The resistance is well underway. Affluent Americans – defined as the top 20 percent of U.S. households by income – spent about 10 percent less in 2008 than they did in 2007, according to a study by luxury-goods researcher Unity Marketing, quoted in Research Alert, July 3, 2009. And those households with incomes of $250,000 or more are cutting back on spending even more than all affluent households overall. 54 percent of these consumers are spending even less in 2009 than in 2008. Those $250,000+ earners, threatened directly and demonized by President Obama are retaliating with their most powerful and... continue reading
What goes up must come down. Unless it goes down further, sideways or moves some other way that no one really predicted. That’s the way economics really works and no matter how many talking heads – right, left and center – tell you otherwise, most don’t have a clue what direction things are headed. From gas prices to the stock market to jobs, the people who act like they know everything often know nothing. Sure, many – Greenspan, Geithner, Krugman, Zandi – are brilliant. Then there are the media types like Williams and Couric and before her Rather. None of... continue reading
Could it be that the dire and desperate need for health care reform is overblown? Maybe the epic number of people suffering with no health care thanks to our badly broken system is exaggerated? Is it possible that health care doesn’t need to be wrested from private sector operation and made over top to bottom at cost of trillions by The Amazing Ozbama and his Czars? It’s pretty daring to question the very premise required to stampede-sell the destruction of the private insurance industry and takeover of health care. I’ve heard Limbaugh do it. Fred Thompson, a little. A few... continue reading
It’s the peak of summer – when sane people vacation and even Congress has recess. Last summer, it was also time for gas prices that peaked at stratospheric sums. This summer not so much. While drivers might be thrilled, America’s media are unhappy. Journalists don’t believe no news is good news. No news for the working press means uncomfortable moments of silence punctuated by commercials. It’s easy to recall last year. ABC’s Chris Cuomo did so July 8, reminiscing about better news days during one “Good Morning America” segment. “Alright, let me take you back one year from today. OK?... continue reading
Twice in the past week or so President Obama has insisted that his $780 billion-and-then-some stimulus package is working “as intended” and “as anticipated.” Apologists and defenders in his administration and in the media scurried to give him cover on this. Were it not for the stimulus, they insisted, things would be even worse. Since no one can point out any way in which it’s made things better, that’s the only argument they have. I can only imagine if an unpopular-with-the-media Republican (pardon the redundancy) was presiding over this mounting mess and claiming he’d intended it. His words very carefully... continue reading
The left is constantly arguing for so-called “fair trade” to make up for previous unfair financial practices. “We need economic justice,” they scream. I agree. It’s time for those greedy ingrates to pay their fair share. I mean the third world of course. For too long the United States has carried the third world on its back, providing jobs, emergency aid and never-ending charity. Throw in a world’s worth of technology, countless vaccines, food and military aid and it’s no wonder that the world was even more messed up before 1776. Count the contributions of the rest of the developed... continue reading
Say the words “just a bill” and our TV civics lesson takes hold. Without realizing it, millions of Americans would instantly start humming a Schoolhouse Rock song entitled “I’m Just a Bill.” The song is cartoon version of how a bill becomes a law. It was produced in the mid-1970s and offered an idealized version of democracy. According to Mr. Bill, the congressional process began when “some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed.” It’s the song that President Barack Obama should have recalled when he wrote his July 12 piece for The Washington Post entitled “Rebuilding Something... continue reading
Rejoice! The Amazing Ozbama is slowly disintegrating into OOPS-Bama. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the quietly growing, simmering buyers’ remorse - the realization that the President is anything but his promise, that his change is far more sweeping and radical than most Americans imagined. Ever so slowly but steadily, people are becoming disenchanted if not outright terrified or enraged. The latest to say “Oops!” is none other than Colin Powell. By way of disclosure, I know Colin Powell personally, appeared with him at numerous public events over a span of several years, support the objectives of his... continue reading
Nearly 90 years ago Ludwig von Mises, one of the founders of the Austrian school of economics, pointed out that once government intervenes in a market it creates unintended consequences that lead to further government intervention. This process continues until the government attempts to control the entire market. America ’s health care industry is a perfect example of what Mises was talking about. Government intervention in the health care industry, from favorable tax treatment of health care plans that are provided by employers to the creation of two massive government health insurance companies (Medicare and Medicaid), has created unintended consequences... continue reading
Recently I had a long lunch with an old friend. He sits on the board of one of the largest and most successful publicly traded regional banks in America . He got his seat when that regional bank acquired the very successful community bank he built from the ground up. I will not name him or this bank, but I will pass on a few things he said to me. He said, “Our bank’s leadership team and others I know at the local or regional level feel paralyzed and intimidated by the climate of fear created by the Obama administration... continue reading