Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Sunday 'Report;' 06/17/2012

What The National Pamphleteers Don't Report:
Daily Presidential Tracking Poll
Staff Reports,
June 16, 2012

31% Say The Economy is Getting Better
50% Trust Romney More Than Obama To Handle Economy
40% Think Holder Should Resign As Attorney General
Wisconsin Senate: Thompson (R) 52%, Baldwin (D) 36%
Michigan: Obama 50%, Romney 42%
    The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Saturday shows Mitt Romney attracting 47% of the vote, while President Obama earns 45%. Four percent (4%) prefer some other candidate, and another four percent (4%) are undecided.
Romney now leads in North Carolina and Missouri. Obama leads in Pennsylvania and Michigan. The race is a toss-up in Wisconsin, Iowa, Ohio, Virginia, Florida and Colorado.
The report showing the collapse of household net worth isn’t news to most Americans. They have experienced [....]

'Dark Angel' and the Mexican Meth Connection
by Ben West,
June 14, 2012

    In a U.S. operation dubbed "Dark Angel," local and federal law enforcement officers on May 30 arrested 20 individuals involved in methamphetamine trafficking across five states. Authorities confirmed that the leader of the trafficking network, Armando Mendoza-Haro, has links to Mexico, where the methamphetamine was likely produced. The group appears to have used legitimate companies to transport methamphetamine from California to the Denver area and elsewhere in the Western and Midwestern United States. The group then sent the profits back to California, where the cash was wired to banks in China and the Cayman Islands.
    Mexico's methamphetamine trade seems to be booming these days. Earlier in 2012, the Mexican military made the largest single seizure of methamphetamine ever (15 tons, worth around $1 billion) outside Guadalajara. As the United States [....]

Election 2012: Wisconsin Senate

Staff Report,
June 14, 2012
    Former Governor Tommy Thompson now earns his highest level of support yet against Democratic Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin’s U.S. Senate race, while the other Republican hopefuls remain nearly tied with her.  A new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Wisconsin finds Thompson with 52% support to Baldwin’s [....]

A Housing Market Without Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: Effect on the Homeownership Rate
by Nahid Anaraki,
June 11, 2012
    For decades, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac followed securitization policies that enabled Americans to make a low down payment when they purchased a house. This study analyzes the impact of affordable lending efforts by government-sponsored entities (GSEs) on national homeownership rate, by race, ethnic group, and census region. The results of this study suggest that despite GSE interventions in the housing market, the homeownership gap among races and ethnic groups persists because economic fundamentals and sociodemographic features, not interest rates, drive homeownership rates.
    This paper uses three series of regression models to gain insight into the determinants of home ownership rates. The first regression model analyzes aggregate national-level data for 1980–2010. The second regression model analyzes factors that influence the homeownership rate by race/ethnic group for 1994–2010, where historical data are available. Finally, the third model analyzes homeownership by census region for 1992–2010, where regional homeownership data are available. The results of ordinary least square (OLS) models with robustness tests indicate: [....]

How Whistle Blowers Flipped Boehner On Holder

Staff Report,
June 16, 2012

    Just days ago,House Speaker John Boehner shocked the conservative world by at last granting his long-awaited approval for next week’s contempt of Congress vote against Attorney General Eric Holder. But it wasn’t the thought of doing what’s right for the family of Brian Terry, Jaime Zapata or others killed in the Regime’s Fast and Furious scheme that prompted the Speaker’s decision. After all, Mr. Boehner is hardly one to risk a loss of political advantage—or more importantly,anger the national media—just because a few hundred people have been killed by his Democrat friends.  No, the very [....]

Looking backward: The nostalgia economics of Barack Obama
by James Pethokoukis,
June 15, 2012
When was Barack Obama proud of the American economy?
    Certainly not the 2000s, as voters were once again reminded in the president’s Cleveland, Ohio speech yesterday. Obama said the economy of those years was “built on a house of cards” of overconsumption and debt.  But Obama doesn’t think things were going too well before the 2000s, either. Echoing his Osawatomie, Kansas, speech, the president said that during “the last few decades the income of the top 1% grew by more than 275% … [and] big financial institutions, corporations saw their profits soar. But prosperity never trickled down to the middle class.” So the Reagan-Clinton-Gingrich Boom, according to Obama, was a bust.
    Really? From 1981-2000, the U.S. economy grew by an average of 3.4% a year. And from 1979-2000, median household income grew by 30%. What’s more, countries that failed to embrace free-market policies – including lower marginal tax rates and deregulation — grew more slowly than America did during that period. For instance, while U.S. per capita GDP grew by 55% from 1981-2000, French per capita GDP grew by just 39%.  So when, in Obama’s view, was America’s economic Golden Age?  Get ready for some Baby Boomer nostalgia from our 21st century, ultramodern president: “In the decades after World War II there was a general consensus that the market couldn’t solve all of our problems on its own. …This consensus, this shared vision led to the strongest economic growth and the largest middle class that the world has ever known. It led to a shared prosperity. “
    The 1950s and 1960s — taxes were high, unions were strong, incomes more equal. And the U.S. economy grew by 3.7% a year. So, Obama seems to suggest, let’s just dial up the economic Way Back Machine — raise taxes on the rich, reregulate industry, boost union power – and we can go back to the future.  In a recent piece on the presidential campaign in New York magazine, an Obama aide described Mitt Romney this way:
 “He’s the fifties, he is retro, he is backward, and we are forward.”
Yet Obama is the one touting his economic vision as a bridge to the 1950s.  But there’s no going back, Mr. President. The post-World [....]

Obama’s deportation distraction:
Is this really the immigration reform America needs right now?
by James Pethokoukis,
June 15, 2012
A surprise move from President Obama on immigration:
    About 800,000 young illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children could be spared deportation under new immigration rules announced by the Obama administration on Friday that may appeal to Hispanic voters in an election year.  U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that illegal immigrants up to 30 years old who came to the United States as children and do not pose a risk to national security would be eligible to stay in the country and allowed to apply for work permits.
    The policy was announced a week before President Barack Obama, seeking re-election on November 6, is due to speak to a meeting of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Florida. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney also is set to address the group next week.  Not only is the U.S. economy struggling right now, it’s been struggling for a number of years. And the days ahead don’t look so bright, either. So right at the top of Washington’s “to do” list should be to make it easier for smart, high-skill, entrepreneurial people to come to America. (As my AEI colleague Nick Schulz frequently and rightfully points out.) {Next Entry-below}
So President Obama decides to go bold on more low-skill immigration. Politics over policy. I guess this is what happens when the POTUS decides to take the rest of the year and campaign full time …
The Human Capital Imperative and the Dynamic American Economy

by Nick Schulz,
February 2, 2012
    Randy Johnson and Michael Hendrix both had thoughtful observations on the economic effects of skilled immigration. What’s interesting to me in looking at the issue is how the evidence keeps accumulating in favor of bringing more skilled workers to America and deepening the pool of human capital in the United States. For example, in a recent paper for AEI, economist Madeline Zavodny crunches some new data and discovers:
•Immigrants with advanced degrees boost employment for US natives. This effect is most dramatic for immigrants with advanced degrees from US universities working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
•An additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees in STEM fields from either US or foreign universities is associated with an additional eighty-six jobs among US natives.
•An additional 100 immigrants with advanced degrees—regardless of field or where they obtained their degrees—is associated with an additional 44 jobs among US natives.
•Temporary foreign workers—both skilled and less skilled—boost US employment.
    Now, these findings [....]

Morning Bell: How Taxmageddon Will Impact You

by Amy Payne,
June 15, 2012
I’ve said that this is a make-or-break moment for the middle class, and I believe it,” President Obama told an Ohio crowd yesterday. Indeed it is—because in a sluggish economy, American taxpayers are about to be clobbered by the largest tax increase in history.  Starting January 1, 2013, Americans will face a $494 billion tax increase, the highest ever in one year. According to The Washington Post, congressional aides started calling it “Taxmageddon”—a chilling reference fit for an apocalyptic nightmare. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has warned that it will be a “massive fiscal cliff” for the economy.
How will this affect you?
Heritage has a new Taxmageddon page that shows the impact of these tax hikes on individuals. It includes an interactive map where you can click on your state to see what the average tax increase will be, based on the average income of taxpayers in your state.  Heritage research shows that families will see an average tax increase of $4,138. Baby boomers’ average increase will be $4,223, and low-income taxpayers can expect a $1,207 increase. Millennials will be hit with an average hike of $1,099, and retirees $857. Check out the infographic to see where you fall.
Taxmageddon falls primarily on middle- and low-income Americans. That’s because, contrary to the President’s rhetoric about “the wealthiest Americans,” 60 percent of the Bush tax cuts went to middle- and low-income taxpayers. The expiration [....]

The Strike That Busted Unions
by Joseph A. McCartin,
Op-Ed, New York Times
August 2, 2011
Stalemate in Senate Leaves 4,000 Out of Work at F.A.A. (August 3, 2011)
    THIRTY years ago today, when he threatened to fire nearly 13,000 air traffic controllers unless they called off an illegal strike, Ronald Reagan not only transformed his presidency, but also shaped the world of the modern workplace.  More than any other labor dispute of the past three decades, Reagan’s confrontation with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization, or Patco, undermined the bargaining power of American workers and their labor unions. It also polarized our politics in ways that prevent us from addressing the root of our economic troubles: the continuing stagnation of incomes despite rising corporate profits and worker productivity.
    By firing those who refused to heed his warning, and breaking their union, Reagan took a considerable risk. Even his closest advisers worried that [....]
Sheriff: Father kills man sexually abusing his daughter
by Jack Maddox,

June 12, 2012
A father punched a man repeatedly in the head after catching him abusing his daughter, officials said
Authorities have not identified either
The girl is "OK besides the obvious mental trauma," the sheriff says
The father is "very remorseful," the sheriff says
(CNN) -- A Texas father caught a man sexually assaulting his 4-year-old daughter and punched him in the head repeatedly, killing him, authorities said.  The father was casually acquainted with the alleged abuser, said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon.  Neither has been publicly identified.  The girl was left inside the family's house during the social gathering, while other members of her family were tending to horses, the sheriff said.  The alleged abuser was known for his horse-grooming abilities, Harmon said.  The father returned to the house, caught the man in the act, and stopped him by striking him in the head several times, Harmon said.  The man was pronounced dead on the scene, while [....]

Spain, Debt and Sovereignty
by George Friedman,
June 12, 2012

    Eurozone countries on June 9 agreed to lend Spain up to 100 billion euros ($125 billion) to stabilize the Spanish banking system. Because the bailout dealt with Spain's financial sector directly rather than involving the country's sovereign debt, Madrid did not face the kind of demands for more onerous austerity measures in exchange for the loan that have led to political instability in countries such as Greece.
    There are two important aspects to this. First, yet another European financial problem has emerged requiring concerted action. Second, unlike previous incidents, this bailout was not accompanied by much melodrama, infighting or politically destabilizing threats. The Europeans have not solved the underlying problems that have led to these periodic crises, but they have now calibrated their management of the situation to minimize drama and thereby limit political fallout. The Spanish request for help without conditions, and the willingness of the Europeans to provide it, moves the European process to a new level. In a sense, it is a capitulation to the crisis.
    This is a shift in the position of Europe's creditor nations, particularly Germany. Berlin has realized that it has no choice but to fund this and other bailouts. As an export-dependent country, Germany needs the eurozone to be able to buy German products. Moreover, Berlin cannot allow internal political pressures to destabilize the European Union as a whole. For all the German bravado about expelling countries, the preservation and even expansion of the existing system remains a fundamental German interest. The cycle of threats, capitulation by creditors, political unrest and then German accommodation had to be broken. It was not only failing to solve the crisis but also contributing to the eurozone's instability. In Spain, the Germans shifted their approach, resolving the temporary problem without a fight over more austerity.  The problem with [....]

The New American Helots

Our indebted graduates are the modern indentured class.
by Victor Davis Hanson, 
June 14, 2012    Ancient Sparta turned its conquered neighbors into indentured serfs — half free, half slave. The resulting Helot underclass produced the food of the Spartan state, freeing Sparta’s elite males to train for war and the duties of citizenship.  Over the last few decades, we’ve created our modern version of these Helots — millions of indebted young Americans with little prospect of finding permanent well-paying work, servicing their enormous college debts, or reaping commensurate financial returns on their costly educations.
    Student-loan debts now average about $25,000 per graduating senior. But the proportion of youths 16 to 24 who are working (about 49 percent) is the lowest since records have been kept. The cost of a four-year college education can range between $100,000 and $200,000 depending on whether the institution is public or private. Only 53 percent of today’s college students graduate within six years. Student time spent writing and reading in college has plummeted.  Annual tuition keeps rising, as it has over the last 50 years, usually at close to twice the rate of inflation. It must, if colleges are to pay for a vast new administrative class that is excused from teaching to monitor sensitivity and diversity, raise money, and comply with ever more race/class/gender federal mandates.  In addition, students support a new grandee class of professors who teach lighter loads, enjoy better benefits, retire earlier — and now offer instruction in a vast array of courses and disciplines that simply were never part of the traditional curriculum.

    If today’s indebted students graduate later and are trained to be more “socially aware,” they also have diminished writing skills, fewer facts at their command, and less practical ability to survive in the private sector. So the higher-education paradox continues: borrowing more for a less valuable, more politicized education that [....]

What Will Unions Do After Their Loss in Wisconsin?

Staff Report,
June 15, 2012

    Unions suffered a resounding defeat in Wisconsin last week. They’re far from down and out, however. Unable to reverse their decline in membership under existing law, they are circumventing Congress and using the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to create an entirely new type of union. A new rule hatched by the Obama-appointed board, authorizes the creation of union cells—organizing a few employees within a company to gain a foothold—which will severely impact businesses.  Until recently, employees organized based on shared job characteristics—for example, all the hourly employees at a firm. The new practice allows micro-unions representing only a small minority of workers in a company. Instead of a grocery store’s employees having a union, the store could face separate unions for cashiers, shelf-stockers, and janitors.
    The NLRB permitted this in its Specialty Healthcare decision last year, allowing organized labor to form unions by job title. A decision last month by one of the NLRB’s regional directors demonstrated just how harmful—and absurd—a policy this is. The regional director green-lit a union election at the Bergdorf Goodman department store. But most employees will not get to vote; only shoe salesmen will cast ballots. Not all shoe salesmen, however. Only those selling women’s shoes.
As the HR Policy Association explains:
The fact that hours, benefits (including the same health plans), and general productivity goals were common among all employees was dismissed because, among other reasons, the sale of women’s shoes ‘requires a distinct skill set from other sales associates due to the unique nature of the product they are selling.’ While the men’s shoe salesmen—or any other type of salesmen—at the store will not get a say in the union’s presence, these excluded workers will [....]

Why Public Employee Unions Lost Big In Wisconsin And California

by Wayne Allyn Root,
Guest-The Personal Liberty Digest 
June 14, 2012
{With video}
Public sector unions are the real threat to our Nation’s future. Government employee pensions will threaten the American dream and wipe away our quality of life. America is doomed if we don’t dramatically reform public pensions today. The private sector is strapped, and the public sector is sitting pretty. Private sector taxpayers are angry. We won’t take it anymore. That’s why Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won last week.
Until Next Sunday....



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