Archive for the ‘The Economy’ Category

GUEST POST: President Obama, please put JOBS under the Christmas tree this year

December 15, 2011 Leave a comment
What follows is a guest post from Melody Himel Scalley, a talk radio host from the Eastern Shore. Although I have some concerns about just how we should go about extracting the multitude of resources (both oil and alternative sources) that the Old Dominion rests upon, I do believe that a great deal of opportunity lies there and that a true comprehensive energy plan MUST be part of the dialogue on any discussion regarding the economy. So with no further ado:
President Obama, please put JOBS under the Christmas tree this year
by Melody Himel Scalley

Unless you have a high paying government job, and even if you do, you are probably well aware that the majority of American’s are deeply impacted by the ongoing devastation to the United States economy since President Obama took office.

While overall the unemployment rate hovers close to 9%, minority unemployment remains consistently near 15% and these figures show no indication of significant improvement in the near future.  Meanwhile, the current administrations lack of a positive Energy Policy is not only hamstringing companies that could add much needed AMERICAN JOBS to the economy; it is also compromising our long term national security and unnecessarily delaying our economic recovery.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) recently released a report that shows the U.S. is on track to actually export a net increase in gasoline, diesel and other oil-based fuels in 2011 for the first time in 62 years.  This is due to the fact that while our economy is stalled, the economy in emerging markets is booming.  However these record exports are not forecast to continue.  EIA is also predicting domestic oil production will fall 240,000 barrels/day through 2012, mainly due to the continued Gulf “energy freeze” imposed by our current administration.

The United States has the highest standards for environmental protection in the free world.  Other countries do not endeavor to protect the environment for future generations as we do, yet their lack of concern for the environment will affect all of us.  We have the desire to be good stewards of the environment as well as the technology to extract our resources in a safe and efficient manner.  The U.S. also has the most stringent work place safety requirements of any nation.  We have the energy resources right here within our borders.    If President Obama wanted to put American’s back to work he has an entire industry waiting for the green light to help him turn around our economy.

I grew up in New Orleans and my Dad worked on the oil rigs.  I can attest first hand that oil industry jobs keep food on the table, the lights on and the rent paid.  If we simply used the God-given resources we have in our great Nation, many American’s would not be needlessly losing their homes and struggling to keep their lights on and their families fed.

We still import over half of our oil and petroleum products.  Instead of selling our debt to China we should be selling our OIL to China and reducing our national debt.  We do not lack the resources in America.  What we lack is leadership and the political will to demand our administration put forward an energy policy that is beneficial to Americans and the United States.  Let’s start the New Year on the right path.  It is time to resume drilling within American borders and stop exporting American jobs.

Melody Himel Scalley is an entrepreneur and talk-radio show host in Virginia.

The First Serious Candidate of 2012?

April 26, 2011 1 comment

Unpublished update: I wrote part of this article on Friday, with Ron Paul still “thinking.” Then boom, Monday he gets in. So some of this should be taken with that in mind–I’ve edited it since, but in my mind Paul is just “getting” in, so I haven’t completely made the transition. So I must say something I would have never said in 2008: Paulistas, I apologize.

It’s official: Gary Johnson will be seeking the Republican nomination in the 2012 primaries.

Gary who?

Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico. It’s alright if you don’t remember him–his term ended in 2003. You may recall, though, a governor of a smaller western state being one of the highest ranking Republicans (and indeed, official of either party) to call for the decriminalization of marijuana. Yeah, that was him. So why am I getting excited over a candidate that would seem, at face value, to be little more than a historical footnote?

Well, for starters, I see Johnson as the first serious candidate to officially enter the race. Now now, I know what you’re thinking–don’t Tpaw, Mittens, even the Donald have a better chance at this point? Perhaps, but as you’ll hear me belabor over the next six months while I continue to write on the ebb and flow of the race, because, hey, even an unpaid blogger seeks good copy, things change. Nobody could beat George H.W. Bush in the early part of 1991. Nobody.

But when I say serious, I don’t mean an attitude of a candidate that’s “in it to win it.” What I mean is a candidate that is serious about their ideology and has put forth or presents real solutions to the problems facing America. Newt may have once stood on the edge of being that candidate, but nowadays, he’s more “anti” than anything else. Romney, well, we’ve already discussed Romney’s issues–in that there are really few he hasn’t flipped or flopped on. Huckabee, too, is largely a Tea Party cheerleader these days. And although I’ll admit that I’m anxiously awaiting Pawlenty’s alternative budget, right now, he seems more focused on shaking the perception that he’s just too dull to take on the One.

Read more…

Coburn unveils Stimulus Silliness

December 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Via the Cato Institute we learn that the Senate’s often provocative fiscal watchdogs, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Senator John McCain of Arizona, have released a new 100 page report detailing some of the sadly goofy uses of stimulus funds. Some of the lowlights of your (and your children’s, and their children’s) tax dollars at play work include:

  • “Almost Empty” Mall Awarded Energy Grant ($5 million)
  • Water Pipeline to a Money-Losing Golf Course ($2.2 million)
  • Grant to Fund Search for Fossils . . . In Argentina ($1.57 million)
  • Bobber the Water Safety Dog Costumes ($21,116)
  • Developing the Next Generation of Football Gloves ($150,000)

And so much more.

The always hilarious Norm points out that some of the projects lead to this being a “stimulus” in more ways than one:

The National Institute of Health (NIH) is using stimulus funds to pay for a year-long $219,000 study to follow female college students for a year to determine whether young women are more likely to ― “hookup” — the college equivalent of casual sex — after drinking alcohol. Researchers will recruit 500 female students prior to their first year of college and contact them monthly over the course of a year to document sexual hookups, noting when there is alcohol involved. It is part of the $7.4 billion the NIH received in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support ―scientific research.

Maybe with all that TARP money rolling back in U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Dem cronies can set up yet another package to help me get a date….

Our Man Mitch?

December 3, 2009 1 comment

For someone who recently has begun making sport out of saying no to a possible presidential bid, Mitch Daniels sure is making a heck of alot of sense whenever he does speak (though some may argue that commonsense’s natural momentum is away from those seeking higher office). From the Washington Times (h/t Brothers Judd), Daniels of fiscal conservatism as a moral issue:

“The essence of our nation is the protection of individual liberties,” he says in an interview with The Washington Times. “That means, for example, never take a dollar from a free citizen through the coercion of taxation without a very legitimate purpose.

“And then we have a solemn duty to spend that dollar as carefully as possible, because when we took it we diminished that person’s freedom. Otherwise, that citizen could spend that dollar on something he or she chose. This is an obligation of everybody who serves in government.”

On the issues any 2012 contender will need to address:

For one thing, “a colossally unsustainable [national] debt load — an unfair, even immoral burden we’ve deposited on our young people,” he says.

“The threat of Islamic fundamentalism coupled with its ability to take advantage of modern technology,” for another.

And then there’s “our reliance on energy purchased from people who use the money in ways contrary to American interests.”

And perhaps most refreshing–modesty and austerity (a topic he gave an entire commencement address on this past spring):

A Princeton graduate from a modest family background, he conveys in conversation the image of the quiet-spoken libertarian-populist for whom braggadocio is simply unthinkable. Getting him to talk about his accomplishments isn’t easy. “I want to look to the future,” he says.


Ask him to crow about his gubernatorial accomplishments, and he flatly refuses. Press him by asking if there’s anything he’s proud of having done in office, and you learn he is “pleased” he took a state that was in bankruptcy when he came into office “and put it in the best fiscal position ever,” though he acknowledges that holding on to that status is tough in this economy.

The article goes on to cite some of his accomplishments as Governor. He has been able to govern the way Bob McDonnell promises to–conservative principles guiding real results. Through initatives such as privatizing the state’s toll roads and keeping an eye on state payroll (actually managing to REDUCE it, of all things), Daniels has been able to cut property taxes by a third statewide and affect the largest tax cut in state history.

Perhaps his biggest watchword? Accountability. The state’s DMV went from being a joke to winning an award for the best in the nation. The average time spent in an office is SEVEN MINUTES. How was this accomplished? By rewarding good employees and punishing or removing bad ones. Sorta sounds like a business, no? Yet Mitch Daniels seems to be the only one with the courage to do it.

I encourage any conscientious conservative serious about cutting government size and scope to look into this man.  I will admit he has one mark against him–in his first year in office he proposed a 1% income tax hike. But when the state legislature balked, he simply took out his scissors and not only made state government work with less but work better. His humility may prevent him from talking about higher office, but one things for sure: I’d rather spend the next two years convincing him to run only to see him decline than to jump on the Cheney 2012 bandwagon.

Virginia to Yoga Instuctors: Get regulated or get going

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

I wrote yesterday about how the outgoing Governor and the General Assembly were less than friendly to business when they eliminated resturants right to choose whether they would be smoking or not. Now, via Norm at TQ, we discover they have a new target: yoga instructors.

I can certainly understand the state regulating certain instructors of certain skills–doctors, lawyers, barbers, and a few other where health, safety and comptence are paramount. But they way the law is written would seem to indicate that guitar and piano instructors should be regulated too. After all, isn’t teaching someone how to make music teaching them a way to make money as well?

Healthcare Providers on the Free Market

December 3, 2009 Leave a comment

The always informative Reason magazine has this great video up about how the free market may hold our best hope for real healthcare reform. Inspiration comes from two unlikely but logical places: Best Buy and a Lasik provider’s office.

H/T Below the Beltway

One Scary Map

November 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Take a look at this fascinating and frightening map showing how deep the unemployment hole has gotten nationwide (H/T Hit and Run).

Unemployment has gone from 5.8% to 8.5% nationwide since President Obama took office. Guess when the colors in Virginia’s counties start getting darkest? Seems to me its right around Janurary 2009–around the same time that Governor Kaine started his summer job as DNC Chair. Thank heavens he’ll soon be able to go full time.

The Kaine Hole Keeps Getting Deeper

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Governor-elect Bob McDonnell sat down today with Lt. Governor Bill Bolling and outgoing Governor Tim Kaine (oh, how sweet it is!) to hear the budget projections for the coming year. And the news is not good. From the AP:

Gov. Timothy Kaine on Monday met with his Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates to hear state fiscal projections, the final such meeting of his four-year term. Kaine then will likely use the most conservative revenue figures — updated at the end of the month to include November tax receipts — as the foundation of his proposed biennial budget, which he will present to the General Assembly’s money committees Dec. 18.

After the meeting, Kaine and other legislators didn’t disclose figures but said the estimates the council heard Monday largely squared with information presented last week to General Assembly budget writers. Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker projected that Virginia needs to cut at least $250 million more from its budget, and face an anticipated shortfall of nearly $3 billion for the next two years.

His Excellency Kaine’s first path to look to? Why, more tax hikes, of course.

Kaine said Monday he wouldn’t rule out proposing tax increases to help preserve core services, Virginia’s AAA bond rating and its competitiveness with other states — but the General Assembly would ultimately decide.

DJ notes that maybe somebody missed the memo delivered to Democrats on November 3rd:

After all, it’s not as if the last fellow to call for a tax increase went down to the greatest landslide defeat in almost fifty years . . .

The always practical Norm lays out the challenges facing those who were selected on November 3rd to lead our great Commonwealth:

This will be a test of several things…

1. Bob McDonnell’s “read my lips” pledge not to increase taxes;

2. The General Assembly’s appetite for higher taxes, considering they have cut (to and through the bone) every hint of unnecessary spending;

3. The Republican House’s newly-elected members, many of whom have never faced a withering media drumbeat for greater taxes.

One longtime legislative hand is already sensing that this mess may lead to extra innings, particularly thanks to the coming health care bills out of DC. From NBC29:

At least one lawmaker says he might have a solution. 19th District Independent Delegate Lacey Putney, the committee’s chairman, suggested “The possibility of coming into session, maybe recessing, let the members go back, except the money committees working on the budget, in order to give us time to see what they’re going to do in Washington.”

Putney said discussions about that plan were ongoing.

A delay could give budget writers a chance to understand the financial obligations required by federal health care bills. But it would also drag out the legislative session, a scenario that could cause problems of its own.

Thank heavens that we elected a man of principle to the Governor’s Mansion. Having worked for the man, I have no doubt that McDonnell will live up to his promises. Indeed, he was never part of the “country club”/good government set that dominated the Caucuses for too long. Still, its going to be a bumpy ride, and we the people need to keep up the pressure on our legislators in Richmond.

The evidence is really piling up….

November 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Limited government has become the cause du jour for the right these days, after over a decade of social issues such as gay marriage and abortion driving many a campaign and cause. Certainly these issues maintain relatively high profiles (abortion has been inextricably woven into the health care debate, and gun control is still at the tip of the tounges of those warning against increased government intrusion), but these days halting government expansion is the biggest concern for conservatives. It makes sense. Many conservatives are left bemoaning the fact that too little too late was said about these issues during the Bush years, and the legendary defecits that were piled up during that era are now only being heightened by Democrats compulsion to be all things to all people.

Indeed, the much touted government intervention into our economy seems to have done little in the short term to create jobs. Indeed, government intervention in the area of unemployment is actually HURTING employers. (H/T Hot Air) From the Associated Press:

• Chuck Ferrar, who owns a liquor store in Annapolis, Md., expects to pay $9,000 in unemployment taxes next year, up from $3,000 this year. Health care costs for his employees will rise by $8,000, or 17.5 percent. “When you start adding this up, it turns into real money,” he said. “If I lose an employee through attrition, I will not replace him. You can’t afford to do it.”
• Sam Schlosser, owner of Plymouth Foundry Inc. in Plymouth, Ind., said his unemployment tax bill could double next year. Revenue at the family-owned company, which makes iron castings for machine parts, has fallen about 50 percent, he said. In case of higher taxes, his company may have to consider layoffs, he said.

Why is this the case? Because states are required to change their rates each year in accordance with the rate of unemployment. But because the economy is so deep to begin with many states are running out of cash. The real rub?:

But the severity of this recession has bankrupted many states’ trust funds and forced them to borrow from the federal government. States eventually must pay back the loans. Otherwise, the federal government can raise taxes on their businesses.

So let me get this straight–a government program that is designed to help the jobless actually puts them in a worse position by making it harder for businesses to hire? Typical interventionist logic.

The good news, though: there’s evidence that fiscal conservatism does and has worked. A new working paper from two Harvard economists indicate that not only do tax cuts make it more likely for an economy to rebound, but spending adjustments both help the overall fiscal picture AND are less likely to spur a recession. The money quote, via The Corner:

“Fiscal stimuli based upon tax cuts are more likely to increase growth than those based upon spending increases. As for fiscal adjustments those based upon spending cuts and no tax increases are more likely to reduce deficits and debt over GDP ratios than those based upon tax increases. In addition, adjustments on the spending side rather than on the tax side are less likely to create recessions.”

You can check out the paper in its entirety here. Despite this academic exercise, I’m afraid that the American people are destined to learn the results of statism through hard won experience this go around.

Warming hysteria cooling off

November 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Just when global warming hysteria has reached new heights in its “change or die” propoganda:

There’s news that not only may this global drama not be playing out as some “scientists” would hope (via der Spiegel online):

The planet’s temperature curve rose sharply for almost 30 years, as global temperatures increased by an average of 0.7 degrees Celsius (1.25 degrees Fahrenheit) from the 1970s to the late 1990s. “At present, however, the warming is taking a break,” confirms meteorologist Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences in the northern German city of Kiel. Latif, one of Germany’s best-known climatologists, says that the temperature curve has reached a plateau. “There can be no argument about that,” he says. “We have to face that fact.”


ust a few weeks ago, Britain’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research added more fuel to the fire with its latest calculations of global average temperatures. According to the Hadley figures, the world grew warmer by 0.07 degrees Celsius from 1999 to 2008 and not by the 0.2 degrees Celsius assumed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And, say the British experts, when their figure is adjusted for two naturally occurring climate phenomena, El Niño and La Niña, the resulting temperature trend is reduced to 0.0 degrees Celsius — in other words, a standstill.

But that there may have been some crass manipulation going on for political gain all along. From the Right-Wing Liberal comes word that an anonymous hacker has uncovered some less than flattering emails by some of global warming’s top thinkers and advocates:

Among the things exposed by the hacker is “Mike’s Nature Trick” – essentially garfting different data sets together in order to “hide the decline” that would have blown a gaping hole in the global-warming theory (Climate Audit, it will take a while for the link, but it’s worth it!).

There are also emails about trying to get skeptical colleagues fired (Air Vent), changing the rules of reviewing papers to suppress different points of view (Air Vent again), and even cheering the death of a skeptic (What’s Up with That).

Read more…