day.

Here are a few of my photos from the event.

With former US Attorney, currently gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie:

With fellow Middletowner, Sen. John Kyrillos:

With Middletown's own Pam Brightbill, mayor of the best run municipality in New Jersey:

With Joe Oxley, former County Sheriff, currently the Chairman of the Monmouth GOP:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Nancy Pelosi: 500 Million Americans Will Lose Their Jobs Every Month

Nancy Pelosi told reporters that if we don't approve her 1 trillion dollars spending program, 500 million Americans will lose their job EVERY MONTH. Now I understand we're really in trouble.

Shouldn't Obama Cap his Administration's Salaries?

So Obama just announced that according to socialist principles, his Government will decide how much money some private companies can pay their executives. He's talking about company receiving bailout money.

But shouldn't he also limit the compensation of the primary beneficiaries of the bailout, which is his administration and the Congress, who are being bailed out by the taxpayers??

Christie Leads Corzine 44%-38%, Corzine Approval at 41%

Republican Christopher Christie leads Democratic Gov. Jon Corzine by six percentage points, 44%-38%, in the race for Governor, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released early this morning.

Corzine's approval ratings have dropped to an upside-down 41%-50%, and his favorable are upside-down at 41%-49%.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Disgusted by the Unpatriotic Party of Tax Cheats

Remember when in the final months of the campaign Joe Biden said that paying taxes is patriotic? Quite ironic when he ran as VP from a totally unpatriotic Democratic party.

Really? They actually can't find someone who doesn't cheat on taxes? First you have Tim Geithner, tax cheat who'll oversee among others the IRS. Then you have Tom Daschle, tax cheat who'll run the HHS. You also have former future White House "performance czar" Nancy Killefer who, as expected, is a tax cheat. And we've had Charlie Rangel for a while, a tax cheater who's the chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means.

And Obama and his administration are trying to convince we really can't find anyone better than these criminals. Yes, criminals, because regular people can be indicted in a federal court for refusing to pay taxes. These tax evaders can make it into the cabinet, or withdraw from public view, but this shouldn't shield them from prosecution, don't you think? Or otherwise it's a strong precedent, that nobody should actually have to pay taxes until they're caught.

Oh and by the way, according to Joe Biden, Geithner, Daschle, Rangel, Killefer and many others are unpatriotic.