March 25, 2011
April 12, 2010
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Follow this link for an interesting little calculator to determine what your share of the $787 (now $862) BILLION stimulus package passed by congress and President Obama is.
October 10, 2009
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The fourth straight rise in exports was an encouraging sign that the global economy has started to recover from a severe recession that began in the United States and quickly spread to other parts of the world. But many economists expect the deficit to rise in coming months on the back of a rebounding U.S. economy, which will start importing more foreign products.
I like economics, but I am only a novice economist. Either way, here is my take on this bit of news:
Don’t confuse the trade deficit with the budget deficit. The former being relatively benign and the latter being malignant. Trade deficits are a sign of a good economy.
Just because we use the word deficit to describe levels of trade with other countries does not mean that it is a bad thing to be importing more than we export. In fact, it is a good thing. Our trade deficit with other nations signifies that our market is strong and desirable for the buying and selling of products. Now, that is at least in some part because we have a reliable environment of lawfulness that ensures security for the products and the retailers. However, it traditionally signifies that the U.S. dollar is a prize possession.
This article says that the dip in the trade deficit is a sign that the global economy is recovering and that it will likely go back up when the U.S. economy begins its recovery. When the U.S. economy recovers, then yes, the deficit should go higher. I would caution, however, against believing that the global economy is improving. The reason for a drop in imports is probably a result of a weakened confidence in the U.S. markets and more specifically the value of the U.S. dollar.
The weakened confidence in our market and our dollar is likely a leading indicator of the downward direction of our economy. Despite what Barack Obama, Joe Biden, and Robert Gibbs tell us, the economy will continue to falter and sputter and even get worse until the shackles come off of the engines that drive the U.S. markets: capital, ingenuity, and risk (with a little hard work thrown in for good measure).
With the government controlling what banks can and can’t do, we have serious problem creating the capital necessary for investment and growth. With the government prepared to raise taxes on capital gains (among many other taxes) ingenuity is stifled because people have fewer avenues for creating wealth. And with the threat of an ever-increasing regulatory environment, risk has become all but impossible to take as a means to putting ingenuity into action.
So, not that many of you care what the trade deficit is, but don’t be fooled into thinking that it is a good thing for the immediate future of our own economy.
September 8, 2009
So, there is much controversy surrounding the President’s address to the students. I confess, I don’t like it one bit, but not because of his political affiliations. It is because of his ideology and talking directly to students without their parents foreknowledge fits his modus operandi. Of course, the lesson plans established by the Department of Education were outrageous, but enough about that.
Here is a quote from his speech (at least the printed remarks):
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities. Unless you show up to those schools; pay attention to those teachers; listen to your parents, grandparents and other adults; and put in the hard work it takes to succeed.
Now, based on his words alone I am with him 100%. In fact, this is something that we don’t hear enough about in the education world. Personal responsibility on the part of the students is exactly what ought to be stressed by everyone from the President down to the lowest man (or woman) on the government payroll.
Matching his rhetoric to his actions is something entirely different. Is some one who speaks so eloquently about the need for personal responsibility really going to advocate for a government-knows-best health care system? Is someone who cherishes personal responsibility as a noble virtue going to bail out banks and auto companies with other people’s money?
Rush Limbaugh spoke about this on his radio program today. Thomas Sowell talks about it from a slightly different angle in a recent column. Both men are probably more qualified than I am to analyze the complex world of national politics, but I didn’t need their help in coming to similar conclusions. This speech, while good on the surface, lacks substance from the man who uttered the words. In other words, show me the responsibility in Obama’s agenda and maybe I’ll become a believer in the hope and change he’s peddling.
September 4, 2009
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Obama’s advisers think the answer to every problem is more cowbell, if by “cowbell” you mean “Obama.” It’s like Obama guru David Axelrod is the Christopher Walken character from the Saturday Night Live skit about Blue Oyster Cult (if you don’t know the reference, Google “cowbell”).
Every time someone comes up with an alternative to throwing Obama on TV, Axelrod says, “No, no, no. Guess what? I got a fever, and the only prescription . . . is more Obama!”
[Full disclosure: I’ve never seen this skit]
September 2, 2009
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A little lunch time blogging from school…
For grades 7-12, the Department of Education suggests teachers prepare by excerpting quotes from Obama’s speeches on education for their students to contemplate — and ask as questions such as “Why does President Obama want to speak with us today? How will he inspire us? How will he challenge us?”
Activities suggested for after the speech include asking students “what resonated with you from President Obama’s speech? What lines/phrase do you remember?”
How will he inspire us?
What resonated with you?
There is no problem with the President addressing students per se, but suggesting a lesson plan that asks how he will inspire us? Or what “resonated” with you from his address? That goes to the border of politicizing the event. Even if you don’t think it’s politicizing the event, it is definitely narcissistic of the President and his team to ask how students will be inspired by his address. Is this the model of behavior that we want our students to emulate?
July 23, 2009
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A shout-out for Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vermont, from President Obama.
This reminds me of the scene from the movie Cars in which Fred, an old and rusty dilapitated car shouts, “He knows my name!” when Mario Andretti says his name (read from the old car’s license plate).
Cars was Malcolm’s favorite movie for a long time.